Bhagat Singh was not only of India's greatest freedom fighters and revolutionary socialists but also one of its early Marxist thinkers and ideologues. He wrote four books and a Pamphelt in Jail. Unfortunately, all the four books smuggled out of jail have been lost Luckily the Pamphelt, Why I am an Atheist written a few days or weeks before his martyrdom was smuggled out to his father who published it in June 1931 in the people. Bhagat Singh was also asked by an old revolutionary Ram Saran Das, to write an introduction to a collection of his poems entitled Dream Land Both these works reveal the quality of Bhagat Singh's mind his wide reading his capacity to understand complex issues and then present them in an easily understandable manner.
The National Book Trust India is Proud to present these two writings of Bhagat Singh on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh as also to mark the 75th year of his martyrdom, with an introduction by Prof. Bipan Chandra.
Bhagat Singh was only one of India's greatest freedom fighters and revolutionary socialists but also one of its early Marxist thinkers and ideologues. Unfortunately this last aspect is relatively unknown with the result that all sorts of reactionaries, obscurantist and communalist have been wrongly and dishonestly trying for their own polities and ideologies the name and fame of Bhagat Singh and his comrades such as Chander Shekhar Azad.
Bhagat Singh died very young at the age of 23. His Political thought and practice started evolving very early when he made a quick transition form Gandhian nationalism to revolutionary anarchism. But already by 1927-28 he began to move from individual heroic action to Marxism. During the years 1925 to 1928 Bhagat Singh read voraciously devouring in Particular books on the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union Even thought getting hold of such books was in itself at the time a revolutionary and difficult task. In the 1920s, Bhagat Singh was one of the most well read persons in India on revolutionary movements anarchism and Marxism. He also tried to inculcate the reading and thinking habit among his fellow revolutionaries and younger comrades. He asserted during his trial before the Lahore High Court that the sword of revolution is sharpened at the whetstone of thought. Already by the end of 1928, he and his comrades had accepted socialism as the final object of their activities and changed the name of their organization from the Hindustan and Republican Association to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
From now on before his arrest in June 1929 and after Bhagat Singh's furious march towards the acquisition and mastery of Marxism continued unabated. In the process he brought under critical scrutiny all contemporary views, including his own regarding the nationalist movement the character of the contemporary world wide revolutionary process anarchism socialism violence and non-violence revolutionary and revolutionary terrorism religion communalism older revolutionary and contemporary nationalists, etc.
It is one of the greatest tragedies of our people that this giant of a brain was brought to a stop so early by the colonial authorities.
In this small pamphlet are brought before the reader two relatively unknown articles written by Bhagat Singh in Jail during 1930-31 while he was awaiting the action of the gallows. In these articles as in numerous other letters statements and articles he clearly emerges as a revolutionary fully committed to Marxism and capable of applying it with full complexity of the its method.
Bhagat Singh was a great patriot and revolutionary. But he was also a giant of an intellectual. From his boyhood he immersed himself in books. He made Dwarka Das Library founded by Lala Lajpat Rai Virtually his home. His comrades have pointed out how his kurta pockets were always filled with books. He was seldom to be found without a book. This passion for reading he carried into the jails where he spent nearly last two years of his life. He died before he was 24. This is borne out by his jail diary where he has recorded notes from many one the books he read in jail.
The statement he made at his trials, the letters he wrote to the press friends and relatives are witnesses of the quality for his mind and wide understanding of society and social and political movement. He also gradually moved away from anarchist violence and individual heroic action towards Marxism. Bhagat Singh wrote four books and a pamphlet in jail. Unfortunately all the four books smuggled out of jail have been lost. To avoid heavy penalty for their possession they were passed from hand to hand and were lost in the process.
Luckily the Pamphelt, Why I am an Atheist written a few days or weeks before his martydom was smuggled out to his father who published it in June 1931 in The People a weekly established by Lala Lajpat Rai and edited by Lala Faqir Chand. The Weekly was banned soon after the pamphlet was how ever printed and circulated illegally several times though sometimes in a mutilated from.
Bhagat Singh was also asked by an old revolution Ram Saran Das, to write an Introduction to a collection of his poems entitled Dream Land Both Why I am an Atheist and Dream Land not only reveal the quality of Bhagat Singh's Mind his wide reading his capacity to understandable manner but also qualities of compassion to understand views with which he differed for example the views of believes in religious with whom he differed fundamentally.
The National Book Trust is proud to present these two writings of Bhagat Singh to the people of India on the special occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh as also to mark the 75th year of his martyrdom.
The NBT has already published a new edition of Bhagat Singh's biography by his comrade J N Sanyal -in Hindi a collection of popular songs and poem on Bhagat Singh Martydom entitled Phansi Lahore Ki in Hindi a similar kaav. The NBT hopes to published more books on Bhagat Singh including selection of his speeches writings and letters in all Indian languages.
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