Miscellaneous notes from jail diaries: Bhagat Singh birth anniversary special
Bhagat Singh, who gave a new direction to the Indian freedom movement, was born on September 28, 1907. The socialist revolutionary was executed at the young age of 23 for the murder of a British cop
Bhagat Singh formed 'Naujavan Bharat Sabha' to spread the message of revolution in Punjab and later 'Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha' along with another freedom fighter, Chandrasekhar Azad to establish a republic in India. He dropped a bomb in Central Legislative Assembly along with his comrade Batukeshwar Dutt. At a young age of 23, Singh along with Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar, were sentenced to death for conspiring to kill John P Saunders, a British police officer to avenge the death of a prominent political activist, Lala Lajpat Rai. It his 111st birth anniversary today.
A keen observer of society and a voracious reader, Singh would regularly take jottings from whatever he would read during prison days. A website, which is dedicated to the great revolutionary, has published many such interesting notes. The website claims to be supported by Shahid Bhagat Singh Research Committee, Ludhiana under the guidance of Prof Jagmohan Singh, son of Bibi Amar Kaur, younger sister of Bhagat Singh.
Here’s a collection of the jottings that the patriot, scholar and writer would take down on foolscap papers during his time in prison:
Love & Sex
“But how lamentable our young people are ridden by the inherited traditions that there is something shameful and immoral is the sexual act itself, even when prompted by sincere love and emotional escalation.” (P61)
Sex is simply a biological fact. It is as much so as the appetite for food .Like the appetite for food it is neither legal nor illegal, moral or immoral. To bring sex under the jurisdiction of law and authority is as impossible as to bring food ,hunger under such jurisdiction. (Page 127)
--The Revolt of Modern Youth by Ben B Lindsey, Wainright Evans
“It will be found that empires based upon military force alone, however cruel that may be , are not permanent , and there fore not so dangerous to progress, it is only when resistance is paralysed by the agency of superstitions ,that the race can be subjected to system of exploitation for hundred and even thousands of years. (Page 31)
--The Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair
That the greatest of evils and the worst of crime is poverty that our first duty - a duty to which every other consideration should be sacrificed -is not to be poor. ‘Poor but honest’, ‘the respectable poor’ and such phrases are as intolerable and as immoral as drunken but amiable. “Fraudulent but a good after dinner speaker “ ‘splendidly criminal” or the like .
Security the chief pretence of civilization cannot exist where the worst dangers ,the danger of poverty ,hangs over every body’s head, and when alleged protection of our persons from violence is only an accidental result of our persons of existence of a police force , whose real business is to see the poor man, to [force the poor man to] see his children starve whilst idle people overfeed pet dogs with money that might feed and clothe them.” (Page 154)
--Major Barbara by Barnard Shaw
“I had rather be a thief than a pauper. I had rather be murderer than a slave. I don’t want to be either; but if you force, the alternative on me, then, by heaven I’ll choose the braver and more moral one. I hate poverty and slavery worse than any other crime what so ever.
--Major Barbara by Bernard Shaw
Anthony sought happiness in "love’ , Brutes in "glory’ Carver in "Dominion" . The first found ‘disgrace ‘ the second ‘disgust’, the last ‘ingratitude’ and each destruction.
The things in world weighed in the balance all found wanting, self-realization alone will bring ‘peace and happiness’.
Crime & Punishment
"Crime is only the retail department of what , in wholesale, we call "Penal law".
"When a man wants to murder a tiger, he call it sport when a tiger wants to murder a man call it ferocity. The distinction between crime and justice is no greater.
"It is not necessary to replace a guillotined criminal; it is necessary to replace guillotine and social system." ( Page 232)
--Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw
The reasonable man adopts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persist in trying to adopt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’
--Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw
"He needs no other reasons, whose thread of life is string with the beads of love and thought."