Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shaheed Bhagat Singh - a Tribute


Yesterday the September 28 was the 103rd birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. The Indian nation paid homage and tributes to one of the greatest sons of India. He was a freedom fighter, a patriot and a nationalist par excellent. He sacrificed himself at the altar of freedom.

I join the nation in paying my humble tributes Shaheed Bhagat Singh but from a different perspective. Apart from the qualities and attributes in his personality mentioned in the proceeding paragraph, Bhagat Singh was a great visionary and a social crusader. He was dead against untenability and the caste system. He realised full well the pain and sufferings of the lower strata of the society because of the unjust social order. I will like to remember Shaheed Bhagat Singh for his voice and effort to standby the dalits and the downtrodden apart from his known contribution to the freedom struggle and his huge personal sacrifice.

I have read today an article ' The Untouchables ' in the Beyond Borders - the SAARC Journal edited by Ajeet Cour and K. Satchidanandan written by Shaheed Bhagat Singh and published in the Punjabi paper the Kirti in June, 1929. It provided the depth of Bhagat Singh's thoughts on the the uncivilised and inhuman caste system and untenability. Bhagat Singh said I quote:

" Our country is in a really bad shape; here strangest questions are asked and the foremost among them concerns the untouchables who count 6 crores in a population of 30 crores. For instance:
Would contact with an untouchable defilement of an upper caste ?
Would the gods in the temples not get angry by the entry of untouchables there ?
Would the drinking water of a well not get polluted, if the untouchables drew their water from the same well ?
These questions are being asked in the twentieth century is a matter which makes our heads hang in same. We Indians boast of our spiritualism, but then, we avoid accepting every human being as a fellow being just like ourselves." Bhagat Singh further wrote " Just imagine how shameful ! Even a dog can sit on our lap, it can freely move in our kitchen but if a fellow human being touches you, your dharma is endangered." He lamented and said " We could worship even animals but would not tolerate fellow humans to sit beside us." Bhagat Singh asked how precisely can we solve this tangle and answered himself " The answer is quite obvious; above all, it needs to be settled for good, that all humans are equal without distinctions of birth or vocation".

There is a message to the dalit brethren, as the caste system, is still prevalent in the society in form or the other. Bhagat Singh said long back in 1929 " Ultimately, the problem can not be satisfactorily solved unless and until the untouchable communities themselves unite and organise. " Bhagat Singh fully recognised dalit assertions for their ' distinct identity ' and asking for their share and space in the society at large. Bhagat Singh underlined that the privileged class would try to maintain the status quo and continue to enjoy. He cajoled the under privileged and downtrodden and said " Waste no time and unite to stand on your own feet and challenge the existing order of the society. Let it then be seen as to who dares to deny to you your due." It will a befitting tribute to the memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, if we all consider and take seriously in our daily lives, his views on untenability and caste system with a view to bring about further sense of unity and brotherhood in the county. The message to the dalits is loud and clear that nobody else would help but themselves. I conclude with a poetic expression of Faiz Ahmed Faiz:

अए खाक नासिह्नों उठ बैठो; वोह वक़्त मुकाबिल आ पहुंचा;
जब तखत गिराए जाएँगे , और ताज उछाले जाएँगे !

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