Mahatma Gandhi on the Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh

Freedom fighter Sardar Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British on accusations of anti-government activities on March 23, 1931. Here, Gandhi pays tribute to the patriotism of the young martyr while disagreeing with his revolutionary methods. Excerpted from Gandhi's article in Young India.

Bhagat Singh and his two associates have been hanged. The Congress made many attempts to save their lives and the Government entertained many hopes of it, but all has been in a vain.

Bhagat Singh did not wish to live. He refused to apologize, or even file an appeal. Bhagat Singh was not a devotee of non-violence, but he did not subscribe to the religion of violence.  He took to violence due to helplessness and to defend his homeland. In his last letter, Bhagat Singh wrote --" I have been arrested while waging a war. For me there can be no gallows. Put me into the mouth of a cannon and blow me off."  These heroes had conquered the fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism.

But we should not imitate their act. In our land of millions of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people will become victims of our atrocities.  By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions.

Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger, abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty. 

March 29, 1931

See Also:

 

Kamat's Potpourri Mahatma Gandhi Album

Research Database

Merchandise and Link Suggestions

    Top of Page