On the 85th anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh's martyrdom

Our youth aspire for an India without exploitation and oppression

85 years ago on 23 March 1931 Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged by the British on charges of sedition. These martyrs have inspired and continue to inspire generations of our youth to take up the struggle for the liberation of society from exploitation and oppression.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades continue to inspire our youth even after so many years because they fearlessly defied the powerful colonial rulers. They were very young when they dedicated their lives to the aim of ending the colonial enslavement of our country with a vision of building a society without exploitation. They were uncompromising in their attitude towards the British colonialists and the representatives of the Indian bourgeoisie who were compromising with the British.

Inspired by the Russian revolution, they seriously studied the writings of Marx and Lenin and analysed the situation existing in India. Shaheed Bhagat Singh could clearly see what the British and their Indian collaborators were planning. We see today how true his prophetic words were: that "India's struggle will continue as long as a handful of people remain in power and continue to exploit the labour of our people for their own ends. Whether the exploiters are Indians or British or an alliance of both, nothing can stop this struggle ...”

They realised the importance of building revolutionary organisations to lead the people in this political struggle and they built numerous cells of Hindostan Socialist Republican Association and many other mass organisations. They worked in a disciplined organised fashion to protect their organisations from the police while, at the same time, taking bold actions to arouse the masses. Their death defying courage, with the hangman's noose hanging over their heads, continues to resonate in the hearts of our people as Inquilaab Zindabad!

The struggle for freedom from British colonial rule was characterised by two diametrically opposite trends. One was the revolutionary trend symbolised by Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades and countless other martyrs, before and after them, the trend of uncompromising struggle for a society where the Indian people would truly be their own masters. The other was the trend of the rising bourgeois class led by the Indian National Congress (created by the British) and its representatives like Gandhi and Nehru, of compromise with the British colonialists, in return for a share of political power and other privileges within the same system. While the former trend was declared "terrorist" and "seditious", the British did everything to promote the latter as the "real representative" of the freedom struggle. The trend represented by the Congress regarded the revolutionary struggle of the Indian people as a greater danger to their interest than the British colonial rule itself. It is a well-documented fact that Gandhi made a deal with Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, and acquiesced to rush through Bhagat Singh's execution fearing massive opposition from the people at the Karachi session of the Congress (March 26-31, 1931).

The leaders of the Congress were educated in the colonial institutions and were trained to think in the manner of the British rulers. They spoke on behalf of the people but objectively served as a safety valve to prevent a massive revolt of the people against the British rule.

They fully participated in the British colonial policy of 'divide and rule' to undermine the revolutionary struggles of our people. The Congress and the Muslim League (also created by the British) collaborated with the British colonialists in organising one of the worst communal massacres in history to partition the subcontinent and create a lasting legacy of hatred, suspicion and disunity that would forever prevent our people from uniting against our exploiters and the imperialists. It was to these parties that the British colonialists handed over the political power at a time when the revolutionary struggles of our people were threatening to uproot the very foundations of their rule.

In this way, the rule of the exploiting bourgeois class over the masses of Indian people – the workers, peasants, tribal peoples and various nationalities – has continued. The post-colonial state and its institutions, including its laws and instruments of suppression, remained a continuation of the colonial rule. The dream of our martyrs, for a society free of exploitation, in which the toiling people of India will be their own masters, remained and continues to remain unfulfilled.

Today, the youth are aspiring for a society free from exploitation and oppression. Their opposition to the innumerable injustices of the ruling bourgeois class and its state is being brutally suppressed by declaring it as 'anti-national' and 'seditious'. Youth are being warned that they should not take part in politics. The bourgeoisie has always been terrified that if the youth unite and get organised against the prevailing unjust and exploitative system, they can become a real force threatening to uproot their rule. That is why they use every means to confuse the youth and break their unity, and if that fails, to crush them with brute force. Similar draconian laws as those which were used by the British to suppress our people, such as the Sedition law, continue to be used to attack and silence the youth today.

The call of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and all martyrs to the youth remains the clarion call to unite and advance the struggle to put an end to the existing system of exploitation and oppression. It remains the clarion call to build, in its place, a new India where the workers, peasants, women, youth, tribal people, the various nationalities – i.e., all the working masses will have political power in their hands and will build a new state and social system that will guarantee prosperity and security for all.

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Mar 16-31 2016    Voice of the Party   

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