(Periyar ‘s Reaction to the Hanging of Bhagat Singh)
Instead of living and watching those things, getting agonized every minute and being constantly obstructed in his task, it is a great relief for Bhagat Singh to have passed away. I am only pained that I have not had such a blessing.
There is no one who has not been grieved at the hanging of Bhagat Singh. There is no one who has not taken to task the Government for hanging him. Apart from that, we see may people who call themselves patriots and nationalists blaming Gandhi for the incident.
If we see what was happening on the other day, we saw the same people heaping praises on the Vice Roy Lord Irwin and eulogizing Gandhi who had come to an agreement with the Vice Roy, without any condition including the one regarding sparing Bhagat Singh’s life. These people hailed it as a great victory and were celebrating it. Not only that. Gandhi had called Lord Irwin a Mahatma and exhorted his countrymen to designate him likewise. On the other side Lord Irwin among his own countrymen praised Gandhi as a great saint with divine qualities. But very soon, the same people have started shouting ‘Down with Gandhism’ ‘Down with Gandhi’ and ‘Down with Congress’ and have started showing black flag to Gandhi wherever he goes and are creating skirmishes in his meetings.
When we see these happenings, it becomes impossible to find out the attitude or the policy of people towards politics, or whether people have any such things at all. Whatever it may be, even when Gandhi was about to launch his Salt Satyagraha, I repeatedly told him that the struggle would in no way benefit people of the country, and it was opposed to the development of the country and the liberation of the distressed people. Not only me, even Gandhi himself openly admitted that the very purpose of his launching the struggle was to blunt and render inactive the programmes of Bhagat Singh and people like him.
Further, even the genuine socialists in the neighboring countries were shouting from rooftops that Gandhi had let down the poor people, he was embarking on such tasks only to destroy the socialistic mindset of the people. Yet the so called patriots and nationalists of our country behaved as though they were intoxicated and were blinded to realities. Hence, they courted imprisonment and came out like triumphant heroes. They reaped all the benefits of their action. And now that Bhagat Singh has been hanged, they shout ‘Down with Gandhism’, ‘Down with Congress’ and ‘Down with Gandhi’. I am unable to comprehend what benefit will come out of all this.
As far as I am concerned, to be realistic, my feeling is that this is a country of irresponsible and totally care-free imbeciles who run after recognition in some way or the other, least bothering about the consequences of their action. Instead of living and watching those things, getting agonized every minute and being constantly obstructed in his task, it is a great relief for Bhagat Singh to have passed away. I am only pained that I have not had such a blessing.
Because, the real question is whether a person has discharged his responsibilities or not, and not about what he accomplishes. I quite admit that one must discharge one’s duties in accordance with one’s own times and country. Yet I am sure that the times or the place were not opposed to the policy of Bhagat Singh, though I have a slight feeling that there was something wrong in the way in which he tried to carry it on. All the same I will never dare to say that his principle was faulty, because it was in keeping with the principle of world peace.
Yet, in case Bhagat Singh had come to the whole hearted conviction that all his principles were right and the way in which he decided to carry them on were appropriate, then I will hold that his conduct and methods were certainly correct. I might have suspected his integrity if he had behaved in any other manner. When all is said and done, in my opinion he is a man of truth. It is my strong conviction India needs only Bhagat Singh’s policies, since as far as I have learnt, his policies were socialism and communism. In proof thereof, I present the following sentence from the letter he wrote to the Governor of Punjab.
“Our war will continue until Communist Party comes to power and removes all differences in the status of the people. The war will not be over with killing being killed. It will inevitably continue in public as well as underground.”
Further I understand that he has no belief in god or his deeds. I assert that his policy cannot be called a crime according to any penal code. I am sure that it will cause no harm to people. Even if it were to cause some harm, I will not show any hatred or contempt towards any individual, country or nation. I will try to carry on the policy without causing the least hurt to any individual person but are willing to suffer the most with total self abnegation same principle that makes me work for the eradication of poverty prompts me to work for the removal of untouchability.
Eradication of untouchability involves removal of the notion of ‘high’ or ‘low’ caste. In the same way, removal of poverty involves eradication of capitalism as well as subjugation. Socialism or communism is nothing but such eradication. Since these were the policies of people like Bhagat Singh and people like him, there is no wonder in people considering them just and fair shouting ‘Down the congress’ and ‘Down with Gandhism’. What surprise me that people who subscribe to these policies also hail Congress and Gandhi.
The moment Gandhi started saying that he was guided by God, Varnasrama was good for the conduct of the society and every act is the act of God, I realised that there is no difference between Brahminism and Gandhism and concluded that nothing good would come to the country unless Congress is eradicated. Only now, at least a few people have come to the realization and have become wise and bold enough to say ‘Down with Gandhism.’ It is a success for our policies.
If Bhagat Singh had not been hanged to death, our policies would not have acquired so much of success. If the hanging had not taken place, the myth of Gandhism would have continued.
Instead of living and dying of some illness, Bhagat Singh got the opportunity for giving up his life in such a way as to show the way India – why, to the entire world – the path to real equality and peace. This is a blessing no one would have thought of. I admire him with all my heart without any reservation.
Source: Kudi Arasu-29th March 1931