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Friday, April 17, 2015

Gandhi and Bhagat Singh: A Fact that cannot be Suppressed that Gandhi Considered Bhagat his Rival


Gandhi and Bhagat Singh were two individuals with a divergent political thought. Bhagat Singh believed in armed struggle to oust the British while Gandhi believed in Ahimsa and non violence and thus was more accommodating to the British.

 Obviously a clash was expected and during that period ( early 20th century), one fact stands out. This was confirmed by Gandhi's personal secretary Sitaramiah who mentioned at the present time , Bhagat Singh was more popular than Gandhi. Probably this alarmed Gandhi  who was a whimsical and shrewd politician and he resolved that Bhagat Singh must be finished politically so that he remained the undisputed leader.
Thus, when the famous trial of Bhagat Singh commenced , Gandhi maintained a studious silence. Many requests were made to him about Bhagat Singh, which he steadfastly ignored. When Bhagat Singh was awarded the death sentence , Gandhi was again requested to appeal to the Viceroy to commute the sentence of Bhagat Singh to life in jail. Gandhi again refused and one can find it hard to explain now why Gandhi reacted like this.
Gandhi's reason for refusing to intercede with the Viceroy or make any appeal was simple: He dreaded that a live Bhagat Singh would be a threat to his authority and more important his philosophy.

History records that Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged by the British at night against all canons of Jail law and the prison manual and Gandhi kept quiet. At that time Gandhi's popularity touched rock bottom and he was greeted with black flags when he visited Karachi and other places after the hanging. Many videos are available of that period which  succinctly bring out the unpopularity of Gandhi. The Hindi film on Bhagat Singh starring Ajay Devgan also brings out these facts..

The episode leaves a sour taste in the mouth and the fact is Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged and Gandhi we can surmise heaved a sigh of relief. There are many facets of Gandhi's life that need to be published and some more research done on them. The hanging of Bhagat Singh and his comrades is one of them as well as his hounding out Subhas Bose from the Congress party. I am afraid all this  shows Gandhi in very poor light .