Bhagat Singh, the eternal youth icon…

The youth of India are frustrated. They are frustrated with the rot in the political system, the social system, and the legal system and just about any system or sub-system that has been invented to churn the wheel of this democracy. They are desperately seeking a living and breathing role model who can whip their passion and coagulate their collective sentiments to form even a rudimentary system that works in unifying India against nepotism, corruption and against an old, tilting bureaucracy. This is why, increasingly, the youth of India look for a short cut that they vociferously believe takes them to their own predefined goal. Even if the goal posts for some vary in time and distance, all of them are bundled with a common passion, and they are desperate to reach the other side of the dark and murky river, without realizing that there is a right and long way and never a short way.

If Prashant Bhushan got attacked by a group that calls themselves “Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena”, then Bhushan has been at the receiving end of the ire of the same lot of frustrated youth that is caught in the dark, swirling waters and loses all it’s energy in trying to keep afloat and not drown in the current system. As the name of this lesser known group suggests, they draw their inspiration from the great Bhagat Singh but somewhere down the line, they have been somewhat confused over the ideologies of Bhagat Singh. The group has primarily failed to recognize the common enemy. Prashant Bhushan is not the common enemy and slamming him with bricks just because Bhushan had an opinion on a sensitive subject is foolhardiness and can be even called madness. The pestilent factor is not Bhushan or Arundathi Roy or anybody else who shoots their mouth off on Kashmir, but it is the nefarious system that encompasses the state machinery to behave in the way it does. .

The greatness of Bhagat Singh’s ideologies is reflective of the fact that the youth of India are still drawing tremendous amount of inspiration from the martyr. Shaheed Bhagat Singh, a true revolutionary, the spirited one of India’s independence movement, a martyr at twenty three and one who continues to inspire the youth of India eighty years hence. Singh’s ideology was largely anarchist and he staunchly believed in the principles of atheism. His belief in atheism sprung when he was convinced that atheism could work as an influencing factor in unifying a religiously fragmented India against the common enemy. In an era when Gandhi’s non -violent movement gained precedence over Singh’s revolutionary ideologies, Bhagat Singh’s patriotism continues to live and casts an equal shadow on the “law of suffering” (the basis of Satyagraha) that Gandhiji had advocated.

The fight should be against the system and this is why Anna is so deserving of the youth support for correctly identifying the enemy. While Anna, despite his seventy three years of age can ironically still be considered as a leading “youth” icon, the “eternally young” Rahul Gandhi needs to double his efforts in getting on top of the forever young Adonis pedestal for the right reasons. But, eighty years on, it is Shaheed Bhagat Singh who inspires the youth to break free (the right way) from the shackles that restrain and refrain them. If Bhagat Singh were alive today, he would have been miffed by the doings of the “Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena” and he would have asked them to take a leaf out of his jail diary where he wrote – “The aim of life is no more to control mind, but to develop it harmoniously, not to achieve salvation here after, but to make the best use of it here below, and not to realize truth, beauty and good only in contemplation, but also in-the actual experience of daily life; social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment democracy or universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity in the social, political and individual life”.

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22 Responses to “Bhagat Singh, the eternal youth icon…”

  1. Knowing how to fight this system, which has its roots and branches spread like ivy over the years is perhaps what makes it more difficult for the youth of today, than it was to fight the single common enemy pre-independence.

    Well-worded thoughtprovoking post, Sharmila. Bhagat Singh’s words at the end are truly motivating.

  2. Sharmila,

    This is by far your most carefully drafted post so far. That’s a compliment.

    But let me first comment about the content of the post.

    I believe, frustration that culminates in violence, is not always revolutionary. The youth, shamming under the banner of Bhagat Singh, are certainly not revolutionary;

    However, I am all in favor of the whacking that Prashant Bhushan got. The taklu deserved what came to him.

    You can’t grab the attention of the world on one issue and support a plebscite in Kashmir in the name of peace. That’s the same thing as Nehru’s consent to the partition in 1947.

    But, having said that, I repeat, the frustration that is showing up as violence is anything but revolutionary.

    Hindus in Orissa burnt an Aussie preacher alive for converting tribals into Christians. He was already in the business for six years before the arsonists acted.

    Muslims burnt a whole train coach full of Hindus alive in Gujarat to practise their beliefs. Hindus did something more melodramatic a few days later.

    These are frustrations of a different kind. They are manic disorders. They have to be crushed out firmly. The police have to be empowered.

    The fear that Manmohan Singh expressed is based on hard facts: India will become a police state if we continue to choose violence. I don’t support MMS, but this is true.

    There are no brits in the country today. Foreign powers are ruling us by proxy. It’s a battle that cannot be won by a civil war.

    Here, I think, you have agreed in principle that the youth need to focus on real issues.

    But note the issues that you have picked: Nepotism, corruption and power-centric old-world bureaucracy.

    The real issue, in my opinion, is the Constitution. We, The People of India, have been enslaved by the constitution. (But if you say that on TOI you will be charged for sedition.)

    Yet, we do not want this constitution to be replaced by The Communist Manifesto.

    We also do not want cosmetic surgeries like the RTI or Lokpal bills.

    We want every law and executive order that violates individual rights to be repealed. Any stricture that violates the liberty of the individual in the interest of the nation must be annuled. The individual comes first. Restore property rights. Restore freedom of speech. Restore right to life.

    We want the government to withdraw from business ventures.

    The government’s job is to defend the nation from external aggression, provide a strong judicial system and hold the currency. The government must never indulge in business and trading.

    It is not a choice between Bhagat Singh or Anna Hazare. We cannot make a case in favor of Don Quixote because Lenin was wrong. Anna Hazare does not have bullets in his gun. He is firing empty rounds.

    We really need strong, committed and highly competent statesmen.

    • Getting a highly competent statesmen would be the need of the hour. Right now, I see very few stray such men, but, only time will tell, if they will be accorded a chance. Agree with all your points on frustration, the religious flare ups are a form of social unrest.

  3. And a good word about the tone between the lines.

    This is one of your best efforts so far. You’ve steered away from freezing issues. And this has allowed space for readers to call on their own beliefs. It doesn’t matter who takes what positions after reading the post, they will still retain the discretion to think about it and develop a perspective.

    Good work. Keep it up.

  4. Seems like a silent day on the virtual net.

    My PC in the office is still going through its baptism – getting wired and programmed for the local area network. I have been offline in the office for two days.

    Some three years ago I had partitioned the hard disk into two drives. I labelled the C drive as Sudhir and D drive as Damien. I had left only the Operating System on Sudhir, while everything else is stored in Damien.

    The IT pastor is horrified at all the stuff that is saved in there. He says it will take time to exorcise the whole drive. I suspect he is enjoying watching all the devilish stuff in that. But I’ll leave him to his fate.

    Looks like I’ll be offline from 1530 to 1800 local time today as well.

  5. Some news pieces draw attention for strange reasons.

    There is one doing the rounds about an ‘Occupy the Wall Street’ campaign that seems to have caught the fancy of many energetic but unemployed youth.

    I have this eerie feeling that the USA is going back to the days before its independence. This particular rally seems to be against speculators and investors. But no one is quite sure what it is about, which shows how contagious the inertia of democratic mindlessness is.

    There is some rancour about the bonuses given to CEOs for meeting their business targets. There is another one against CEOs for not creating enough jobs. There is a more sinister one that calls for indiscriminate equalizing of opportunities.

    On the whole, there is a general feeling that people who have got the money are not trusting the local population and governance with their balances. The people are now trying to extort the money through demonstrations and threats.

    This may result in more flight of capital in the short term, and an invitation for benevolent dictatorships in the long term. Who knows…

    There are some accustomed mindsets that invariably lead such a cul-de-sac.

    People, specially those in the current era of merchant trading, have got used to the idea that everything must have an owner or must belong to a system.

    The discovery that employment is not a birth right comes as a rude shock to some ‘educated’ citizenry.

    • off topic. Watched Scent of a woman again ( 5th time I think ) yesterday on HBO. Al Pacino continues to blow me away every time all the time. His tango in the movie was exquisite. So deserving of the Oscar that year..

      • I have the entire DVD collection of Godfather, which I think is Al Pacino’s best.

        (Till I was introduced to the Sicilian mafioso in Godfather, there were only two Italians I appreciated. Sophia Loren and the Pope in the Vatican. Eventually Sophia Loren became older, and a rare Polish fan of Jesus Christ became the first non-Italian speaking Pope (John Paul II).

        So, the only Italians who are good at anything now are the mafia dons.)

    • USA is certainly going back in time. Obama seems lost, he needs to pull out a magic wand.

      • US Presidential elections are scheduled in 2012. The Senate elections are also happening at the same time.

        So, for the next few months, there will be more propaganda than usual and plenty of loose cash in circulation..

        I’ll enjoy the spectacle. Americans are the best political comedians in their own backyard.

  6. Have any of you heard / listened to Vishaka Hari? If you know tamil, she is splendid in hari kathas.

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