A commemoration of two personalities from Punjab and Santa Fe

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Bhagat Singh's birth anniversary

By: Aditya Vashisht

Influential characters in human history have been known to live up to their name and make a mark. These characters are composed of people who have carved out a special arena for themselves through their actions. These actions were either predetermined by them or were executed in relation to the exigencies of time. Not all the characters may be as dominant and influential as some, but it is the contributions made by them which give history the shape it is qualified to deserve. On the other hand, there may be some who may be having similar goals and traits, but are separated by geographical distance. Human history may be varied, but the goals which prompted our race to carry on are similar. Protests, revolution and freedom fighters may be varied geographically but are given existence for the same target. In this context, comparisons can be effected between many personalities who have been a part of such human actions.

Comparisons can be facilitated by the goals which underlined their actions and the traits which they inherited. But the purpose of such a comparison should not be to exert dominance of a particular side or to belittle any aspect. The purpose which should underline such comparison should be to take out the positive in both of the sides and therefore, be dressed with a cosmopolitan character so that the barriers of geographical and cultural distance may be overcome.

Prompted by such a thought, Bhagat Singh and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara are two such personalities which can fit perfectly in the respective aspect of human dynamism in history. These two characters were similar in their desires, the change which they wanted to initiate and the actions performed by them to bring the aforesaid change. Both these men had some similar traits and inclinations but were separated by geographical and cultural barriers. The time in which they were prevalent on the earth was also marked by difference. Bhagat Singh had with pride accepted the noose around his neck for the Indian motherland when Ernesto Guevara was a toddler.

The era in which Bhagat Singh executed such functions which enabled him to carve out a special role for himself in history was dominated by colonialism which was specific. On the other hand, Ernesto Guevara performed similar actions during the midst of the Cold War, where Latin American nations were just props for the American ambition. The vivacity which underlined Guevara was tinged with cosmopolitanism, which makes him a bit different from his Indian counterpart. But such observation should not serve the non-intended purpose of downplaying the aspect of the other side; otherwise the purpose of this article would be defeated.

Ideologically, both these men had similar tendencies. Both believed in the power which socialism commanded, which was prompted by the constant suppression witnessed by them through imperialism, which can undoubtedly be touted as the worst form of capitalism. Left wing ideology is what dominated the minds of these men. It led them to exhort views which in their opinion could bring stability for the common, oppressed masses, and help in ending the yoke of subjugation for their respective regions.

The tactics employed by them were similar in context but different by degree since Compañero Che took the rifle and led a virtual army to liberate La Habana whereas Bhagat Singh took up arms to execute his purpose and to make statement to the English colonialists, both in an explicit as well as in an implicit manner. Both of them had a firm belief in the power of revolution (a direct version of dynamism) to bring that change which had been nurtured by them in their hearts. The factor which makes them stand out from others they executed that process which they deemed necessary to usher in that respective change.

Another feature which can be considered similar is the emphasis which they manifested through teamwork. Both the personalities had close associates with whom they worked tirelessly to accomplish their goals. Chandrashekhar Azad, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru were the people who successfully facilitated the will of Bhagat Singh to accomplish his desires through teamwork. Similarly for Guevara, Fidel Castro and his band of Cuban revolutionaries in the Sierra Maestra filled that position.

This affirmation for team work also shows the love which these men possessed for their respective regions. Had there been a minimal indication of them being governed by personal ambitions, then the exemplar for the importance of teamwork would have not been manifested to that extent. Neither of them did or wanted to cement their position in the aftermath of the accomplishment of their goals. Certainly, if the above proposition of self interest had been prevalent in quite a magnitude, then they might not have been at present be referred to or revered as enthusiastically as they are.

These two great men also have similarity in the aspect of their death, one hanged at the young age of 23 whereas the other was executed at 39. This trait may somewhat be trying us to convey the aspect of some humans being born on this earth for a particular purpose. Clearly the short time spans of these personalities and the conduct which they had throughout their short life can give us a proper attestation of the assumption that these two may have been on this planet for a purpose. This purpose showed itself in the exigency which was prompted by the oppression with which they acquainted themselves directly.

The above evaluation of both of these personalities can serve to us as a source for keeping a proper remembrance of the personalities which had exhibited dynamism in human history. This dynamism is varied and is scattered in the different parts of this planet.  Often the passed out and even the contemporaries may not have a proper acknowledgement, and some may be negatively portrayed or be subjected to devotion. But the sentiment for which they executed certain functions is truly noble and hardly may anyone have the will to put it into effect.

These desires are nurtured by all, but what makes ‘those’ stand out from the rest is that very activism. So by giving a shelter in our hearts to this revered personality of our nation, let us give him a proper tribute on his birth anniversary, which shall serve as a tribute to all those who happily spent their life for a purpose which governed them all uniformly.

– The writer is based in Lucknow and can be reached at [email protected]

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