Whenever any Indian hears the name of Bhagat Singh they get filled with pride as he was a revolutionary who has inspired countless Indians, particularly youth to stand against injustice and oppression. Though Bhagat Singh was not alive at the time of Independence he had surely paved the way for it to happen. But even after the entire glorified tale, he has faced the allegation of being a vainglorious person or an egoist as he didn’t believe in the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God.
Seems shocking? A person who is so respected for his love for the Nation was an Atheist? But, yes he was and why you maybe don’t know this about him because he was always portrayed as a young man filled with rage and passion for his country and bombed some assembly, but that’s not it. He has defended this allegation of being an Egoist by writing an essay “Why I am an Atheist?” while he was in prison around 1930, discussing the changes he went through which made him gave up all his beliefs and follow realism. So let’s find out who was our folk hero, just a brave story or an ideology?
How he was brought up?
Bhagat Singh was born in a Sikh family with many ancestors who have fought in independence movements and also in the Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s Army. His grandfather was an orthodox Arya Samajist. Though his father was a liberal man yet he too was a dedicated religious person. He got his education in an Indo-Aryan School. Thus, he spent his childhood around the people who were not atheists; on the contrary, they all were dedicated believers. At this time he was a dedicated believer too. But, after he joined the National College he started questioning and criticizing the whole notion of the existence of Gods or a God. But he was puzzled as even after the lengthy discussions with the people he admired he reached nowhere as they just simplify the whole notion by saying ‘Pray whenever you want’ but he was not satisfied with the answers as no one around him has justified the existence of God. Thus he got no sufficient arguments to believe in God and not enough to solve his doubts.
Cry for Study
Before he became a pronounced atheist, Bhagat Singh described himself as only a Romantic Idealist Revolutionary as he was just following others but now the time came to lead, and for that, he wants to arm himself with the arguments to face the opposition and so he turned to study. He studied Bakunin, Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. Things that were common between these people were that they all led a successful revolution in their country and they all were atheists. And after that, he gave up all the mysticism and blind faith in 1926 and became a realist as he was now convinced that the theory of an Almighty who created a countless light-years big Universe in that some thousands of kilometers big Earth and in that average 170 centimeters long Human and all this just for judging them is, baseless.
Man of Reason
Bhagat Singh explained the importance of reasoning power which is the real reason how he came to be an atheist. He believes that a person has to challenge what is prevailing; he must question and try to understand the surrounding with direct proofs. And he believes that our ancestors lack direct proofs so they try to solve the problems of past, present, and future just by philosophy. And because of that, we have different kinds of faiths that have different notions of how this world came to be and how it is going to end. He presents his idea about the origin of God that God was an imagined being that encourages a man to face his dangers, thus a consequence of weakness. As belief softens hardships, they even make them pleasant. And on the verge of life, it will make death poetical. And such thinking is not progressive so a man who favors progress must criticize false beliefs and challenge old faith.
He explains British rule is here because they have guns, rifles, military i.e., power and not because God wills it. He criticizes God to be a dictator by saying if he is watching all this and not doing about it he must be enjoying it then. He even suggests reading Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species to whom who want to counter him with questions like, how life came into existence if there is no God to create it?
Was he an Egoist?
His arrest for the 1929 Assembly incident made him popular, he became the topic of conversation now as this event of bombing marked as an Anti-Gandhian so he was quoted egoistic but he believes even Mahatamaji can be questioned as this mentality of not opposing just following blindly is not progressive. He was not doing all this for hoping to be king in his next birth as he was an atheist so it was not because of ego. And he explains as an informed man he believes in reasoning and after careful study, he denies the existence of God.
But, is all this relevant today? Haven’t we all are living in a broad-minded world? We have improved for sure but things are going very slow. Still, people are killing in the name of God, political parties fighting elections in the name of God, and maybe you are too named after God. Bhagat Singh too believed that “Killing an individual is easy, but you cannot kill the ideas.” And this is what it is; an ideology of the following reason then things around us will change. Then there will be real peace or else, the powerful will keep dividing us according to our caste, creed, color, or gender and will misuse it. So whatever you are and whatever you are going to be; Study and Reason, then eventually it will make sense.