After his dramatic
surrender in the Central Legislative Assembly, Bhagat Singh announced that the bombs let
off and the bullets fired were not for killing or injuring. They were to create loud
enough noise for the deaf to hear.
The idea was to penetrate the stuffed ears of
the British. Bhagat Singh and Bakuteshwar Dutt were arrested at Dillee. Rajguru and
Sukhdev were arrested in Lahore. The two were making bombs when a faint streak of sulphur
flowing down the drain was noticed by the ever vigilant British spies.
Muhammad Saeed, in his Lahore, A Memoir
published by Vanguard of Pakistan, writes: When brought to the dock they (Bhagat
Singh, Bakuteshwar Dutt, Rajguru and Sukhdev) flouted all court etiquette; sometimes they
boycotted proceedings; at others, advanced impossible terms; and yet, on other occasions,
resorted to hunger strikes and were brought to court on stretchers.
...they were sentenced to death. It was
reported in the papers that when the news was carried to the unruffled revolutionaries in
jail, they were playing cards. Bhagat Singhs only reaction was to tell the jailer:
Now you will see, Sir, how the lovers of freedom lay down their lives.
On the appointed day, the British authorities
considered the normal practice of hanging the condemned men in the early hours of morning
as being too risky. The revolutionaries were led to the gallows in the evening and hanged
at three minutes past seven thirty.
The three revolutionaries died gallantly
and with a poise begotten of unswerving commitment. Bhagat Singh left not only a brave
memory in the minds of the nation but also a message written on the wall of barrack No.14.
This message has been quoted by a police officer
A B Awan in a book called Across The River and Over The Hills. The text of Bhagat
Singhs message reads:
I make no secret of the fact that it
is but natural for me to desire to remain alive. But I can live only under certain
conditions. I refuse to live in prison or on parole. My name has become the focal point of
the party of revolution and its sacrifices have placed me on an elevated pedestal. This
pedestal is so high that if I survive by being spared, I will not be able to live up to
that standard. My weaknesses are not generally known and the public is unaware of them. If
I manage to cheat the gallows, they will be exposed for all to see. It may be that the
revolutionary fire in me will cool down. It may be even extinguished.
"But if I am hanged like a brave man,
with a smile on my face, Indian mothers will encourage their children to emulate my
example. Our hangings will substantially add to the numbers of martyrs in the cause of the
freedom of the motherland, so much that it will be impossible any longer for the satanic
powers of Imperialism to resist the Revolution.Of course there is one thing which even
today leaves me uneasy. I have not been able to accomplish a thousandth part of what I
aspired for the country and for humanity. Could I but live, I could fulfil some of these
tasks and be happy. It is only out of this desire to be able to serve that I wanted to
escape the gallows. Otherwise I consider myself the most fortunate man. Really I am very
proud of myself now. I have got the better of all my desires. Now I am feverishly waiting
for the last rest. I desire that it may be expedited.
The last request made by Bhagat Singh and his
companions was that they be spared the regulatory handcuffing and fetters. The brave sons
of India also wished not to wear the death cap, mandatory for those condemned to death by
Bhagat Singh walked in the centre with Rajguru
on his right and Sukhdev on his left. It is reported that Bhagat Singh recited two Urdu
verses before his death. One was:
Dil sey mur kar bhee neh nikleygee watan kee
Myree muttee sey khushbouey watan aayeygee.
(Even after I am cold in death, the love I bear
for my motherland will remain in my heart. My very dust will waft the fragrance of my
The other verse recited at the end by Bhagat
Singh linked him to the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who perished
in exile in Rangoon on November 7, 1862, after seeing 21 descendants executed for their
role in the First War of Independence in 1857 and his city and palace devastated,
destroyed and desecrated by the British. This verse read:
Naa kisee kee aankh kaa nour houn, naa kisee
kay dil kaa qaraar houn
Joa kisee kay kaam naa aa sukay mein woah eyk mushtey ghubaar houn
(I am not the light of anyones eye nor the
joy of even a single heart. I am but a fistful of useless dust which served no purpose
A story about Bhagat Singh comes from an Ahrar
worker who was jailed at the same time. This Ahrar volunteer was called Mirza Ghulam Nabi
Janbaz and he was incarcerated in the Borstal wing of the Lahore jail complex.
His book, Karvan-i-Ahrar, narrates the
Mirzas encounter with the martyr. In those days some prisoners accused of
conspiracy against the British sarkar were lodged with us in the Borstal jail. Two others,
Bhagat Singh and Bakuteshwar Dutt were in Central Jail.
Every evening they were brought to our
wing to play volleyball. They had a special ground prepared for them. Nobody else,
political detenu or non-political prisoner was allowed to interact with them or even enter
The moment Bhagat Singh and his colleagues
arrived under heavy police escort the other prisoners were locked in their cells.
The normal lock-in time during summer was 7 pm. As Bhagat Singh came at 5 pm, our
lock-in period increased by two hours a day. One day, I was singing Ashfaqulla
Let the world remember the dying words of
those whose life was dedicated to love (of freedom) Though the body can be bound and
fettered, the spirit soars free.
My cell was behind the playground and the song
must have been heard. After the game was over, they asked the jail superintendent, Colonel
Chopra, to allow them to see me. A numberdar (trusty long serving prisoner
entrusted with prison duty) was sent to summon me to the jail Superintendents
As I arrived I saw young men in an European
dress talking to Colonel Chopra. He turned to me and asked, Dont you know that
singing is expressly forbidden in jail?
Yes sir, I replied, It
is!Then what punishment do you propose for your misconduct?
Whatever your Honour feels appropriate, I replied. Well, he said,
Let us hear whatever it is you were singing.
I immediately carried out the order. By the time
I had finished the poem I noticed that tears had welled up in many an eye. I did not know
who the gentlemen were!
Next day I was told that I was to again recite
the poem to Bhagat Singh and his friends. From that day I was called to the
Superintendents office as soon as the game was over. I was free to meet the batch of
young revolutionaries whenever I wanted to.
They had developed a strong liking for me.
Bhagat Singh was a noble and brave man. He had a very fine taste for good poetry and
remembered a large number of verses from Urdu classics. His favourite verse those days,
which he often hummed, was from Iqbal,
Dear friends, I am only a guest. My stay is
brief. I am a candle that has burnt itself from the night upto the morning. I shall soon
be blown out.
Bhagat Singh was now a hero and village bards
sang songs celebrating his martydom. Going from Pasrur to Lahore via the newly constructed
Narowal section, I heard a bard in tattered clothes sing on a Eiyktaara (one string
Rejoice O sister rejoice
For I shall soon swing on the gallows rope.
Heres hoping that India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh will one day give due honour to the Bhagat Singhs of freedom struggle whose
sacrifice has made it possible for all the countries in the sub-continent to throw off the
yoke of British imperialism to become independent.