“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people. People cannot be really happy until they have been deprived of illusory happiness by the abolition of religion”
These are few of the lines written and quoted by Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) against religiosity, doctrine and communalism. If he was alive today, there is no doubt that he would have been an ‘anti-national sickular‘ in the eyes of BJP, RSS, the supportive twitter trolls and the conforming media channels. So it amazes one and all when PM Narendra Modi regularly tweets on every 23rd March (since last 2-3 years) about how inspiring Bhagat Singh’s sacrifice was and how Bhagat was the real son of the soil.
If we go back 85 years, things were never rosy between Bhagat Singh and the Sangh. During the late 1920’s, the founder of RSS (1925), Hedgewar was completely focused on developing the organizational framework and he steered clear of the anti-colonial politics. He was so busy in strengthening his clutch on the Hindus that he never showed interest in even the Congress’s efforts towards the freedom struggle. Likewise, British never considered Hedgewar a threat and labeled him the same in their annual intelligence reports. Finally, when Bhagat Singh was executed, Hedgewar was busy in Varanasi arranging RSS programs and he had absolutely no views to express on this gross travesty of justice.
Another Sangh ideologue of the time, Savarkar was busy bringing together the upper-caste Hindus and the untouchables during the days when Bhagat Singh was hanged. Savarkar was more pro-British than even Hedgewar and was released by the British from jail after he pledged to never practice politics again. Also, Savarkar was typically infamous because of his multiple pleading letters and requests of mercy to the British. We can take a pause and compare this with what Bhagat Singh did instead. In the end, to set the record straight, Balasahab Deoras, the third chief of the RSS went on to the extent of calling Bhagat Singh and his contemporaries ‘stupids‘ in one of his writings.
From the very beginning, the RSS thinking and ideology is expressed in its regular magazines/newspapers and there is not a single line challenging, exposing, criticizing or confronting the inhuman rule of the British masters in the entire literature of the RSS from 1925 to 1947. It is also well documented that the Sangh did not take part in the Quit India movement but there is more to it than just maintaining the status-quo. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, who was then the Hindu Mahasabha president and later founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (which subsequently evolved to BJP) collaborated with the British to kill the Quit India Movement.
So, how on the earth does today’s BJP try to own up Bhagat Singh, a young maverick whose only life goal was to see an independent India; and on top of it, he was a Marxist, a word that cannot go down the throat of a single Sangh affiliate today or back then. Bhagat Singh is not the only one though, whom the Sangh tries to grab from the history books. Now and again, they vehemently lay a similar claim on Sardar Patel and Ambedkar. In the absence of any national hero of their own, this vulturism seems to be their only option and a well-read populace should be able to un-code their sly agenda.