Bhagat Singh and The Choice

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Couple of weeks back when i wrote "Poverty Talk - A new fashion", one of my friend commented, "...bottom line is that everyone is selfish and self-centered. we love just ourselves; god bless....[Click here to see all comments]." In my view, his comments are very strong; they reflect the feelings of people who keep on saying, "dude, be practical". I struggled to satisfy him with my answer, but desi style of replying to his comments could have been better, "ज़िंदगी जीने के सिर्फ दो ही तरीके होते है। एक, जो हो रहा है होने दो, बरदाश्त करते जाओ। या फिर जिम्मेदारी उठाओ उसे बदलने की। [There are only two ways to lead your life - Either, let things happen in their own way, keep tolerating it. Or, take responsibility to change it.]"[Rang De Basanti]. We can see two diametrically opposite perceptions of one's own life. One is being "practical" and another being (not so practical or) "exceptional". I tried to understand both the view points with the human angle, with compassion, with acceptance, but i found it extremely difficult to justify any of the choices. Every individual's perceptions and priorities define his/her choice. If one's priority is, for example, to earn money, obviously he tends to find a "practical" way of life; if the priority is to help others, apparently he/she finds a way that may end up to be "exceptional".

Given a choice which one do you accept? "practical" or "Exceptional"? Lets look at the "practical" point of view. Allow me to put it in this way, "The world you perceive is drastically simplified model of the real world. No matter how much we try to fight against the evil, the evil prevails. So why bother about the change? One person cannot change the mindset of billion people, we just have one life, lets just live our life to the fullest, that doesn't even affect the way this world moves on." Does this sound true? If you think it does, hold on, may be thats just your perception. Look at the flip side, the "Exceptional" way, We keep on dwelling on the myth that we cannot change the lives around, If we cannot change ourselves, then there is a little chance that we can change the nation either. Lets make the beginning by changing ourselves. Throwing the waste in dust bin rather than throwing it on foot path could be the beginning. When Jemshetji Tata decided to manufacture steel in India, the British steel manufacturers refused to help him and ridiculed him saying that if Indians would make steel, Britishers would eat it! But Tatas made a beginning in 1907 by setting up Tata Steel. Today, Tatas and Mittals are dictating the world steel market! Shaheed Bhagat Singh made a revolutionary beginning in Indian independence movement by deciding to end his life. What was the price? Death, martyrdom; result? Freedom of a nation! Why was freedom so important to Bhagat Singh? Where did he get all the courage to say that " crushing one man, the nation cannot be crushed..?", by sacrificing his life, how could he "make the deaf hear?" Well, He just made a right choice(not to be "practical")! which in turn made him "exceptional".

Did Bhagat Singh try to justify his "Exceptional" path? In a letter to Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh said, "...I cannot help arguing once again my case in the matter under discussion [revolutionary nationalism rather than being a typical Gandhian]. Again I do emphasize that I am full of ambition and hope and of full charm of life. But I can renounce all at the time of need, and that is the real sacrifice...[Click here to see the full text]." For those who questioned his ideas, he said, "..very soon the final battle will begin. Its outcome will be decisive. We (Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev) took part in the struggle and we are proud of having done so..[in a letter to jail superintendent, few days before his execution ]." His martyrdom ignited the spirit of freedom movement. His vision of seeing freedom a reality did come true, but he was not around to see that. Even today, his very name gives a lightening effect in the hearts of millions!

We must have lost him, but his ideas, his passionate struggle for freedom, his fearless attitude are immortal . In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 8th April 1929, he stated that, "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived"[...], such is the power of thought! You think of something strongly, things fall on place to see that thought a reality! "Every morning when we wake up, we have two choices, either to be in a good mood or to be in a bad mood, lets choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, we can choose to be a victim or we can choose to learn from it, lets choose to learn from it. Each time some one comes to us complaining about everything and says we cannot change the lives around, we again have two choices; either choose to be "practical" or choose to point out the positive side of changing the lives around; lets choose to point out the positive side of changing the lives around!"[...] Only that choice can pay the true tribute to "The Legend", Bhagat Singh.

Dear friends, 27th September 2007 is 100th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh [September 27, 1907–March 23, 1931, Some historians say that 28th September is the actual birthday, but 27th September is widely accepted]. Lets celebrate his birth centenary with pure and intense spirit and by making a right beginning!


Anonymous said...

Nice article. great going manju.

kind of reminded me of the book "The Fifth Mountain" written by paulo coelho. The protagonist goes to remote village to do an evil experiment. The aim of the experiment is to prove that if given a choice between good and evil people will choose evil.

Its better not to tell the conclusion. definitely recommend for you to read.

Anonymous said...

Nice quotes from Bhagath Singh!

threepointsomething said...

Nice article. This reminds me of Stephen Covey's description of 'Circle of concern' and 'Circle of influence'.

Here is an article.

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.