The one thing leftists are very good at is distorting history and appropriating national icons to suit their agenda, even if it means attributing half-truths to those legends. One such icon who has often been presented as a communist is Hutatma Bhagat Singh. Leftists often claim that Bhagat Singh was a communist; we shall examine how true this claim of theirs is on the basis of facts.
Communists who had denounced the methods and ideas of Bhagat Singh, began his appropriation sometime from the year 1953 as a part of its series of about-turns on many of its stated policies. Till then, the Hutatma was a “terrorist” whose acts would ultimately lead to defeat and not freedom.
The shift in USSR’s ideological stance brought about a change in the way communists viewed nationalists and revolutionaries. Remember that the views of Indian communists are always shaped by the pre-dominant thought process in erstwhile USSR and today’s Russia and China.
As far as the ideological leanings of Singh are concerned, he was an anti-imperialist who was rooted in nationalism and viewed socialism (mind you not communism) as merely a tool to uproot imperialism from India. To put it in today’s lingo, socialism was the “in thing” during those days as was nationalism and hence several nationalist leaders and freedom fighters adopted a combination of both these ideologies to fight the British.
Two things stand out from Bhagat Singh’s writing that make it amply clear that he was far removed from the leftist ideology. The first is he feared the replace of white sahibs by brown sahibs who would be Indian in look but British in thought oppressing the masses. The second is his endorsement of development when he says “one who believes in development must criticize, disbelieve and challenge all that is obsolete”.
The Hutatma’s support of socialism stems from his looking up to the Russian Revolution as an inspiration to free India from foreign rule. Among several who borrowed inspiration from revolutionary movements abroad was Veer Damodar Savarkar. While leftists love to hate Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh adored Savarkar and even got copies of the latter’s “India’s war of independence” printed and distributed.
His atheism stems from his Arya Samaj roots which is as Hindu as it gets, unlike the minority appeasement of leftists who diss Hindu religion while supporting Muslims and Christians in practising their faiths. For leftists atheism means being anti-Hindu which is not how Bhagat Singh saw it.
Communist leaders like Stalin and Mao came into power much after Hutatma Bhagat Singh had descended into the gallows. The communists in power were almost always dictatorial despots with blood of numerous innocents on their hands. Had Singh lived long enough to see what communism actually meant, then he most certainly would have denounced it in no uncertain terms.
Scholars such as Shri Sita Ram Goel who had been enamored by communism in their young days saw through the shallowness of the leftist ideology which is very evident from his writings. I’m sure that is how, Bhagat Singh would have felt about it. So instead of blindly accepting the communist propaganda, it is advisable that the youth must objectively read the thoughts and ideas of Hutatma Bhagat Singh, compare it with the communist ideology after Bhagat Singh and as it exists today and then make an informed choice. The communists are attempting to appropriate Bhagat Singh only to gain followers due to their shrinking follower base and not out of any love for him or his ideals.