Shaheed Bhagat Singh on atheism and death

Waiting for the judgment that ultimately condemned him to death, the youth icon had a few interesting questions for the believers

Pravin Mishra, Ahmedabad Mirror, April 18, 2012

Twenty-three is too young an age to die and that to for a larger cause! When Bhagat Singh’s father petitioned the British government to pardon his son, Bhagat Singh said that his death will do more to smash the British empire than his release and told his father to withdraw the petition.

Bhagat Singh’s last words emerged with immense conviction and without fear. He said that the idea of God is helpful to man in distress

Baba Randhir Singh, a freedom fighter, was in Lahore Central Jail in 1930-31. He was a God-fearing religious man. It pained him to learn that Bhagat Singh was a non-believer. He somehow managed to see Bhagat Singh in the condemned cell and tried to convince him about the existence of God, but failed. Baba lost his temper and said tauntingly: “You are giddy with fame and have developed an ego which is standing like a black curtain between you and the God.” It was in reply to that remark that Bhagat Singh wrote an article ‘Why I am an atheist?’. It is a fascinating piece about his coming to terms with his own mortality.

While awaiting his judgment, knowing that he’d be put to death, Bhagat Singh wrote, “Judgment is already too well known. Within a week it is to be pronounced. What is the consolation with the exception of the idea that I am going to sacrifice my life for a cause? A God-believing Hindu might be expecting to be reborn as a king, a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries to be enjoyed in paradise and the reward he is to get for his suffering and sacrifices. But, what am I to expect? I know the moment the rope is fitted round my neck and rafters removed from under my feet, that will be the final moment – that will be the last moment. I, or to be more precise, my soul as interpreted in the metaphysical terminology, shall all be finished there. Nothing further. I know in the present circumstances my faith in God would have made my life easier, my burden lighter, and my disbelief in Him has turned all the circumstances too dry, and the situation may assume too harsh a shape. A little bit of mysticism can make it poetical. But I do not want the help of any intoxication to meet my fate. I am a realist.”

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