|Bhagat Singh - Long Live the Revolution|
Once, a distinguished editor, Ramanand Chatterji ridiculed the slogan asking Bhagat Singh its exact meaning. He wrote, "when a desire is expressed for revolutions to live long, is it desired that the revolutionary process should be at work every hour, day, week, month and year of our lives? In other words, are we to have a revolution as often as possible?"
Bhagat Singh gave a brilliant response to this article which one must read, for it is relevant even today. He said, "Revolution is the spirit, the longing for a change for the better. People generally get accustomed to the established order of things and begin to tremble at the very idea of a change. It is this lethargic spirit that needs to be replaced by the revolutionary spirit. Otherwise degeneration gains the upper hand and the whole humanity is led astray by the reactionary forces. Such a state of affairs leads to stagnation and paralysis in human progress. The spirit of revolution should always permeate the soul of humanity.. old order should change, always and ever, yielding place to new, so that one good order may not corrupt the world. It is in this sense that we raise the shout: Long Live the Revolution. By long usage this cry achieves a significance which may not be quite justifiable from the grammatical or etymological point of view, but nevertheless we cannot abstract from that the association of idea connected with that."
In the age of the Internet, I see that we are moving away from revolutionary ideas to binary ideas: one or zero. Even though we know life is a shade of grey, we assume our beliefs in either black of white. Anti-capitalism is pro-communism. Pro-state enterprises is anti-capitalism. Anti-BJP is Pro-Congress. Pro-bangladeshi stand is pro-Muslim / a religious stand. Pro-kashmir plebiscite is anti-India. Not liking 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai" is Pro-Muslim or Pro Pakistan. Similarly, a short skirt means 'being available', and anti-short skirt means conservative. Having a boyfriend is not having a good ‘character’. Pro-housewife is against women independence. Pro-customs is against modernisation... and so on and so forth. These are kinds of binary justifications, Bhagat Singh believed, that make the society reactionary.
Bhagat Singh believed that Revolution can only survive in the shades of grey. Revolution survives in constant questioning of status quo. Revolution survives in finding those answers by reading books, debates and discussions. If we won't ask the questions then we won't find the answers.
Why a section of the students of one of the top universities find nothing wrong in the Azaadi of Kashmir?
What has led to the birth of ULFA, and why is it still alive after the Army (and political leaders) have used all its might, causing thousands of deaths, to annihilate its very existence?
Why is a private refinery, the biggest refinery in the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic (Preamble) - India, when the top 5 profitable companies of the world are state run companies?
Why Muslims are considered a minority in the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, when religion should not have been a factor and when there are thousands of tribes and clans which are not only ‘minorities’ but also getting extinct by poverty?
What has made a nationalist Ahom (a royal tribe in Assam) not bothered about his long lost religious practices, but concerned about being a Hindu, which is not his original religion?
Why a general Digbol youth have not heard of ‘Raw Petroleum Coke’ when Digbol was the first plant in Asia to produce PetCoke?
Why is the Sericulture department of Lakhimpur College shut down, when Lakhimpur district used to produce the maximum silk (Muga) yarns for centuries?
Why is the FCI not buying a single kg of rice produced in Assam, citing higher moisture content, when distribution advantage within Assam of Assam produce far outweighs the storage disadvantage of high moisture rice?
What has made Bangladesh a garments powerhouse when its next door neighbour, (and a much less populated) Assam is languishing in its tears of poverty and unemployment?
With a broad objective held as sacrosanct, we have to keep questioning the status quo to arrive at revolutionary ideas to change the society for better. Bhagat Singh had equality of rights, opportunities, gender as his broad sacrosanct objective and dedicated his life to reading, questioning and sacrifice. A 23 year old Bhagat Singh once said, “Ma, I have no doubt that my country will be one day free. But I am afraid that the brown sahibs are going to sit in the chairs the white sahibs will vacate”. This I believe is the best example of an outcome that a 23 year old can achieve through ‘constant questioning’, ‘constant reading’ and with a ‘revolutionary spirit’.
Change is the only constant. Bhagat Singh said, “No change is possible without the destruction of the antiquated system. That was what stood like a wall in the way of progress. Philosophers had interpreted the world in different ways. But the real point was to change it. Revolution alone could do so”.
Long Live the Revolution.