Balabhadra Bharti, former
Vice-Chancellor of Gurukul Kangri, on his routine official visit
to the Gurukul Indraprastha in 1981, found a notebook, written
in Bhagat Singh’s own hand from a subterranean chamber housing
books, maps, photographs and paintings of historical
significance, appertaining to the revolutionaries.
The notebook, in
fact, Bhagat Singh’s jail diary, edited and presented by
Bhupendra Hooja, has been published by Indian Book Chronicle,
Unniara Gardens, Jaipur.
A Martyr’s Book contains
interesting anecdotes and is a treatise on Bhagat Singh’s
ideas on democracy, capitalism, Marxism, legal justice, and
memoirs of his college days. The jail diary provides a peep into
the working of his mind while he was waiting in the jail for the
views on democracy, Bhagat Singh opines that in "concrete
and practical operation," democracy is "false,"
for there can be no equality, not even in politics and before
the law, so long as there is "glaring inequality in
He goes on to add
that "the nominal equality before the law" will be a
"hollow mockery," so long as the ruling class owns the
Press, schools, and other instruments for the moulding the
expression of public opinion, "so long as it monopolises
all trained public functionaries and disposes of unlimited funds
to influence elections," so long as "the laws are made
by the ruling class and the courts are presided over by the
members of the class, so long as lawyers are private
practitioners who sell their skill to the highest bidder and
litigation is technical and costly."
interesting episode, Bhagat Singh writes. "In answer to
Gandhi’s call, some of us young boys, including Dinanath, son
of Devan Lekh Raj, the local tehsildar, formed an ‘action
squad’. For days we went to the nearby inundation canal,
carrying pots and pans. We would collect the canal water, boil
it, and feel happy in imagining that the sediment left at the
bottom of the pan was contraband salt. We would bring it back to
the town duly wrapped in paper packets to be auctioned at the
public meetings. The auction money made us proud and it was
donated to the fund of the cause."
incident, Bhagat Singh mentions: "My mother often led the
volunteers to picket the liquor shops and organised bonfires of
foreign cloth... This movement... set us free from fear, and
also strengthened the forces of women’s emancipation from the
stifling walls of domesticity and traditional bondage."
jail diary contains many more topical ideas relevant to the
times now. Besides, many heroes of the freedom movement who also
find a mention in the diary have now been relegated to oblivion.
It is the right time in the new millennium to pay obeisance to
the martyrs and reiterate their socio-political philosophy.