Was Bhagat Singh shot dead?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by S.A.T.A, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Was Bhagat Singh shot dead?

    A new book on India’s most famous revolutionary who was hanged by the British on March 23, 1931, claims to have unearthed “hidden facts” showing that Bhagat Singh was not executed by hanging. Chaman Ahuja examines the facts revealed in the book.

    In Punjab, the spirit of Bhagat Singh is rising again: preparations have started to organise big events to commemorate in a befitting manner the 75th anniversary of his martyrdom on March 23, 2006, and his birth centenary the following year, on September 28, 2007. Besides a series of huge melas, rallies and processions, explosion of theatrical bombardment, a spurt of books and treatises and a plethora of political rhetoric, one may expect the occasion to open a Pandora’s box of controversies, old and new. In fact, a Chandigarh publisher, Unistar, blazed the trail by releasing a book in London (on October 28). For all one knows, its hitting the bookstands might prove the stirring of a hornet’s nest. Titled Some Hidden Facts: Martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, it carries the subtitle “Secrets unfurled by an Intelligence Bureau Agent of British-India” (sic).

    The real focus of the book is on the ‘hidden facts’ pertaining to the execution of Bhagat Singh. Indeed, the book is an attempt to provide new answers to the innumerable unresolved puzzles — e.g., why the unprecedented hanging of the three martyrs at night; why the dead bodies were not handed over to the relatives but cremated post-haste by the administration without the mandatory postmortem; above all, what was the place and nature of the ‘cremation’?

    The way the ‘hidden facts’ have come to light is itself a story that is as questionable as it is interesting. The chief source of the startling information is a man who was a British toady — in fact, a most trusted secret agent of the British government. This man called Dalip Singh Allahabadi had worked as a gardener at Anand Bhawan, Allahabad, and had later acquired the dubious distinction of slapping Jawaharlal Nehru when the latter was leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission.

    Kulwant Singh Kooner, the co-author of the present book, is the adopted godson of Allahabadi; he lives in Sinfin, Derby (UK). Allahabadi died in 1986 and the two never met again. Meanwhile, the godson had worked out a book based on the notes taken by him but, those being the days of the Emergency, his real father would not let him publish it; in fact, the father pretended that a publisher friend of his was interested in seeing it and he got the manuscript from Kulwant and destroyed it.

    Only after the death of his father, in 1992, Kulwant started the process of working again on such material as his memory afforded; he wanted a movie to be based on Allahabadi’s version of the story, but no one took him seriously. And then he met the co-author, G S Sindhra, a homoeopathic doctor, who put in a lot of additional information into Allahabadi’s narrative through research in the British Library, London.

    According to Allahabadi — as recalled by Kulwant and presented by Sindhra — the ‘execution’ of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev marked the execution of a conspiracy code-named “Operation Trojan Horse”, which, in effect, facilitated the pacification of the British officers in general and the prospective in-laws of the late J P Saunders in particular. Accordingly, Bhagat Singh and his associates did go through the formality of ‘hanging’ but only to the extent of breaking their necks; semi-conscious, they were taken to the Lahore Cantonment where the ‘Death Squad’, comprising Saunder’s family, shot them to quench their thirst for revenge.

    Since doing all this during day time could have invited a violent reaction from the people, the ‘execution’ was performed at night; for the same reason, the bullet-ridden bodies were neither sent for postmortem nor handed over to the relatives. Instead, most surreptitiously, these were taken in a lorry to a pre-fixed isolated place on a kutcha-road (6 miles away from Lahore, on the right bank of the Beas where it meets the Sutlej) and burnt to ashes. And, to put the people on the wrong track, some flesh and bones were half burnt and buried on the western bank of the Sutlej, near Hussainiwala. Two Indian agents were sent to Lahore to pose as volunteers and tell the Congress people that they had seen at Ganda Singh Wala a big burning pyre from a distance.

    Believing the story, some people (including Bhagat’s sister Bibi Amar Kaur) reached the ‘hot’ spot, dug up the flesh and half-burnt bones (plus one big broken but uncharred bone which they surmised must have been the arm of Bhagat Singh, the tallest of the three) that lay buried there, and took these back to Lahore where the half-burnt stuff was ‘properly’ cremated on the bank of the Ravi in the midst of sloganeering crowds, all in tears.

    This was precisely what the ‘Operation Trojan Horse’ meant to achieve — the British way of denying the martyrs the honour of a glorious farewell by the people.

    EXCERPTS
    ‘Operation Trojan Horse’

    The British Authority of India was frustrated with the rising popularity of Bhagat Singh and his ways of exploiting the Government machinery — the courts and Press Newspapers for propagating his ideology. And when on 8th March 1931, Bhagat Singh gave his consent to Bejoy Kumar Sinha to file a mercy petition to the crown on his behalf after a prolong discussion between two friends, the same racial group of some English officers felt that their ambitions could not be fulfilled. So they made a secret plan according to which they send a team of some officers to Delhi and put up the pressure on Lord Irwin and thus getting his silent consent to carry on their plan named “Trojan Horse”. So, on 23rd March, 1931, the “Trojan Horse” plan was fully implemented and after a fake drama of execution the three young men were brought unconscious to a secret place in the Lahore Cantonment where they were shot dead by “the death squad”.

    To conceal the whole episode, the authorities had made arrangement for cremation at some secret place on the right bank of the Beas and the Sutlej convergence. On the other hand to divert the public attention, the authorities had made arrangement for another pyre at Hussainiwala.

    They were also afraid of postmortem which would reveal the presence of bullets in the dead bodies and the same was the case with the ashes. By doing so, the Englishmen had fulfilled two jobs. One, to pacify the anger of the relatives of Saunders and on other hand they hoped to befool Indians who would pay tributes at the wrong place and would worship the wrong bodies remains.

    .........

    After some days he (Dalip Allahabadi) got a chance to go through the secret reports of Lahore agent in which it was revealed that on Monday 23rd, three convicted were hanged in Lahore jail at 7.15 p.m. but they were not allowed to die. They fell unconscious after a few seconds of hanging and the unconscious bodies were removed to Lahore Cantonment on a big lorry which was full of wood.

    One report also revealed that the leader among the convicted (Bhagat Singh) gained some consciousness after some time. Then the P.A. to the Governor of Punjab, the father-in-law of Saunders, was allowed to shoot at the convicted. He fired bullets on the head and chest of Bhagat Singh and others.

    Then the dead bodies were taken to the selected site on the right bank of the Beas-Sutlej river, where the last rites were performed, according to the religious faith of the convicted. The reports also mentioned about the happiness and satisfaction of the British community in Lahore, on the work done by the death squad.

    Mr V.N. Smith Superintendent of Police (political) Criminal Investigation Department, Punjab, wrote in his memoirs on “The Saunders Murder Case” being preserved in a microfilm at the British Library London, — “Normally execution took place at 8 am, but it was decided to act at once before the public could become aware of what had happened” — He further wrote that “at about 7 pm shouts of Inquilab Zindabad were heard from inside the jail. This was correctly, interpreted as a signal that the final curtain was about to drop”.

    At 7.15 p.m. all the three youngmen were hanged, but, as earlier described, their hanged bodies were removed before their souls departed. All the three were unconscious with broken neck. The man who performed the duty of hangmen was arrested immediately and, according to Dalip Singh’s information, was slain in the room where the dead bodies were usually kept for identification after the execution. The slain dead body of the hangman was put into the big lorry along with three unconscious heroes of Mother India.
     
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  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    It is very difficult to trace the origins of such incidents. Many suggest that British and Congress were hunting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose after they "panicked" when his body was not found at the plane crash site with others. They had an inherent fear that if Netaji survived, Congress which was the British colonial favourite to succeed them with their own policies in the sub-continent, would be crumbled with an ever loyal INA cadre and we would have become an Nazi regime (Nazi means not like killing Jews but National Socialism that was advocated by Netaji).

    No matter how Bhagat Singh died, it is a great tragedy that we lost a gem like him. Imagine if he and Netaji were ruling the country 1947 onwards, today we would have been a superpower already. Both will forever live in the hearts of every true Indian (not just being born one and zombified, but a true patriot).
     
  4. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    I have to agree with Tshering there- it is indeed difficult to trace the real facts surrounding such incidents. In fact, the facts and myths are so intertwined here, that it's often impossible to separate the two. It is no secret that both Bhagat Singh and Bose faced opposition from the Congress leadership. Since they happened to die in controversial circumstances, conspiracy theories are bound to come up.

    It's difficult to say what difference they could have made had they still been alive during independence- they may have been influential, or marginalised and disillusioned. I have utmost respect for Netaji, and I strongly believe that he must have been appalled by the Nazi and Japanese cruelty in occupied lands. However, till date I have not come across any documents that reflect the views of INA leadership over Nazi and Japanese war crimes. Does it mean that they were complicit in those, a sort of deal with the devil for the greater good of achieving Indian independence? I would like to think not. But with few facts around, it's not difficult to fathom how conspiracy theories can arise here.
     
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^ Netaji jut shook hands with Devil to kill the Demon, mayfair. He did not want to meddle in matters of either Imperial Japan or Hitler since the priority was to kick the British out of India. One thing you will find to note that in general both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are quite respected in India.. this is NOT BECAUSE OF the atrocities but because of the fact that most of us Indians have been taught to understand that they both helped us in a big way to gain our independence.

    I am sure Netaji would not have been pleased with either's atrocities. However, the British, Portuguese and Spanish imperialists were no less cruel. Only thing is that they hid their cruelties in South America, Africa and even in Goa well enough and pretended to be benevolent dictators whereas they might have probably massacred more than Hitler and Shiro Ishi combined.

    There is little he could do to dissuade 2 superpowers of their time from doing what they wanted to do, especially when INA was so dependent on both for financing.

    Imperial Japanese and Nazis of Germany have my positive review for helping us gain our independence. I condemn their cruel acts against Jews and Chinese but then every element has a evil side and good side and we must live with it.

    If I were there in those times, I would definitely have joined INA rather than British Indian Army.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Being a great revolutionary doesn't automatically make you a great leader/politician.
    What could and what could not have happened is open to realm of speculation. In hind sight we can always talk about what we want. Its entirely possible that if netaji had amassed good enough strength and had actually managed to overthrow the Brits we might have had a dictatorship under him? Afterall there was a lot of influence of dictators on netaji as he dealt with Russia, Japan and Germany. But off course all again in a realm of speculation.

    But as they say jab jab jo jo hona hai, tub tub so so hota hai.
     
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Tell me Yusuf.. are you satisfied with this joke of a democracy we follow compared to the ones that is followed in the West? There, every issue is shouted, people question the government without getting killed by goons of politicians if someone raises a voice against them. Here, each man has to fear himself for opposing politicians. In the West, any of the historic military or strategic blunders that Nehru and his lowly cohorts made, would have met with violent mob riots and protest all over the country.

    Every Indian must realize that west style induced democracy is not a panacea for becoming a heavenly developed country. A benevolent dictatorship is a far more suited model for India where full free democracy results in the chaos and disarray the country is with 1 billion people going in 1 billion directions. Yes I agree that democracy has its advantages, but so does benevolent dictatorship.

    Since there has been an intense discussion on 1962, try imagining Netaji or Bhagat Singh (leftist but Nationalist) in place of Nehru. DO you think that they would have let that disaster happen? Judging by the personality they exhibited then, I am sure not. Heck! They would have been so prepared that probably we would have torn chunks of Tibet off Mao's grip and used them as bargaining chip.

    It is almost laughable that most of fellow Indians assume that the current form of democracy is a 100% solution and a boon to India. I am not a supporter of Tyranny but am sensible enough to look through a neutral prism and highlight the merits and demerits of each system. And by criticizing democracy, I mean criticizing INDIAN democracy.. Not the institution in itself. Allow me to highlight my meaning in blunt words:

    Indian Democracy

    - no national consensus
    - no national bindings
    - political parties form almost everyday like bacteria
    - no genuine concerns addressed
    - people are not genuinely free to oppose politicians out of fear for their safety
    - rampant and uncontrolled corruption
    - no account of people
    - no account of public money
    - no large-scale long term strategy vis-a-vis threats
    - no freedom to military at all in its function; constant babu meddling
    - no strong leadership
    - characterized by indecisiveness
    - politicians have ZERO knowledge about even regional problems, forget problems at national level
    - inept development management
    - lack direction
    - extremely cumbersome

    A supposed rule of Bose or/and Bhagat Singh

    - rapid decision making
    - national consensus
    - having a specific direction
    - having a goal-oriented constitution rather than a superficial favour-distributing and divisive one
    - better implementation of laws
    - assertive, pragmatic and stronger foreign policies
    - rapid development (both were populist leaders)
    - better military situation (both were militarists by thinking and would allow more reforms faster)
    - better and centralized check on corruption

    Basically, their rule would have been a fine balance between genuine people-run governance and the CCP's autocracy which is far more suited than the chaotic sham democracy we have with NO implementable rules and NO checks and NO direction as a nation.
     
  8. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's aptly put, mate. Even if there had been a dictatorship, all Indians, excepts those with pocket full of black money, would have embraced it, had it been under the leadership of Bhagat Singh and Netaji. The sacrifices these two great men made for the country is beyond comprehension, and its foolish to think they would have let all the sacrifices they made in seeing India become a free nation go waste within a few years of independence. On the contrary, I believe their grip on all affairs directly related to the benefit of the masses and their strong will and clear vision would have ushered India into something much better than what we are today as a nation.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Stalin, Mao you name it. They killed millions of their own people. Dictatorships have never been good. China is what it is today over the dead bodies of millions of its citizens. I have my freedom to do what I want. India is what it is not over the dead bodies of brutally killed people. Usurped rights. Democracy is made by its people.
     
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    You guys are exactly promoting what rest of us deride about china everyday.
     
  11. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    Tshering, one reason perhaps why Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are respected in India may be due to lack of knowledge about their actions in Europe and Asia. Heck, the biggest mass murderer of them all, Josef Stalin is officially revered, because he was from a "friendly country". Their "nationalist" credentials are often cited to explain away their brutalities or as you pointed out, the role of British, French and Spanish colonialists is cited as an argument.

    We often argue that many find it difficult to sympathise with us over our treatment at the hands of the colonialists or us facing the brunt of Pakistani terror machine, because they never faced it themselves. I believe we are guilty of the exact same. If you wish to know about Japanese war crimes, ask the people of China, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and other South East Asian countries. The hatred for Japanese is still there, often simmering under the surface but often outward and undisguised. Unit 731 and their actions in occupied Manchuria were as abominable as Nazi "medical experiments" on prisoners in concentration camps. Many of the doctors in Unit 731 went on to better things- Masaji Kitano led Green cross, a pharma company, Shiro Ishii headed the US biological weapons program. Many worked for Russians, much like the Nazi Germany scientists and doctors. Other examples include Batang death march, Comfort women, Railway of death etc.

    Japanese actions were not guided by any love or admiration of India. Their support for the INA was purely guided by strategic interests- roll back allied forces from Asia and extend the imperial empire to include India and possibly beyond. INA were a useful cannon fodder who could be sacrificed without remorse for the benefit of the Imperial army. If you think British rule was cruel, Japanese subjugation would have been no less than hell. Nazis had similar plans for the subcontinent- declassified documents reveal them all.

    Like I said before, perhaps INA were genuinely appalled by these horrific events, but there was little they could do to persuade Japanese to eschew them. INA was dedicated to Indian independence and perhaps they thought a compromise with the devil was in order to attain the "noble" objective of Indian independence. But I still cannot fathom why none of the ex-INA soldiers, who were/are quick to point out British atrocities are silent on Japanese war crimes? Is it because, possibly some of them were active collaborators in subjugating native people and prisoners of war?

    Forgive me for being skeptical on the type of governance these people would have given us. All India Forward Block, the party founded by Netaji is not exactly known for its political or administrative achievements, wherever they've manged to represent people. Perhaps it would have been different with him around. But a "benevolent dictatorship", where the danger of him being sidelined by the usual scallies, would have been no better than the present setup, in fact I dare say, far worse.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  12. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    You are making a mistake by comparing Stalin and Mao, with Netaji and Bhagat Singh. Mao and Stalin were despots, and Netaji and Bhagat Singh never took a single life of an innocent countryman. There's a vast difference in their way of thinking and those of these two despots.
     
  13. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    forget taking names and look it in the context of dictatorship. Dictatorship is never good.
     
  14. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    All the greatest empires were in a way dictatorships.

    Im not advocating dictatorships because if tyrant gets power then he could disastrous for the country.
     
  15. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yes and power is intoxicating. You can start with the greatest of intentions but you will end up a tyrant.

    For me the example is the west. US in particular. How they have made their country so powerful and have been a democracy from day one of their independent existence with a single minded focus to progress and be powerful in all aspects.
     
  16. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Democracy is the best system for our country, even if it scores low in terms of performance. Participation of all people irrespective of their caste creed and religion ensures that our diverse nation remains one. Bhagat Singh and Netaji played their part, its our turn now.

    Back to the topic: in western tradition any form of execution that involves bleeding the convict is usually reserved for warriors, while hanging is reserved for cowards. So psychologically speaking hanging Bhagat Singh was better option for British.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  17. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why are we comparing revolutionaries like Netaji and sardar Bhagat singh with despots or political systems they perpetuated.Netaji and Bhagat singh were waging a war of independence against foreign occupiers,not an election campaign,why and how would would any principles of democracy apply in their case.All tyranny,esp tyranny of an foreign occupier must be overthrown without any undue regard or respect for principles of peace or piety.Netaji and Sardar Bhagat Singh with out a modicum of doubt would have made great and popular national leaders committed to national welfare,had they lived long enough to see an independent India.... To utter their names in the same breadth as tyrants and despots is a blasphemy.
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Lenin and Stalin were revolutionaries in their own rights. So were many others who fought for independence for their country and ended up enslaving their country in a dictatorship.
    Point here was some people actually welcoming a dictatorship under netaji or Bhagat Singh post independence had they lived that long. And I am trying to say a dictatorship is certainly not welcome.
    Both Netaji and Bhagat Singh command the highest respect for what they did. But I am certainly not comfortable with an idea of a dictatorship under them.
     
    amitkriit likes this.
  19. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    You are right, they are our icons, but any self-respecting person who knows even a bit about honor and "free will" will never accept dictatorship, no matter how good the tyrant is. We have great respect for our freedom fighters and martyrs, they fought and fell in battlefield so that their future generation could become "Masters of their destiny".
     
  20. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    I never meant that there would have been a dictatorship, had any of these two great men actually lived long to see a free India. All I meant, that as a country we would have been far better off under their leadership, than what we actually are today. And I don't have any doubt in that.
     
  21. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    What you have written here means if my understanding of english is right, is that you think a dictatorship under Netaji or Bhagat Singh would have benefited india.
     

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