Tuesday, March 11, 2008

End of Slavery (Contd.)

I shall for all time put an end to slavery
And for once liberate the whole world
Those who perpetrate atrocities no the exploited people,
Shall each and all be visited by deserved retribution

The Tract society published three pamphlets in the beginning, which were declared by the colonial administration as highly objectionable.
Few excerpts:

Tract Three:This tract raised the question: what is the greatest sin? The answer again was: poverty. It emphasized that financial and educational deprivation is the cause of most sins. There are millions of people who commit theft, decoities and murders because of this. A large number of womenfolk are driven to sell themselves and their honour because of hunger. Then the question was raised as to how this problem could ultimately be solved. The answer, according to the revolutionaries, lay in the economic restructuring of society. Private property should be abolished. The means of production should be socially owned and all people should share work and benefits alike

The HSRA leaders repeatedly denied all the allegations that they are blood thirsty tyrants and aimlessly fired at and threw bombs to kill innocent human beings. In the course of their statement, Bhagat Singh and Dutt dealt with their aim in throwing the bombs without hurting anybody. They explained what violence was and what it was not:

Force when aggressively applied is violence and therefore morally unjustifiable. But when it is used in furtherance of a legitimate cause and new movement which has arisen in the country and of which we have given a warning is inspired by the ideals which guided guru Govind Singh, Shivaji, Kamal Pasha, and Reza Khan, Washington and Garibaldi, Lafayette and Lenin
Dealing in the question of violence and non-violence, The philosophy of the Bomb clarifies the stand of HSRA:
…Violence is physical force applied for committing injustice, and that is certainly not what the revolutionaries stand for. On the other hand, what generally goes by the name of non-violence is in reality the theory of soul-force, as applied to the attainment of personal and national rights, through courting suffering and hoping thus to finally convert your opponent to your point of view. When a revolutionary believes certain things to be his right, he asks for them pleads for his them, argues for them, wills to attain them with all the soul force at his command, stands the greatest amount of suffering for them, is also backs his efforts with all the physical force he is capable of. You may coin what other work you like to describe his methods but you cannot call it violence, because that would constitute an outrage on the dictionary meaning o that word. Satyagraha is insistence upon Truth. Why press for the acceptance of Truth by soul force alone? Why not add physical force also to it? While the revolutionaries stand at their command, the advocates of soul-force would like to ban the use of physical force. The question really, therefore, is not whether you will have violence or non-violence, but whether you will have soul force plus physical force or soul force alone
Another manifesto of the HSRA also dealt with the twin question of violence and terrorism saying:
Non-Violence may be noble ideal, but is a thing of the morrow…The world is armed to the very teeth. And the world is too much with us. All talk of peace may be sincere, but we, of the slave nation cannot, and must not, be led away by such false ideology

The manifesto clarified the HSRA’s attitude towards terrorism saying that “terrorism is never the object of revolutionaries, nor do they believe that terrorism alone can bring independence,” but terrorism, according to them, was an “effective means of retaliation. The British government exists, because the Britishers have been successful in terrorizing the whole of India…Only counter terrorism on the part of the revolutionaries can checkmate effectively this bureaucratic bullying.

Bhagat Singh had read Karl Marx and Lenin in jail and had gone into the details of the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. He had come face to face with these basic question regarding India’s true struggle.

??What should be the character and shape of the future political, economic and social set up?
Would the levers of power e manipulated by the princes, nawabs, feudal lords, priests, capitalists and money lenders after the white overlords were overthrown?

Bhagat Singh thought that these elements were the biggest stooges and props of British power in India and collaborated with them in exploitation, violence and suppression of the people. Bhagat singh had come to understand clearly that without doing away with these lackeys of imperialism, the Indian freedom would be only for the rich, the communalists, the toadies and the affluent sections of the upper castes, and not for the 95% of the poor and helpless people.

The Bitter Truth

Despite HSRA’s commitment to socialism, its leaders could not shed their petty-bourgeois revolutionism when still persisted to a considerable extent. Their faith in heroic terrorism or ‘propaganda by action’ led them to sacrifice their most useful comrades and in the process, decimated their ranks. They could not withstand bureaucratic suppression and the hostility of the bourgeois nationalist leadership. Their belief that propaganda by deed or by death could help in creating a revolutionary socialism consciousness proved unfounded. Where were the political forces – parties, groups, individuals – in the country which could take advantage of the sentiments released and aroused by their immense sacrifices? Their actions aroused nationalist consciousness but could not convey their message of socialism to the masses. This nationalistic enthusiasm generated by revolutionary actions was made use by the bourgeois leadership of the Congress. Gandhi’s Dandi March in March 1930 was preceded by such ‘action deeds’ like the Assembly Bomb explosion and Vice regal train explosion in 1929. The HSRA could not preach its own programme through its own leaders’ sacrifices while the same was done by the parties which it decried. The very bourgeois nationalist leadership which they had desired to replace through exposure of its pro-capitalist character harnessed their names and sacrifices to make popular their own brand of nationalism. If any success can be ascribed to the Gandhi led Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930-32, in terms of mass court arrest the credit must be given to the heroic sacrifices made by the members of the HSRA in 1928, 1929 and 1930. by their dare devil acts they aroused great political consciousness in the people who, not sharing their level of sacrifices were prepared to take the part of lesser sacrifices charted out by the Congress in the beginning of 1930.


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