Bhagat Singh: a rebel in prison
Five more letters of Bhagat Singh found with his younger brother Ranvir Singh’s family reveal the teenager’s fearless and forthright
approach in dealing with the British officialdom.
THE earliest record of Bhagat Singh’s writings dates back to 1918 when he was 11 years old, and they were postcards he had written in Urdu and Punjabi to his grandfather and an aunt, Hukam Kaur. Collections of Bhagat Singh’s writings began to appear only in the 1970s, and the latest collections in Urdu and Marathi comprise 125 writings of Bhagat Singh, including 53 letters. With the addition of five more letters discovered in 2017-18 to the collections, Bhagat Singh’s writings number 130, apart from his Jail Notebook.
In this process of searching for Bhagat Singh’s writings, this writer located five letters of his in his trial proceedings edited by M.J.S. Waraich, which were then published in The Tribune in 2007. Following this, he found 10 more letters from the exhibition titled “The Trial of Bhagat Singh” held in 2008 in the newly built Supreme Court museum complex. The Supreme Court gave him a digital copy of the exhibition and the permission to use the contents with acknowledgements. The 10 letters were published in The Hindu of August 15, 2011, along with the rare photograph of Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt, first published on April 12, 1929, in Bande Matram from Lahore.
In 2013, this writer found a letter of Bhagat Singh that even Bhagat Singh believed was lost. However, it was a Hindi translation from the English original. This letter was retranslated into English, and both versions were published in The Hindu (Sunday Magazine) of March 23, 2014. In fact, before going to the gallows, Bhagat Singh took care to leave his writings in safe hands. Thus, he handed over his Jail Notebook to a younger brother, Kulbir Singh, along with a few other items.
Many of his writings were on loose sheets of paper, which he handed over to Kumari Lajjawati, who was secretary of the Bhagat Singh Defence Committee and reported directly to Jawaharlal Nehru on all steps taken to save the life of the three convicted revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Bhagat Singh wanted her to hand over these papers to his comrade Bejoy Kumar Sinha, who was serving life imprisonment in the Andamans
BHAGAT SINGH photographed secretly at Lahore police station during his first arrest and detention from May 29 to July 4, 1927, in connection with the Lahore Dussehra bomb case (October 25, 1926), with Gopal Singh Pannu, DSP, CID, Lahore.