Bhagat Singh was one of the most prominent faces of Indian freedom struggle.He was a revolutionary ahead of his times. By Revolution he meant that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change.Following his execution, on March 23, 1931, the supporters and followers of Bhagat Singh regarded him as a "Shaheed", "martyr".
Bhagat Singh was born on 27 September 1907 at Banga in Lyallpur district (now Pakistan).He was the third son of Sardar Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. Bhagat Singh's family was actively involved in freedom struggle. His father Kishan Singh and uncle Sarder Ajit Singh were members of Ghadr Party founded in the U.S to oust British rule from India. Family atmosphere had a great effect on the mind of young Bhagat Singh and patriotism flowed in his veins from childhood.
Kishan Singh enrolled Bhagat Singh in Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School in Lahore, in 1916. In 1919, when Jalianwala Bagh massacre took place, Bhagat Singh was only 12 years old. The massacre deeply disturbed him. On the next day of massacre Bhagat Singh went to Jalianwala Bagh and collected soil from the spot and kept it as a memento for the rest of his life. The massacre strengthened his resolve to drive British out from India.
In response to Mahatma Gandhi's call for non-cooperation against British rule in 1921, Bhagat Singh left his school and actively participated in the movement. At a very young age in 1922 Bhagat Singh started following Non-Cooperation Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi. Bhagat Singh had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi's wishes by burning the government-sponsored books. Following the violent incidents of "Chauri Chaura", Gandhi called for the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation movement. Unhappy with the decision, Bhagat Singh, isolated himself from Gandhi's nonviolent action and joined the Young Revolutionary Movement.He was pursuing B.A. examination when his parents planned to have him married. He vehemently rejected the suggestion and said that, if his marriage was to take place in Slave-India, my bride shall be only death."
Bhagat Singh later joined the Hindustan Republican Association, a radical group, later known as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He returned to his home in Lahore after assurances from his parents that he would not be compelled to get married. He continued his revolutionary activities from his village. He went to Lahore and formed a union of revolutionaries by name 'Naujavan Bharat Sabha'. He started spreading the message of revolution in Punjab. In 1928 he attended a meeting of revolutionaries in Delhi and came into contact with Chandrasekhar Azad. The two formed 'Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha'. Its aim was to establish a republic in India by means of an armed revolution.
In February 1928, a committee from England, called Simon Commission visited India. The purpose of its visit was to decide how much freedom and responsibility could be given to the people of India. But there was no Indian on the committee. This angered Indians and they decided to boycott Simon Commission. While protesting against Simon Commission in Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally Lathicharged and later on succumbed to injuries. Bhagat Singh was determined to avenge Lajpat Rai's death by shooting the British official responsible for the killing, Deputy Inspector General Scott. He shot down Assistant Superintendent Saunders instead, mistaking him for Scott. Bhagat Singh had to flee from Lahore to escape death punishment.
In response to the formulation of Defense of India Act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb inside the assembly premises, where the ordinance was going to be passed. On April 8 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted 'Inquilab Zindabad!' The bomb was not meant to kill or injure anyone and therefore it was thrown away from the crowded place. Following the blasts both Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt courted arrest.
The British authority, while interrogating them, came to know about their involvement in the murder of J. P. Saunders. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Singh admitted to the murder and made statements against the British rule during the trial.While in jail, Bhagat Singh found that the authorities were following a dual policy in treating the prisoners. The criminals of foreign origin were treated better than Indian political prisoners. As a protest, he along with some fellow prisoners declared to "go on hunger strike". The strike continued for over a month and finally the British had to accept before their conditions.
On October 7, 1930 Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal. Despite great popular pressure and numerous appeals by political leaders of India, Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged in the early hours of March 23, 1931