Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 1, December 20, 2008
Ten Poems on Bhagat Singh
Sunday 21 December 2008
“While searching for writings on Bhagat Singh, I came across some poems on Bhagat Singh in the P.C. Joshi Archives of the JNU, New Delhi. It was a pleasant surprise for me as these poems are collected from Home Ministry files. These are proscribed poems published in different Indian languages—Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Tamil. All over the country, poems were published mostly after the execution of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on March 23, 1931. Most of the poems were published in 1931 and proscribed in 1931-32. It seems the English translations were done by colonial officials in order to get orders from superior British officers for proscribing the literature. P.C. Joshi’s own comments are not there, but on one poem, it seems Joshi had written about the Act or Ordinance which was promugulated to proscribe these publications, which is referred to by Joshi as “extra-ordinary, extra-judicial powers verging on martial law”. It is a fitting tribute to P.C. Joshi to see his collection of proscribed poems on Bhagat Singh published in his birth centenary year, courtesy the P.C. Joshi Archives of the JNU, which allowed photocopying this precious collection.
“The tenth poem is a recent one by the celebrated Pakistani poet Fahmida Riyaz who, on reading about the controversy relating to the statue of Bhagat Singh in the Parliament House complex, wrote this poem in Urdu and herself translated it into English.” —Editor
Nine Proscribed Poems
Insaaf ka Khoon (Murder of Justice)
(Extracts from pamphlet in Urdu entitled ‘Insaf ka Khoon’, printed at the Narindra Electric Press, Lyalepur, edited and published by Pandit Shivlal ‘Bismil’, journalist, Lyalepur)
Long live Revolution
Long Live Revolution
On this side heads for the sacrifice
And enthusiasm to add,
From that side tyranny.
On this side silence,
Revolution in silence
Long live Revolution
On that side baton. Practice
On this side indifference,
On that side mischief-making
(and) excessive bragging
On this side melting of hearts.
On that side acts of high-handedness
It is their doings that will bring about Revolution.
On that side acts of oppression
On this side starvation
Source of aspirations.
Are these revolutionaries
Who put up with rigours?
Revolution demands rigours
When Bhagat, Sukhdev and Guru have
Sacrificed themselves for the nation.
Many a man will come to ascend the gallows
Without fear and anxiety.
We want a Revolution
But fight shy of rigours,
Revolution of the youth.
The Russian Revolution.
This Revolution of India,
Is the Revolution of the world.
That too was a Revolution
This too is a Revolution
Revolution from every side.
Behold the Revolution is coming,
Long live revolution.
LONG LIVE REVOLUTION.
[Home Poll. F. No. 13/IV A & KW./1932]
(From the Tamil book, Bhagat Singh or the Heroic War of the Gallows)
The 23 March, 1931
The wretched day
In which goddess Bharate’s eyes
Were suffused with tears
The inauspicious day
Which was responsible
For all the Indian’s weeping aloud.
(The) day is an important
landmark in the history
of the future war of independence
India realised her helpless
Condition on that day,
On account of the domination
By six erose of Englishmen
Over thirty erose of India,
Keeping the latter under subjection
And ruling over them with arrogance
That cruel day
On which were sacrificed
The lives of three selfless heroes
Can never be forgotten in any manner, by anyone.
The Duty of the True in India
BOMBAY—from Mauji newspaper of Karachi, 26th May, 1932.
O ye Indians, rise against slavery,
O youth, Mother is shedding tears
And calls you to the field.
The Firangis have spread out
A big snare of ignorance
Destroyed the fertile garden of Bharat.
Hearing the lamentations of the starving breathren
The stony heart melts.
Defame not the name of India like cowards, give life
Like Bhagat Singh, Raj Singh, Sukhdev.
(They) taught the Tension of heroism to everyone
and then went to the execution ground.
Now the innocent are suffering in Jail
The award of patriotism is gallows
If you have true love, O ye Indian,
Strike at slavery, pull out its very root.
[Home Poll. F. No. 13/IV A & KW. 1932]
Piyara Bhagat Singh
(Extracts from a pamphlet entitled Piyara Bhagat Singh, compiled, printed and published by Mehr II in Hindi, Punjab Satyagraha Camp, outside Delhi Gate, Lahore, printed at the Sanatan Dharma Press, Hospital Road, Lahore).
ON COVER PAGE:
BHAGAT SINGH ZINDABAD! INQUILAB ZINDABAD! BOL BHARAT MATA KI JAI!
O pitcher don’t drown me midstream but help me meet (my lover)
Dashing Bhagat Singh sacrificed himself for the country
Dashing Bhagat Singh ascended the gallows laughing.
(He) passed his love in love for the country
(He) at last sacrificed his life for its sake
Without caring for death dashing Bhagat Singh
Made his own life miserable, in his love for the country.
They caused mothers to be invented
They got children flogged
May God cast his wrath upon them
The bukkers did not show mercy.
The tyrants seized in India.
Slaughtered with the blunt side of the kives
Go and ask the widows at
What happened at Peshawar
Ever since the time they have taken India
They have sucked our blood like lucks.
The tyrants got Bhagat’s daughters
This stranger (the poet) says with folded hands
Brothers you should burn the foreign goods.
[Home Poll. F. No. 13/IV A. 1932]
(Statement I specimens of objectionable books, articles etc. published in 1931, when no ordinance was in force in respect of which prosecutions were instituted or warnings issued.
Put before the Legislative Assembly in defence of Criminal Law Amendment Act 1932 incorporating all the powers of Special Powers Ordinance and more, extra-ordinary, extra-judical powers verging on martial law.)
MADRAS: Extracts from a book, entitled “Sutindra Nadam” by K.B.S. Mani
(Bhagat Singh is) the lion that appeared on earth
to render service to Mother Bharata.
(He is) the lion that avenged the wrong
done to the lion of the Punjab.
(He is) the lion that said that victory
must be achieved by means of war
(He is) the lion that damned the Legislative Assembly
as a pretence indulged in broad day-light.
(He is) the lion that threw a bomb (deemed to be)
an act of conspiracy.
(He is) the lion that stood
boldly on the gallows.
(He is) the lion that departed
from the world with (his) two comrades.
(He is) the lion of India that relieved
the misery of the poor.
(He is) the lion that helped
get rid of timidity.
Lutfi-Shahadat ya Teen Shaheed
(Extracts from a pahmphet in modern Urdu entitled ‘Lutfi-Shahadat ya teen Shaheed’, compiled by Bharat Bhushan alias Aflatoon, printed by Bharat Bhushan at the Sanatan Dharma Steam Press, Hospital Road, Lahore.)
Inquilab Zindabad! Bande Mataram!
Indian Napoleon Sardar Bhagat Singh,
If for the sake of the country anyone applies
The sword to your throat
Bow your neck laughing after
Uttering: Bande Mataram!
O Britain what has thou gained
By dismembering the dead body.
They should have allowed some visible
Relic of my Sardar to remain.
O Youngman! Why are you waiting
For the Kindness of the Sarkar
A non-violent cry for redress
Never gets a hearing.
You should also bring your courage
And bravery into play
You have so far ruined
Your lives in cowardliness
What hast thou gained
By dismembering the dead body, Inquilab!
O Tyrant! We shall make you moment a donkey
After blackening your face, Inquilab!
O firanghi! We will give you the taste
Of the tyranny you practice, Inquilab!
What right have they to the country
We state the truth.
Little men like Aflatoon will
Sacrifice their lives for the country, Inquilab!
O Indians rally under the banner
Of Inquilab, Inquilab!
You are how to go into jails, laughing, Inquilab
Remember whoever will practice tyranny
The sighs of the poor will blow him off.
Remember, this citadel of sand will
One day tumble down!
[Home Pol. F. No. 13/IV. A 1932]
Dialogue between Bhagat Singh and Dutt
(From the Gurumukhi pamphlet entitled “Virlap”, a verse on the execution of Bhagat Singh)
Dutt: how are you doing Bhagat Singh?Bhagat Singh: My blood increased by a seer
When I heard of my impending execution.
Dutt: O Brother, your separation has wounded my heart
Bhagat Singh: O beloved Dutt! Don’t weep
I shall send for you soon.
Dutt: O Bhagat Singh! I will die weeping, for you soon.
Bhagat Singh: O my dear Dutt! Accept my last saluation!
[Home Poll. No. 13/IV A & KW 1932]
(Extract from a pamphlet in Hindi entitled ‘Qaumi Shahid’ (National Martyrs) written by Bismal, printed by Ram Prasad of Kandan Printing Press, Lahore and published by Ram Prasad, publisher and bookseller)
(From statement I specimen of objectionable articles, books, etc. published in 1931 when no Ordinance was in force in respect of which prosecutions were instituted or warnings of prosecution issued—plea for amending the criminal law and for Criminal Law Amendment Act 1931, giving extraordinary powers to the government.)
Sardar Bhagat Singh
Was a courageous man.
If you ask me the truth
(he) was the lion of India.
O! The Tyrants did not
O! They executed
The gem of India.
By bringing the false
Charge of murder
They executed them.
And finished with them.
Ah! The gems of India
Were separated from us.
(Their) dead bodies
were thrown into lorries
On reaching the Sutlej bank
Pits were dug in the ground,
And the dead bodies
Were taken down the lorries.
(The dead bodies)
were first cut into pieces
and were next
placed in the pit.
The British troops
Stood around the pit,
Considering (the matter) a play,
The tyrants poured petrol
And kerosene oil
On (the dead bodies).
Ah! The saws are
Sawing our hearts.
The tyrants threw
The half-burnt (bodies)
Into the river
(and Thus proved that)
Their days are numbered.
They did not let
The dead bodies
Be burnt into ashes.
May the martyrs go
O! May the House
Of the enemies
Who put them
(Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru)
to great trouble,
Soon take another birth,
Come and teach them
A good lesson,
For the oppression
They are practicising,
(We) are anxiously waiting
[Home Poll. F. No. 34/IV A & KW (Printed)]
Dialogue between Mother India and Bhagat Singh
When my ‘Moon’ disappears, darkness
Will spread all over the world, O people!
O Mother! This ‘Moon’ of yours
Will illumine the whole world.
We will swing on the gallows. As people do
in swings during the rainy season.
O Son! Your sacrifice will cut
Asunder my bonds.
O Mother! Let me sleep in peace.
Don’t keep me awake now.
O Son! Your execution will break
the chains of India.
I will be reborn over and over again
for the liberation of India
O people, I bred and brought up the lion but
Irwin put him in a cage.
O Mother! When your lion wars
The whole of England will shake.
Let one lion die, lakhs of lions
Will take birth in his place.
Earth and sky shook when Bhagat Singh
Mounted the gallow.
He took Sukhdev and Rajguru with him and began
The end to the sufferings of Mother India.
(From the Gurumukhi pamphlet “Virlap” of verses on the execution of Bhagat Singh)
[Home Pol. F. No. 13/IV A & KW 1932]