Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Last Petition - II

It may assume different shapes at different times. It may become now open, now hidden, now purely agitational, now fierce life and death struggle. The choice of the course, whether bloody or comparatively peaceful, which it should adopt rests with you. Choose whichever you like. But that war shall be incessantly waged without taking into consideration the petty (illegible) and the meaningless ethical ideologies. It shall be waged ever with new vigour, greater audacity and unflinching determination till the Socialist Republic is established and the present social order is completely replaced by a new social order, based on social prosperity and thus every sort of exploitation is put an end to and the humanity is ushered into the era of genuine and permanent peace. In the very near future the final battle shall be fought and final settlement arrived at.
The days of capitalist and imperialist exploitation are numbered. The war neither began with us nor is it going to end with our lives. It is the inevitable consequence of the historic events and the existing environments. Our humble sacrifices shall be only a link in the chain that has very accurately been beautified by the unparalleled sacrifice of Mr.Das and most tragic but noblest sacrifice of Comrade Bhagawati Charan and the glorious death of our dear warrior Azad.
As to the question of our fates, please allow us to say that when you have decided to put us to death, you will certainly do it. You have got the power in your hands and the power is the greatest justification in this world. We know that the maxim "Might is right" serves as your guiding motto. The whole of our trial was just a proof of that. We wanted to point out that according to the verdict of your court we had waged war and were therefore war prisoners. And we claim to be treated as such, i.e., we claim to be shot dead instead of to be hanged. It rests with you to prove that you really meant what your court has said. We request and hope that you will very kindly order the military department to send its detachment to perform our execution.
Yours,
BHAGAT SINGH

Last Petition - I

To:
The Punjab Governor
Sir,
With due respect we beg to bring to your kind notice the following:
That we were sentenced to death on 7th October 1930 by a British Court, L.C.C Tribunal, constituted under the Sp. Lahore Conspiracy Case Ordinance, promulgated by the H.E. The Viceroy, the Head of the British Government of India, and that the main charge against us was that of having waged war against H.M. King George, the King of England.
The above-mentioned finding of the Court pre-supposed two things:
Firstly, that there exists a state of war between the British Nation and the Indian Nation and, secondly, that we had actually participated in that war and were therefore war prisoners.
The second pre-supposition seems to be a little bit flattering, but nevertheless it is too tempting to resist the desire of acquiescing in it.
As regards the first, we are constrained to go into some detail. Apparently there seems to be no such war as the phrase indicates. Nevertheless, please allow us to accept the validity of the pre-supposition taking it at its face value. But in order to be correctly understood we must explain it further. Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites. They may be purely British Capitalist or mixed British and Indian or even purely Indian. They may be carrying on their insidious exploitation through mixed or even on purely Indian bureaucratic apparatus. All these things make no difference. No matter, if your Government tries and succeeds in winning over the leaders of the upper strata of the Indian Society through petty concessions and compromises and thereby cause a temporary demoralization in the main body of the forces. No matter, if once again the vanguard of the Indian movement, the Revolutionary Party, finds itself deserted in the thick of the war. No matter if the leaders to whom personally we are much in debted for the sympathy and feelings they expressed for us, but nevertheless we cannot overlook the fact that they did become so callous as to ignore and not to make a mention in the peace negotiation of even the homeless, friendless and penniless of female workers who are alleged to be belonging to the vanguard and whom the leaders consider to be enemies of their utopian non-violent cult which has already become a thing of the past; the heroines who had ungrudgingly sacrificed or offered for sacrifice their husbands, brothers, and all that were nearest and dearest to them, including themselves, whom your government has declared to be outlaws. No matter, it your agents stoop so low as to fabricate baseless calumnies against their spotless characters to damage their and their party's reputation. The war shall continue.
It may assume different shapes at different times. No matter if the leaders to whom personally we are much indebted for the sympathy and feelings they expressed for us, but nevertheless we cannot overlook the fact that they did become so callous as to ignore and not to make a mention in the peace negotiation of even the homeless, friendless and penniless of female workers who are alleged to be belonging to the vanguard and whom the leaders consider to be enemies of their utopian non-violent cult which has already become a thing of the past; the heroines who had ungrudgingly sacrificed or offered for sacrifice their husbands, brothers, and all that were nearest and dearest to them, including themselves, whom your government has declared to be outlaws. No matter, it your agents stoop so low as to fabricate baseless calumnies against their spotless characters to damage their and their party's reputation. The war shall continue.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Socialism and Religion - 2 -E. Belfort Bax

In this state of mind they are confronted by a new Asiatic sect. They become initiated. At once the scene changes. This lifeis indeed pronounced hopelessly worthless. There is no citizenship here, no happiness for the individual, not even the apathy of the “wise man.” But as this life crumbles into nothingness, there rises the fair vision of the “city of God,” joys beyond imagination, not the “apathy” of “wisdom,” but the “peace” of the blest. Hic Rhodus hic salta! Religion is henceforth separated from life, the religious sphere of another world is set over against the irreligious sphere of this world. Earth is drainedof its ideal to feed Heaven. Society established on this basis involves the antagonisms of temporal and spiritual powers, of “world” and church, of religious and profane, &c.,&c. What is said applies not only to Christianity, but more or less to all the so-called ethical or universal religions, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Mohommedanism, &c.. They are the expression of the decay of the old life, and hence they one and allcentre in the individual and in another world, theirconcern with this world being purely incidental.
We daily see around usthe result of 1,600 years of“other-worldliness” on character and conduct. Men and women upon whom the mere greed for gain palls, are driven to the one ideal resource their education has given them, or they can comprehend, the hope of aglorified immortality for themselves. Those only who know from bitter experience the smile of honest contempt with which such people greet the idea of the sacrifice of personal or class privileges, or anything, else for a social object, can appreciate the depth to which the canker has eaten into their souls. Yet it would be unjust to say that these people are bad. They are religious and anti-social just as there aremany others irreligious and anti-social.
In what sense Socialism is not religious will be now clear. It utterlydespises the “other world”with all its stage properties – that is, the present objects of religion. In what sense it is not irreligious will be also I think tolerably clear. It brings back religion from heaven to earth, which as we have sought to show was its original sphere. It looks beyond the present moment or the present individual life indeed, though not to another world, but to another and higher social life in this world. It is in the hope andthe struggle for this highersocial life, ever-widening, ever-intensifying, whose ultimate possibilities are beyond the poorer of language to express or thought to conceive, that the Socialist finds his ideal,his religion. He sees in the reconstruction of society inthe interest of all the rehabilitation, in a higher form and without its limitations, of the old communal life – the proximate end of all present endeavour. We take up the thread of Aryan tradition, but not where it was dropped. Thestate or city of the ancient world was one-sided, its freedom was political merely, based on the slavery of the many; that of the future will be democratic and social. It was exclusive, the union within implied disunion without; the life of the future will be international, cosmopolitan in its scope. Finally the devotion of its members was connected with the existent supernatural belief and involved a cultus ; the devotion of the member ofthe socialised community, like the devotion of all true Socialists today, will be based on science and involve no cultus . In this last point the religion of the Socialist differs from the Positivist. The Positivist seeks to retain the forms after the beliefs of which they are the expression have lost all meaning to him. The Socialist whose social creed is his only religion, requires no travesty of Christian rites to aid him inkeeping his ideal before him.
In Socialism the current antagonisms are abolished, the separation between politics and religion has ceased to be, since their object-matter isthe same. The highest feelings of devotion to the Ideal are not conceived as different in kind, much lessas concerned with a different sphere; to the commoner human emotions, but merely as a diverse aspect of the same fact. The stimulus of personal interest no longerable to poison at its sourceall beauty all affection, all heroism, in short all that ishighest in us; the sphere ofgovernment merged in that of industrial direction;the limit of the purely industrial itself ever receding as the applied powers of Nature lessen the amount of human drudgery required; Art andthe pursuit of beauty and of truth ever covering the ground left free by the “necessary work of the world” – such is the goal lying immediately before us, such the unity of human interest and of human life which Socialismwould evolve out of the clashing antagonisms, the anarchical individualism, religious and irreligious, exhibited in the rotting world of to-day – and what current religion can offer a higher ideal or a nobler incentive than this essentially human one.
-E. BELFORT BAX