Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why I am an Atheist - 2 -Bhagat Singh

I was an atheist even when I was an unknown figure. At least a college student cannot cherish any sort of exaggerated notion of himself that may lead him to atheism. It is true that I was a favourite with somecollege teachers, but others did not like me. I was never a hardworking or studious boy. I never got an opportunity to be proud. I was very careful inmy behaviour and somewhat pessimistic about my future career. I was not completely atheistic in my beliefs. I was brought up under the care and protection of my father. He was a staunch Arya Samaji. An Arya Samaji can be anything but never an atheist. After my elementary education, I was sent to D. A. V College, Lahore. I lived in the boarding house for one year. Besides prayers early in the morning and at dusk time, I sat for hours and chanted religious Mantras. At that time, I was a staunch believer. Then I lived with my father. He was a tolerant man in his religious views. It is due tohis teachings that I devoted my life for the cause of liberating my country. But he was not anatheist. His God was an all-pervading Entity. He advised me to offer my prayers every day. In this way I was brought up. In the Non-cooperation days, I got admission to the National College. During my stay in this college, I began thinking over all thereligious polemics such that I grew sceptical aboutthe existence of God. In spite of this fact I can say that my belief in God was firm and strong. I grew a beard and ‘Kais’ (long headof hair as a Sikh religious custom). In spite of this I could not convince myself of the efficacy of Sikh religion or any religion at all, for that matter . But I had an unswerving, unwavering belief in God.
Then I joined the Revolutionary Party. The first leader I met had not the courage to openly declare himself an atheist. He was unable to reach any conclusion on this point. Whenever I asked him about the existence ofGod, he gave me this reply:“You may believe in him when you feel like it.” The second leader with whom I came in contact was a firm believer. I should mention his name. It was our respected Comrade Sachindara Nath Sanyal. Hewas sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with Karachi conspiracy case. Right fromthe first page of his only book, ‘Bandi Jivan’ (Incarnated Life) he sings praises to the Glory of God.See the last page of the second part of this book and you find praises showered upon God in the way of a mystic. It is a clear reflection of his thoughts.
According to the prosecution, the ‘Revolutionary Leaflet’ which was distributed throughout India was the outcome of Sachindara Nath Sanyal’s intellectual labour. So often it happensthat in revolutionary activities a leader expresses his own ideas which may be very dear tohim, but in spite of having differences, the other workers have to acquiesce in them.
In that leaflet, one full paragraph was devoted to the praises of God and His doings which we, human beings, cannot understand.This is sheer mysticism. What I want to point out is that the idea of denying the existence of God did not even occur to the Revolutionary Party. The famous Kakory martyrs, allfour of them, passed their last day in prayers. Ram Parshad Bismal was a staunch Arya Samaji. In spite of his vast studies in Socialism and Communism,Rajan Lahiri could not suppress his desire to recite hymns from Upanishads and Gita. Therewas but only one person among them who did not indulge in such activities. He used to say, “Religion isthe outcome of human weakness or the limitationof human knowledge.” He is also in prison for life. Buthe also never dared to deny the existence of God.
Till that time I was only a romantic revolutionary, just a follower of our leaders. Then came the time to shoulder the whole responsibility. For some time, a strong opposition put the very existence of the party into danger. Many leaders as well as many enthusiastic comrades began to upholdthe party to ridicule. They jeered at us.

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