‘By Revolution we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice must change. Producers or labourers, in spite of being the most necessary element of society, are robbed by their exploiters of their labour and deprived of their elementary rights. The peasant who grows corn for all, starves with his family; the weaver who supplies the world market with textile fabrics, has not enough to cover his own and his children’s bodies; masons, smiths and carpenters who raise magnificent palaces, live like pariahs in the slums. The capitalists and exploiters, the parasites of society, squander millions on their whims.’
-Bhagat Singh in 1929
In March 1928, British government introduced Public safety bill and trade disputes act in the Legislative assembly of Colonial India. Public safety bill gave unprecedented powers to the police for arresting any person for upto two years without any charges if he or she was deemed a danger to the society. (The public safety act continued to exist in various parts of India like Jammu and Kashmir even after independence.)
Trade disputes bill, which was introduced earlier in England as a response to a massive workers strike that took place in 1926, was an anti-labour reform which took away workers right to strike. Both the bills were discussed heatedly in the assembly and although public safety bill was defeated in the assembly by a vote of 62 to 61, the British authorities tried to pass the trade disputes act as an ordinance (Another pet tool of central government today) . Before the ordinance could be announced, Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt dropped two harmless bombs in the assembly. The bombs were dropped in the center of the room which was empty and idea of the bombs was not to kill anyone but “to make the deaf hear”. Apart from six persons suffering minor injuries, no one was seriously hurt. Instead of running away in the commotion that followed, the two young revolutionaries stood their ground and rained down pamphlets denouncing the anti-people reforms . The pamphlet, which is called the red pamphlet has lost none of it’s relevance in the age of neo-liberal policies and emergence of facism. In the memory of Bhagat Singh and his fellow comrades, we reproduce the pamhplet below.
THE HINDUSTAN SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ARMY (NOTICE)
It takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear, with these immortal words uttered on a similar occasion by Valiant, a French anarchist martyr, do we strongly justify this action of ours.
Without repeating the humiliating history of the past ten years of the working of the reforms (***** Reforms) and without mentioning the insults hurled at the Indian nation through this House-the so-called Indian Parliament-we want to point out that, while the people expecting some more crumbs of reforms from the **** Commission, and are ever quarreling over the distribution of the expected bones, the Government is thrusting upon us new repressive measures like the ***** bill and the **** bill , while reserving the Press Sedition Bill for the next session. The indiscriminate arrests of labour leaders working in the open field clearly indicate whither the wind blows.
In these extremely provocative circumstances, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, in all seriousness, realizing their full responsibility, had decided and ordered its army to do this particular action, so that a stop be put to this humiliating farce and to let the **** bureaucratic exploiters do what they wish, but they must be made to come before the public eve in their naked form.
Let the representatives of the people return to their constituencies and prepare the masses for the coming revolution, and let the Government know that while protesting against the **** Bills and the callous murder of ****, on behalf of the helpless Indian masses, we want to emphasize the lesson often repeated by history, that it is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived, Bourbons and Czars fell, while the revolution marched ahead triumphantly.
We are sorry to admit that we who attach so great a sanctity to human life, who dream of a glorious future, when man will be enjoying perfect peace and full liberty, have been forced to shed human blood. But the sacrifice of individuals at the altar of the ‘Great Revolution’ that will bring freedom to all, rendering the exploitation of man by man impossible, is inevitable.
“Long Live the Revolution.” [B]