Extracts from "Why I am an Atheist" :Bhagat Singh

by - 7:46 PM

  Treasure hunt on thoughts begins when one is in solitude.  Difficult knots are untangled with the support of the silence. Many master pieces had their birth in such scenario. One such master piece which I read recently was the essay written by revolutionary Indian leader Bhagat Singh in 1930 in Lahore Central Jail. “Why I am an Atheist” is a reply given to a religious man, who said that Bhagat Singh became an Atheist because of his vanity. I wonder how I, being an Atheist and an admirer of Bhagat Singh as a revolutionary leader was clueless about such an essay all these days. Below I am copy pasting few extracts from the essay which had an impact on me as a reader.  If you wish to read the entire essay, can skip to the bottom to get the link to the complete text.

About Creation of God.....
My thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings

On Constructive thinking.....:The lines which I liked the most. This is what many of us do when it comes to criticisms on popular ideas and great leaders
"You go against popular feelings; you criticise a hero, a great man who is generally believed to be above criticism. What happens? No one will answer your arguments in a rational way; rather you will be considered vainglorious. Its reason is mental insipidity. Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking. As Mahatmaji is great, he is above criticism; as he has risen above, all that he says in the field of politics, religion, Ethics is right. You agree or not, it is binding upon you to take it as truth. This is not constructive thinking. We do not take a leap forward; we go many steps back."

Being Selfless.....: Many move out of their ideologies while facing fiasco. Crisis is just a hurdle to test your hold in your ideology. Most of the times the reason for falling out their ideology falls to be some selfish reason.
"One of my friends asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.”

Question to believers......:
"Open your eyes and see millions of people dying of hunger in slums and huts dirtier than the grim dungeons of prisons; just see the labourers patiently or say apathetically while the rich vampires suck their blood; bring to mind the wastage of human energy that will make a man with a little common sense shiver in horror. Just observe rich nations throwing their surplus produce into the sea instead of distributing it among the needy and deprived. There are palaces of kings built upon the foundations laid with human bones. Let them see all this and say “All is well in God’s Kingdom.” Why so? This is my question. You are silent."

Learning….: If your view on something is same as it was few years before then you haven't learned or updated anything new
"‘Study more and more’, said I to myself so that I might be able to face the arguments of my opponents. ‘Study’ to support your point of view with convincing arguments. And I began to study in a serious manner. My previous beliefs and convictions underwent a radical change. "

From a Romantic revolutionary…: Romanticism is the beginning even for great leaders.
"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 uphold the party to ridicule. They jeered at us. I had an apprehension that some day I will also consider it a futile and hopeless task. It was a turning point in my revolutionary career."

These extract were handpicked from Marxists.org  and the complete text of the essay originally written in Gurumukhi script and translated to English by Hasan can be read here: https://www.marxists.org/archive/bhagat-singh/1930/10/05.htm

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