Bhagat singh was a young Revolutionary Socialist born on 27 Sep 1907 in a Punjabi Jat Sikh family. His entire family was involved in revolutionary activities against British rule. Bhagat singh studied European revolutionary movements as a teenager. He turned out to be a prominent face in Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) which was earlier know as Hindustan Republican Association.
He assassinated Saunders in revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. He offered his arrest after he and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs and leaflets inside Assembly hall of Central Legislative. Those leaflets reads
“”It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived.””
Bhagat Singh along with Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case. Their sentence was ordered to be on 24th Mar 1931 hanging till death in Lahore Jail. Bhagat Singh’s trial has been described by the Supreme Court as “contrary to the fundamental doctrine of criminal jurisprudence” because there was no opportunity for the accused to defend themselves. The Special Tribunal which announced judgment on Bhagat singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev was introduced by the Viceroy but this Tribunal was never approved by the Central Assembly or The British Parliament. As the decision of Special tribunal could only be be appealed to the Privy Council located in Britain hence Judgement was passed Ex-Parte (i.e. decision passed by Judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present). Prannath Mehta, was a close friend of Bhagat Singh who visited him in the jail on 20 March, four days before his execution, with a draft letter for clemency, but he declined to sign it. The hanging was preponed by 11 hours and all three were hanged to death on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm in Lahore Jail.
It was muched talked that Gandhi had an opportunity to avert execution. Another theory cropped that Gandhi actively conspired to have them executed But Gandhi’s supporters argued to clarify that he did not have enough influence with the British to stop the execution. The executions were reported widely by the press, especially as they took place on the eve of the annual convention of the Congress party at Karachi. Youths demonstrated black flags to Gandhi and shouted “Down with Gandhi”.
Subhash Chandra Bose said that “Bhagat Singh has turned out be a symbol of new awakening among the youths.” Nehru acknowledged that Bhagat Singh’s popularity was leading to a new national awakening, “Bhagat Singh was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field, he was like a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere”. Four years after Singh’s hanging, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Sir Horace Williamson, wrote: “His photograph was on sale in every city and township and for a time rivaled in popularity even that of Mr. Gandhi himself”.