Punjab Research Group

Bhagat Singh as ‘Satyagrahi’: The Limits to Non-violence in Late Colonial India by Neeti Nair

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on April 15, 2009

Bhagat Singh as ‘Satyagrahi’: The Limits to Non-violence in Late Colonial India by NEETI NAIR, University of Virginia, Email: nn2v@virginia.edu

 

Abstract

Among anti-colonial nationalists, Bhagat Singh and M.K. Gandhi are seen to exemplify absolutely contrasting strategies of resistance. Bhagat Singh is regarded as a violent revolutionary whereas Gandhi is the embodiment of non-violence. This paper argues that Bhagat Singh and his comrades became national heroes not after their murder of a police inspector in Lahore or after throwing bombs in the Legislative Assembly in New Delhi but during their practice of hunger strikes and non-violent civil disobedience within the walls of Lahore’s prisons in 1929–30. In fact there was plenty in common in the strategies of resistance employed by both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh. By labelling these revolutionaries ‘murderers’ and ‘terrorists’, the British sought to dismiss their non-violent demands for rights as ‘political prisoners’. The same labels were adopted by Gandhi and his followers. However, the quality of anti-colonial nationalism represented by Bhagat Singh was central to the resolution of many of the divisions that racked pre-partition Punjab.

 

Published in Modern Asian Studies 43, 3 (2009) pp. 649–681. 2008 Cambridge University Press. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=ASS

Advertisements

Comments Off on Bhagat Singh as ‘Satyagrahi’: The Limits to Non-violence in Late Colonial India by Neeti Nair

%d bloggers like this: