If Shaheed Bhagat Singh is a "terrorist"
Great Britain is history's greatest "terrorist"
By Amba Charan Vashishth
A UK-based historian and Warwick University's professor David Hardiman dubbed the great Indian martyrs and freedom fighters — Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad — as "terrorists" while delivering the 24th IP Desai Memorial Lecture on 'Nonviolent Resistance In India during 1915-1947' organised by Centre for Social Studies on February 14 in Surat (Gujarat). He said, "Terrorist groups, who predate Mahatma Gandhi, were always there alongside Gandhi's non-violent movement." He added, "Some of these famous figures were Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, who were involved in organisations like Hindustan Republic Association (HRA) and Hindustan Republic Socialist Association (HRSA)," (These illustrious sons of India continue to be shown as "terrorists" in the records of the British Government.)
This remark infuriated the audience and one among them Major Unmesh Pandya, member of executive council of Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, stood up to protest saying: "The UK-based scholar used word terrorists seven to eight times for the revolutionaries. There is a unanimous understanding between the academicians of the entire world not to use the word terrorist for the people who had not killed innocent civilians. One can use words like extremist or revolutionary," Pandya added. He retorted, "A terrorist means who terrorises people. But freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh or Chandrashekhar Azad initiated armed movement against imperialism. If one considers any violent or armed movement as a terror activity, then under that definition British Raj or Queen Victoria's activities can also be defined as terrorism," he argued.
The protesting professor did have a point and logic on his side. When the British started sneaking clandestinely into the Indian territory then under Mughals and others, they were only destabilizing a government in power and position through illegal and terrorist techniques. They entered India in the garb of traders. The predecessor of the British crown was the East India Company which applied every tool of the game — treachery, deceit, allurement, threat — to terrorise people and the rulers into submitting to their whims and caprice.
In fact, first the rule of the East India Company and later, of the British Crown was an illegitimate one. They could, at the most, be termed as occupation forces, not a legal government. So fighting against an invader or an occupying force is not a crime but right and moral duty of every patriot.
What implies terrorism? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as t
Whoever wages war against the Government of India, or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war ´(Section 121); Whoever collects men, arms or ammunition or otherwise prepares to wage war with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India´Section 122); Whoever, by any act, or by any illegal omission, conceals the existence of a design to wage war against the Government of India, intending by such concealment to facilitate, or knowing it to be likely that such concealment will facilitate, the waging of such war (Section 123); Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India (Section 124A); and Whoever wages war against the Government of any Asiatic Power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war. In fact, these are the very crimes and acts of terror the British government and its earlier avtar, the East India Company indulged in to establish their hegemony over the then kingdoms in India. These are the very crimes the British committed to spread their wings of dominance by every fair or foul means — cheating, deceit, allurement, promises, terror and what not. And these exactly are the crimes the British prohibited by law to be committed by any Indian and provided for severest punishment.
The crime of "treason, sedition and waging war against the State" as enunciated in various sections of the IPC were actually committed and perpetrated by the British government. Therefore, by the yardstick set by the British themselves, they themselves are, perhaps, the greatest "terrorists" of all times in history.
These are exactly the techniques adopted by the present day terrorists be it the Maoists, Naxalites, Talibans, Indian Muhajideen, SIMI or by whatever name they may be known. It is by employing these dubious means that these ultras have come to command and expand their area of influence and establish their parallel administration, collecting taxes and punishing people for acts they brand as crimes by generating a sense of terror in the minds of the innocent people. ***