Bhagat Singh and Bhagwati Charan Vohra on Terrorism

Let us read the young revolutionary in his own words,not mediated through ‘anti-national’ historians like Bipan Chandra. Does he regard some of the actions that he along with his co-revolutionries was planning and executing as acts of Terror or not? Terrorism, according to him is an essential stage of revolutionary struggle. Let us go to Bhagat Singh directly:


THE REVOLUTIONARIES already see the advent of the revolution in the restlessnessof youth, in its desire to break free from the mental bondage and religious superstitionsthat hold them. As the youth will get more and more saturated with the psychology of revolution, it will come to have a clearer realization of national bondage and a growing,intense, unquenchable thirst for freedom. It will grow, this feeling of bondage, thisinsatiable desire for freedom, till, in their righteous anger, the infuriated youth will beginto kill the oppressors. Thus has terrorism been born in the country. It is a phase, a necessary, an inevitable phase of the revolution. Terrorism is not the complete revolution and the revolution is not complete without terrorism. This thesis can be supported by an analysis of any and every revolution in history. Terrorism instills fear in the hearts of the oppressors, it brings hopes of revenge and redemption to theoppressed masses, it gives courage and self-confidence to the wavering, it shatters the spell of the superiority of the ruling class and raises the status of the subject race in theeyes of the world, because it is the most convincing proof of a nation’s hunger for freedom. Here in India, as in other countries in the past, terrorism will develop into the revolution and the revolution into independence, social, political and economic.


This portion has been taken from his famous essay  The Philosophy of The Bomb which was originally wtiten by Bhagwati Charan Vohra and given final shape by Bhagat Singh while he was in Jail. It was a response to Gandhi who had criticised the violent methods adpoted by the revolutionaries in his essay The Cult  Of The Bomb. It was distributed nation wide on 26 january, 1930 by The Hindustan Republican Socialist Association. It was wriiten as the menifesto of the organisation. Its Hindi version can be seen on page 241 of भगत सिंह के सम्पूर्ण दस्तावेज edited by Chaman Lal and published by Adhar Prakashan in 2004.



4 thoughts on “Bhagat Singh and Bhagwati Charan Vohra on Terrorism”

  1. Remember reading a series in the Illustrated Weekly of India on people who chose to fight British colonialism with weapons. The authors did not use the word “terrorist ” as if it had pejorative connotations but as a simple description of their method. I distinctively remember one of the authors was distinguished Urdu novelist Qurratulain Hyder.

  2. Just ‘terrorism’ is a must to counter the oppressors… Oppressors use ‘terrorism’ to suppress the fundemental rights… The difference must be carefully demarcated!!

  3. The thesis propounded in the above excerpts is trans-contextual.It is an attempt to apply it to all revolutions.But branding Bhagat Singh on that basis will be wrong.More so the quote above is in response to the cult of bomb written by Gandhi.So the philosophy of bomb is definitely contextual as the author has enlightened us.The controversy is totally unwarranted. These heroes must not be seen by isolating from the mission of their lives.

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