One of the perils of social media is the speed at which misinformation spreads with Whatsapp and Facebook being the prime messengers.
So its Valentine's Day with the usual lovey-dovey mesaages floating in the ether. However, this is also the time for "patriotic activists" to start taking potshots at the westernization and the degradation of the Indian morals. So they feel the need to counter it. Even these zealots are of different kinds.
- The conspiracy theorists - They blame the big western corporations who have invaded the Indian market and are making big profits of the gullible Indian masses. Also in the process causing the moral degradation of the Indians.
- The lunatics - Who resort to violence to stop the celebrations.
- And then the worst lot. Who try to appeal to emotions with misinformation. The kind which circulates fake messages e.g. Bhagat Singh was martyred on 14th February for his country and today's generation celebrates the day as Valentine's Day!!! etc, etc.
Bhagat Singh was a young man who captivated an entire nation with his ideas and acts for liberating our nation. A man who sought freedom and equal rights for all. A man whose martyrdom is celebrated till date. And he was just 23 when he was hanged.
Therefore it makes one filled with anger, when I see lunatics tarnish his martyrdom by spreading misinformation. And these lunatics keep evolving. Till last year they said that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on 14th February. When this was found out, a new message was being spread that they were sentenced on 14th February. And the gullible masses lap it up in a rush of patriotism and become the agreeable messengers of misinformation, without once bothering to do a fact check. And this when everyone has access to the internet.
So here is the timeline to Bhagat Singh's martyrdom (historically verified)
- 30.10.1928 - Lala Lajpat Rai is injured in a lathi charge by the police, personally led by the police superintendent James Scott, during a protest march against the Simon Commission.
- 17.11.1928 - Lala Lajpat Rai dies due to a heart attack aggravated by the injuries suffered in the lathi charge.
- 17.12.1928 - Bhagat Singh and his associates kill the assistant superintendent of police John Saunders mistaking his for Scott. The act which made Bhagat Singh a popular figure.
- 8.4.1929 - Bhagat Singh & Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the Assembly chamber in Lahore. They were then arrested while spreading leaflets and chanting Inquilab zindabad.
- 15.4.1929 - Lahore bomb factory discovered and the entire group charged with killing Saunders
- 12.6.1929 - Bhagat Singh & Batukeshwar Dutt are sentenced to life imprisonment for throing bombs in the Assembly.
- 10.7.1929 - The Saunders murder trial begins.
- 20.9.1930 - Trial ends
- 7.10.1930 - Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru are sentenced to death.
- 14.2.1931 - Madan Mohan Malviya files a mercy petition with the Viceroy. [The only 14th February connect]
- 19.3.1931 - The mercy petition is rejected.
- 23.3.1931 - Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru achieve martyrdom.
So these are the key dates, with only one reference to the 14th February date and that had nothing to with the trial or the actual execution. So that begs the questions.
- Why spread falsehoods which can be found out with a simple internet search?
- And why are people so gullible to believe everything that's posted on the interwebs?
- And why are people in such a hurry to spread interesting "alternative facts" without any verification?
I rest my case.
P.S. Did learn some more things about this great person while doing my "research" for this post. Whether you agree to his methods, you have to admire the spirit of the young man.