Continuation to Why am I an Atheist – Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) – Part 1
He even went on to discuss the struggles of those whose beliefs are unconventional such as his,
“You go and oppose the prevailing faith, you go and criticize a hero, a great man, who is generally believed to be above criticism because he is thought to be infallible, the strength of your argument shall force the multitude to decry you as vainglorious. This is due to the mental stagnation, Criticism and independent thinking are the two indispensable qualities of a revolutionary. Because Mahatamaji (Mahatma Gandhi) is great, therefore none should criticize him. Because he has risen above, therefore everything he says-may be in the field of Politics or Religion, Economics or Ethics-is right. Whether you are convinced or not you must say, “Yes, that’s true”. This mentality does not lead towards progress. It is rather too obviously, reactionary”.
Thus, he answered the first question stating that vanity was not the reason of his belief in atheism. He credited it to the power of reasoning, mindful and rational reasoning. He had once heard from a fellow comrade “Philosophy is the outcome of human weakness”. And it was his belief that philosophy merely acted as a substitute for direct proofs. According to him the world was divided in to various beliefs, be it Oriental or Occidental, be it various beliefs of various religions or various beliefs within, one religion, such baseless bifurcations to suit one’s convenience could be lethal. He expresses his sorrow over the fact that instead of using the ancient experiments and expressions as tools to create idealistic weapons against the struggles of the present and future, we have chosen to lethargically cling to the orthodox beliefs of the past. According to him the one standing for success needs to be an unbiased critic of the past, enabling him to question and reason whatever happened, why it happened and what benefits it had.
He brazenly questions the believers, the theists basic questions, like, if there is a god, why did he create the world, which is filled with cruelty, negativity and filth. He reasons that it couldn’t be out of pleasure for there are many tyrants who have killed and massacred, for their own pleasure and it obviously couldn’t be law bound for if God itself was law bound, it was not omnipotent.
He points to the sufferings of the poor and the down trodden suffering at the hands of the mighty every day, he questions where is the god, if he really did create the world for pleasure what would be the difference between him and a tyrant.
“I ask why your omnipotent God, does not stop every man when he is committing any sin or offence? He can do it quite easily. Why did he not kill war lords or kill the fury of war in them and thus avoid the catastrophe hurled down on the head of humanity by the Great War? Why does he not just produce a certain sentiment in the mind of the British people to liberate India? Why does he not infuse the altruistic enthusiasm in the hearts of all capitalists to forgo their rights of personal possessions of means of production and thus redeem the whole laboring community – nay the whole human society from the bondage of Capitalism. You want to reason out the practicability of socialist theory, I leave it for your almighty to enforce it”.
He also explains how science and nature have run their course and they deserve their due more than God.
In the end he believes God to be a manifestation of human imagination, emanating from the lack of strength to face the present circumstances and situations all by himself/herself. He concludes by narrating one small incident.
“One friend asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “During your last days you will begin to believe”. I said, No, dear Sir, it shall not be. I will think that to be an act of degradation and demoralization on my part. For selfish motives I am not going to pray. Readers and friends, “Is this vanity”? If it is, I stand for it.”
It is easy to speak about the stated fact to inspire and motivate, but it takes more effort to get people to reason and question their surroundings, especially by being brazenly and unapologetically honest about your own views, beliefs and opinions, and this is what this essay promises to do.
In the end, one may or may not resonate and find relevance with Bhagat Singh’s thoughts and beliefs but one thing that cannot be ignored is the fact that his written piece forces you to reflect on the truth, the present situation, and foremostly question, enquire, reason and eventually test the validity of our own beliefs and mindset.