Book Review of
Inquilab: Bhagat Singh on Religion & Revolution by S Irfan Habib
‘Inquilab’ has a very simple meaning, yet the power it wields is immense: Revolution, or in a political term Uprising
The impact this simple word ‘Inquilab’, had on millions of people during our nation’s freedom struggle was immeasurable and humongous.
This book holds the power to change your whole thought process, just like the word ‘Inquilab’ has the power to topple any government or turn the world upside down
Opening Lines: Bhagat Singh was a voracious reader and also a prolific writer on most of the political, social and international matters of his time.
Page Counts: 220 pages
Publisher: SAGE publications
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
When I received this book for reviewing purpose, I hadn’t thought it to be so revolutionary.
The book ‘Inquilab’ is a collection of essays, newspaper, articles, letters, and diary entries written by Bhagat Singh and translated and incorporated by Irfan Habib. The book begins with an article ‘Universal Brotherhood’ which is one of the earliest writings of Bhagat Singh and was published in Calcutta weekly ‘Matawala’. This article shows how matured and Revolutionary his thought process was at that age of 17.
I have been influenced by Bhagat Singh’s ideology since I was very young, and as I grew older I started researching him around, read a book or two. And the more I read, the more I got inspired by his ideologies, his principles and his rational outlook towards freedom struggle.
This book reflects his ideology in a true sense!
Every article and essay in this book speaks of his life principles, and how even his death revolutionized millions of young as well as old minds.
In ‘Inquilab’, Bhagat Singh gives a glimpse to his reader in working of his scholarly bred mind and moreover shows them what inspired him and what carved his thought process.
Bhagat Singh was a revolutionary to the core and was greatly influenced by Marx and Engels and also by the anarchists. He had turned an atheist very early in life, although at one stage he did adhere to principles of the Arya Samaj. He could have pleaded for clemency, but he chose to die to show it to the rulers that they could eliminate revolutionaries but they could not eliminate ideas. The idea of India’s freedom was very dear to the young and no amount of force or aggression by the foreign rulers could stop them from achieving their goal. Inspired by revolutionary poets such as Ram Prasad Bismil, Bhagat Singh chose his own path, which was not similar to the one pursued by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress.
Apart from being a freedom fighter, he was also a voracious reader and had read around 500 to 700 books in his short lifespan of just 24 years. He particularly preferred book with political and economic themes. Dickens, Upton Sinclair, Hall Cane, Victor Hugo, Gorky, Stepnik, Oscar Wilde and Leonard Andrew were among his favorites. Though he was mightily influenced by Russian literature.
The beginning of the book is slow but as the book progresses, it starts to grow on you, so I suggest you to plow on, and don’t stop.
Irfan is an eminent historian, and he has done a remarkable job of thorough research before putting the book together and moreover, the narrative of Irfan is quite engrossing. And it doesn’t lose its charm while translation in English as the majority of Bhagat Singh’s writing is in Hindi.
My Rating: 4. 5/5
So, that was our review of ‘Inquilab: Bhagat Singh on Religion & Revolution’ by S Irfan Habib. Hope you liked it! But if you didn’t, then do let us know why in the comments. We would love to work on the flaws.
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