'It is necessary for every person who stands for progress to criticise every tenet of old beliefs,' wrote the 23-years-old revolutionary.
Bhagat Singh (born September 1907) was convicted and subsequently hanged on March 23, 1931 for his participation in the John Saunders murder case. On his death anniversary, we revisit the essay he is supposed to have written between October 5-6, 1930, in response to a prison inmate who tried to convince him of the existence of God, and upon failing, berated him, "You are giddy with fame and have developed an ego that is standing like a black curtain between you and God." Bhagat Singh was 23 years old.
It is a matter of debate whether my lack of belief in the existence of an omnipresent, omniscient God is due to my arrogant pride and vanity. It never occurred to me that sometime in the future I would be involved in polemics of this kind. As a result of some discussions with my friends, (if my claim to friendship is not uncalled for) I have realised that after having known me for a little time only, some of them have reached a kind of hasty conclusion about me that my atheism is my foolishness and that it is the outcome of my vanity. Even then it is a serious problem. I do not boast of being above these human follies. I am, after all, a human being and nothing more. And no one can claim to be more than that.