Renowned as a revolutionary or Pioneer of Indian Freedom Struggle, Bhagat Singh held a lesser-known role as a journalist, contributing articles in Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, and English. He embarked on his journalism journey as a reporter for the Hindi daily Pratap under the editorship of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. Additionally, he edited the Punjabi magazine Kirti, a platform for revolutionaries’ voices. It drew government action due to its influential article on figures like Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaq Ullah Khan.
Though not the first, Bhagat Singh was part of a lineage of journalists who made profound sacrifices for India’s cause. Maulvi Mohammad Baqir, the pioneering journalist, initiated Delhi Urdu Akhbar in 1837, aligning it with the national struggle during the 1857 uprising. He disseminated messages, guidance for revolutionaries, and morale-boosting articles, prompting Major Hudson’s summary execution in 1857, setting a precedent for Indian journalists’ sacrifices.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s editorial ventures, including Maratha and Kesari, spurred revolutionary sentiments. Aurobindo Ghosh and Barindra Ghosh, through journalism, propagated militant nationalism. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started his career with a nationalist journal at 16, later founding Al-Hilal in 1912, an influential anti-colonial paper that led to his penal internment. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi’s Pratap spotlighted revolutionary causes, Hindu-Muslim unity, and Indian suffering under British rule, while Hasrat Mohani’s slogan “Inquilab Zindabad” resulted in his imprisonment.
Through editing magazines, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Madan Mohan Malviya, and even Mahatma Gandhi ignited political careers in journalism. The censorships of World War II concealed Azad Hind Fauj and Subhas Chandra Bose’s efforts. Imdad Sabri, collaborating with Netaji since the 1930s, defied censorship to reveal the truth through his articles, catalyzing the Royal Naval Mutiny and national protests for Azad Hind Fauj’s cause.
In the annals of India’s struggle for freedom, these journalists emerged as catalysts, combining the power of the written word with unwavering patriotism, shaping history with their pens, and paying the ultimate price for a liberated nation.
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