Bhagat Singh is among the highly respected Indian freedom fighters. He was among those that disagreed with the Mahatma, the latter being a Moderate and the former being a Radical. It is a sort of irony that I post this on the Mahatma’s birth anniversary. But today is when I get to sit down and do my bit of reviewing.
The reason I picked up this book was that I find myself agreeing with Singh on a set of ideas; humanism, especially. (At the same time, I do not disagree with the Mahatma on his ideas either—polarity is something I have not developed yet, despite the entire world being seemingly enticed by it. Of course, this is not about me.)
In this essay, Bhagat Singh writes about his views on theism, and tries to clear the fog around atheism, with a focus on the connection between atheism and “arrogant pride and vanity”. He argues his stand, and justifies it based on clear logic, which in itself is quite against the very basis of theism and religion.
The cover is rather simple; a picture of Bhagat Singh—with a liberal use of negative space—on the tricolour background. The title is clear. Nothing much to speak of the cover. A simple cover that will draw your attention.
I am unsure if it is bad tracking or a deliberate space before the punctuation. Bugged me a little.
The essay is a thirty-minute read. Overall, Singh sticks to the point, as he should for an essay. He talks about how he was raised a believer with his father being an Arya Samaji, his being in DAV where he used to devote time towards praying in the morning as well as the evening. His transition, he implies, was gradual and stretched to the end of 1926.
He starts with his claim that his atheism is not based on vanity or pride. He goes on to talk a little of his history, about his early life, education, and then, how the leaders of the Revolutionary Party and other thinkers influenced him. Slowly, he introduces the concept of rational thought, and proceeds to ask a few fundamental but profound questions to the believer.
Reading the entire essay would lead you to get a glimpse of what goes on inside the mind of an atheist. On why an atheist is an atheist.
The language is simple, the essay to the point (as it should be). There is no “rambling” of sorts. I enjoyed the flow.
The language in itself is a good point. The essay is concise, and hits the mark. The rational thought that he offers is a good point as well.
In a couple of places, he quotes others. Attributing the quotes to specific individuals would have helped us learn more. Of course, we have the Internet now, but still.
Overall, I liked the essay. At about fifteen rupees a pop, this is a no-brainer purchase, and I would encourage more people to read it.
Whom do I recommend this to
I recommend this to “romantic” freethinkers—a nice place to wet their feet.
I also want the so-called “Bhagat Singh Fans” to read this; I am willing to bet over half of them did not know that he was an atheist (some of them may switch sides afterwards, though; they have been warned).
Of course, those interested in Indian history. Tells you how the Indian freedom struggle was beyond religious beliefs.
Beliefs make it easier to go through hardships, even make them pleasant.
Instead of developing the ideas and experiments of ancient thinkers, thus providing ourselves with the ideological weapon for the future struggle—lethargic, idle, fanatical as we are—we cling to orthodox religion and in this way reduce human awakening to a stagnant pool.
If He is bound by law, He is not Omnipotent.
I do not differ on the essential point that all religions, faiths, theological philosophies, and religious creeds and all other such institutions in the long run become supporters of the tyrannical and exploiting institutions, men and classes. Rebellion against any king has always been sin in every religion.
Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking.
Go ahead, grab yourself a copy of Why I am an Atheist and tell us what you think about the book! If you are a Kindle person, ensure to select the Kindle edition of the book.
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