The centuries-old struggle of the Irish people for national freedom against British colonialism has always inspired the most ardent and far-sighted anti-imperialist fighters throughout the world – and Bhagat Singh was no exception.
The very name of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association speaks to the influence of the Irish struggle. What is less well known is that Bhagat Singh not only read Dan Breen’s classic account of the Irish revolution, My Fight for Irish Freedom, but also translated it into Hindi and Punjabi.
The Chandigarh paper Tribune, in its edition of 5 December 2003, reported:
“‘My fight for Irish freedom’, which was written in 1921, was published in 1924. ‘It inspired Shaheed Bhagat Singh so much that he made up his mind to jump into the freedom struggle after reading it and even translated it into Hindi and Punjabi,’ maintained Prof Jagmohan Singh, a nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and son of the martyr’s sister Amar Kaur.
“The book was translated first in Hindi and was published in 1925 while Shaheed Bhagat Singh was in Kanpur and was working with ‘Partap’ newspaper.” [/]
Dan Breen was born in County Tipperary in 1894. Leaving school at the age of 14, he worked as a labourer and railway worker. From 1918 to 1921, he commanded the IRA’s famous ‘Flying Column’, during which he sustained 22 bullet wounds.
He took the republican side in the civil war. Captured in 1923, he was elected to parliament from prison.