Have you ever wondered what takes a person on the path of revolution? What is the substance on which a revolutionary is built? Of course, you must have read or heard somewhere that “revolutionaries, lovers, and poets are built of the same dust”. This quote is credited to the great Indian revolutionary Sardar Bhagat Singh, whether he actually said it is debatable as some sources on the internet credit some other personality for this quote. Anyways our pursuit here is to journey through various stories of revolutionaries and see if we are able to come to any conclusions about what lies within the soul of a revolution.
When we hear the word revolution what comes to our mind is anarchy, war, or a battle against the regime by the oppressed classes of a nation or a society but this is just a type of revolution that holds a significant place in history. This kind of revolution can be termed a political revolution, but other forms of revolution can be classified into expressions and domains other than politics. These can be spiritual revolutions, ideological revolutions, literary revolutions, etc.
The definition of revolution is different for different people and each prominent revolutionary in the past has given their own definition. For Marx and Lenin revolution was proletariat and for the benefit and upliftment of the oppressed worker classes of society. For Swami Vivekananda revolution was inside out awakening of the individual which in turn would reflect in the society as a whole, for Bhagat Singh revolution was a birthright of an individual as a basis of his freedom, for Gandhi it was the awakening and unification of the nation’s spirit. We can cover all the prominent figures who are considered revolutionary and come up with a distinctive definition of revolution each time with some obvious and accepted overlaps. There can be revolutionary filmmakers or painters or athletes. But if we observe the times and lives of such individuals and try to feel the passion behind their actions not analyze with our brains but feel with our hearts we can drill every kind of revolution every definition of revolution every possible comprehension and quote around revolutionary thinking to a single thing which is ‘Love’. Love or compassion is the word that frightens most of us, we don’t know and in all probability won’t accept this but it frightens the entire world. This is the emotion that drives a human being to an extent that he or she is able to joyfully take upon themselves so much suffering and hardship. This drives someone to be able to willingly walk towards the garlands of death as many Indian freedom fighters did without any fear or doubt. Love for the people, love for freedom or equality, or their craft or an idea. They can’t fathom the idea of repeating old patterns as it is and following the rotten trail of the past without doing an inquiry.
Revolutions start within and later find their expression in the outside world in various forms. The revolutionary mind starts with an unconscious pursuit of knowing themselves first and that understanding develops a love for the other, the core emotion the only emotion that is left after all the other emotions and desires are wiped off is love. Such a mind then takes a new path through art social causes or through spirituality etc. They simply cannot accept the norm which harms anyone and if we take it in terms of art they can’t accept the norm of repeating what has already been done and instead they make very unpopular choices to create something new. Revolution is natural and pure in more ways than we can think, revolution aims at getting rid of the old and assuming a new norm, a new form, and a new expression that is better than the old, which liberates more people and gives them the dignity of choice in their individual as well as social lives, in their personal domain as well as their relation with the state because that is important.
History is full of such personalities who took extreme difficulties upon themselves to benefit humanity or society at large and the manner of revolution is not just political or violent overturning of an oppressive empire like it happened in the Russian revolution as Bhagat Singh rightly said ‘Revolution is not a cult of bombs and pistols’ it’s the ideas which count and these ideas have their roots in love. To understand this we must think why would a man die for saving or uplifting someone he doesn’t even know? What drives a person to be so restless upon knowing of oppression that he is willing to give away his life for removing the oppressive system?
The answer is love, love is the fire that ignites revolutions, and only through love is a revolution possible because any idea that has its roots in love is by default revolutionary in this world of hatred, war, greed, envy, etc.