Almost 90 years later, a piece of history has been found. Widely believed by many to be ‘missing’ for years, this historical item had claimed the life of Assistant Police Superintendent John Saunders during the British rule. The .32mm Colt automatic pistol belongs to Bhagat Singh and it was put on public display for the first time ever at BSF’s Indore museum. According to reports, this item was on display at BSF’s Central School of Weapons and Tactics (CSWT) museum without any mention of its history. It’s also interesting to note it was on this very day in 1931 that a final mercy petition by former Congress president Madan Mohan Malviya was duly rejected by British Viceroy Lord Irwin.
In a statement to the Times of India, custodian of CSWT museum, assistant commandant Vijendra Singh said they were surprised when they removed the black paint on the pistol and matched its serial number (168896) with their records last year. “It was Bhagat Singh’s pistol,” said an elated Singh to the newspaper.
Born into a Jat Sikh family in 1907, Bhagat Singh was instrumental in achieving India’s independence movement. He studied European revolutionary movements when he was a teenager and was quite enamoured by Marxist and anarchist ideologies. He came into the limelight after he assassinated John Saunders, who was responsible for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, another luminary closely involved with the Indian freedom movement. For a long time thereafter, he had successfully eluded British authorities. Subsequently, he along with Batukeshawar Dutt, threw bombs inside the Central legislative Assembly and gave themselves up for arrest.