Indian Independence Movement witnessed contribution from a number of young revolutionaries. Here I am presenting information about some of them with my hand drawn sketches.(The information is mainly taken from sources like Wikipedia)
1. RAM PRASAD BISMIL:
Pandit Ramprasad was born in the year 1897 at Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. His ancestors
hailed from the state of Gwalior. Ram Prasad Bismil joined the revolutionary organization Hindustan Republican Association in his youth.
On August 9, 1925, Bismil, along with nine revolutionary colleagues, executed a meticulousplan for the looting of the government treasury carried in a train at Kakori. He was the mastermind of this famous Kakori Train Robbery. The incident created great upheavel in British India. The retribution was severe when the revolutionaries were caught.
In a long drawn case, Ram prasad, with three of his associates, was sentenced to death.
He was hanged by the British authorities on December 18, 1927 in Gorakhpur.
He also was known for his inspiring poems that acted as motivation for his fellow revolutionaries.
Among them, “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna” is the most well-known.
2. ROSHAN SINGH:
Thakur Roshan Singh was a great Indian revolutionary.He hailed from Shahjahanpur,
Uttar Pradesh.He belonged to Hindustan Republican Association (HRA ) that was created to carry out revolutionary activities against the British Empire in India.
He participated in Kakori train robbery and was tried and sentenced to death for the same.
He was hanged on 20 Dec 1927 in Allahbad.
3. ASHFAQULLA KHAN:
Ashfaqulla Khan was born in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was in school when Mahatma Gandhi called the Non-Cooperation Movement.
He was a devout Muslim who befriended Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil and On 9 August 1925 Ashfaqulla, Bismil and 8 others looted the train carrying British government money in Kakori near Lucknow.
All of them were caught but Ashfaq was the only one untraced by the police. He took the help of one of his Pathan friend who in turn betrayed him by informing the police about his whereabouts.
Tasadruk Khan,the then superintendent of police, tried to play the caste politics with Ashfaq and tried to win him over by provoking him against Hinduism but Ashfaq was a strong willed Indian who surprised Tasadruk Khan by saying:
"Khan Sahib, I am quite sure that Hindu India will be much better than British India."
Ashfaqullah Khan was detained in the Faizabad jail.
On Monday, 19th December, 1927, Ashfaqullah Khan is known to have taken two steps at a time, as he walked upto the post. When his chains were released, he reached for the rope and kissed it.
"My hands are not soiled with the murder of man. The charge against me is false. God will give me justice. la ilahi il allah, mohammed ur rasool allah."
The noose came around his neck and the movement lost one of its shining stars.
4. RAJENDRA LAHIRI
Rajendra Lahiri (1892 - December 17, 1927) (also known as Rajendra Nath Lahiri, was a Bengali revolutionary who participated in various revolutionary activities of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association aimed at ousting the British from India.
He was born in village Mohanpur in District Pabna in erstwhile Bengal (now in Bangladesh). His father was Kshitish Mohan Lahiri.
Rajendra Lahiri owned a big estate in Varanasi, but was very active in revolutionary and nationalist activities against the British rule.
He participated in the Dakshineshwar bomb case and was sentenced to jail. He took part in the famous Kakori train robbery on August 9, 1925. He was arrested and tried, along with several other revolutionaries, in the year-long case. He was found guilty and hanged in the Gonda jail on December 17, 1927.
5. DURGA BHABHI
Durga Devi, popularly known as Durga Bhabhi, was wife of professor Bhagvati Charan Vohra. She was a
teacher by profession but actuallly was an active revolutionary.
In a gathering of “Naujawan Bharat Sabha” when Bhagat Singh declared an armed struggle against the British, Durga Bhabhi got up and put a talik of her blood on his forehead and wished him success.
She used to provide the revolutionaries with ammunition and used to hide weapons at her home and would transport them as and when needed.
When Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Chandra Shekhar Azad killed officer Saunders to avenge Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, Durga Bhabhi took the responsibility to take the revolutionaries safely to Calcutta to her husband. She even put the life of her 3 year old son Sachi at stake. All of them were disguised and went to railway station. Bhagat Singh was pretending to be her husband.
She along with Sukhdev shot two english policemen once.
After Bhagat Singh’s arrest she was a member of defense committee for him.
Her husband died while testing for a bomb to help Bhagat escape the prison.
She was later arrested and sentenced for 3 years imprisonment.
After independence, she opened Lucknow Montessory School for poor children in Purana Qila area.
She died at the age of 92 in 1999, and was survived by her son
6. ALLIES OF BHAGAT SINGH (SUKHDEV, RAJAGURU , BATUKESHWAR DUTT)
Sukhdev Thapar born on 15 May 1907 was an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association(HRA), being one of its most senior leaders. He was an accomplice of Bhagat Singh and Rajguru in the killing of a British police officer J.P. Saunders in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to excessive police beating.
All the three were hanged in Lahore Central Jail on March 23,1931.
Shivaram Hari Rajguru was born on August 24, 1908 in Maharashtra and belonged to the Deshastha Brahmin community. He was an aide of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in the killing of a British police officer J.P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to excessive police beating. All three were convicted of the crime and hanged on March 23, 1931.
Batukeshwar Dutt was also known as BK Dutta, alias Battu, alias Mohan, was a member of HRA. He met Bhagat Singh in 1924. Working in Kanpur for the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, he knew how to make bombs.
On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted "Inquilab Zindabad!"
This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear.The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; this was deliberate on their part.
Batukeshwar Dutt was tried in Central Assembly bomb case, he was sentenced in 1929 to life imprisonment. He was deported to the Cellular Jail. He participated in two hunger strikes in Cellular Jail during May 1933 and July 1937. He was repatriated in 1937.
He was released from Bankipur Jail in the year 1938.
He outlived all his comrades and died in July 1965 in Delhi. After his release from prison, he participated in the Quit India movement. But in Independent India he did not receive any recognition. He was cremated near Firozpur in Punjab where the bodies of his comrades Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukh Dev were cremated many years ago.
7. BHAGAT SINGH:
Bhagat Singh was born on 28th September 1907. At age 13, he followed Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement but after Gandhi's withdrawal of the movement, he joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began advocating a violent movement against the British. He joined the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and later Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). He quickly rose through the ranks of the HRA and became one of its leaders, converting it to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
When Lala Lajpat Rai led the protest against the Simon Commission in a silent non-violent march in 1928 the police chief Scott ordered a lathi charge and Lalaji was badly injured which resulted in his death. Bhagat Singh vowed to take revenge. He along with Chandarshekhar Azad, Rajguru, Jai Gopal and Sukhdev, tried to kill Scott.But due to mistaken identity, the dept. sup. of police J.P. Sauders was killed. Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore to escape the police. To avoid recognition, he shaved his beard and cut his hair, a violation of the sacred tenets of Sikhism.
Because of the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. HSRA planned to explode a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. Though Chandrashekhar Azad did not want Bhagat Singh to carry out the bombing, Bhagat Singh wished to throw the bomb and get arrested to spread his message among masses.
On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted "Inquilab Zindabad!" ("Long Live the Revolution!").This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear.
The bomb did not kill or injure anyone.Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb.and both were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing.
Then British came to know of Bhagat's involvement in Saunder's murder. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Bhagat Singh decided to use the court as a tool to publicize his cause for the independence of India. While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and those facing trial which lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians.
On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his Rajguru and Sukhdev. Bhagat Singh's death had the effect that he desired and he inspired thousands of youths to assist the remainder of the Indian independence movement. Honored as "Shaheed Bhagat Singh", he is considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement
8. CHANDRASHEKHAR AZAD:
Chandrashekhar Sitaram Tiwari was born on July 23, 1906 in Madhya Pradesh. Also known as Panditji, he was the founder of Garam Dal. He was first among many Indian revolutionaries to use arms in their fight for independence against the British rulers. A devout Brahmin, he believed that it was his "dharma" to fight for others. He also believed that a soldier never relinquishes his weapon.
He was deeply shocked by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, he actively participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation movement. He was arrested and received his first punishment at the age of fifteen for this act of civil disobedience. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said "Azad". For this, he was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip, young Chandrasekhar shouted "Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. From that point onwards, he assumed the title of “Azad”.
Azad was attracted by more aggressive and violent revolutionary ideals. He formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) and was mentor for many revolutionaries including Bhagat Singh. Azad also planned and executed several acts of violence against the Britishers. He was involved in numerous such activities like the Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), the shooting of J. P. Saunders (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai and the bombing in Central Assembly.
Azad was a master of disguise. He was a brilliant shooter and he used to train other members of his group. He was a terror for the British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive.
For his part, Azad had also vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and that he would die a free man.
On February 27, 1931 he was betrayed by an informer and the police surrounded him in Alfred Park, Allahbad and ordered him to surrender. Azad fought alone and was hit on the thigh, but he made the chance of Sukhdev to survive by covering him and killed three policemen. After nearly exhausting his ammunition and foreseeing no means of escape, he shot himself in the head with his last bullet.
Such was the terror and respect of Azad that Indian soldiers who saw him die did not approach his dead body for 20 minutes because of guilt. In his very brief life of less than 25 years, Chandrashekhar Azad became a legend and is still remembered as a revolutionary hero
9. UDHAM SINGH:
Udham Singh aka Sher Singh was born on December 26, 1899 in Punjab.
On April 13, 1919, over twenty thousand unarmed Indians, peacefully assembled in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, to listen to several prominent local leaders speak out against British colonial rule in India. Udham Singh and his mates from the orphanage were serving water to the crowd on a warm summer afternoon. Brigadier-General Dwyer with no warning ordered his troops to open fire, concentrating especially on the areas where the crowd was thickest. More than 1000 innocent men women and children were killed brutally.
The incident had greatly shaken young Udham Singh and proved a turning point in his life. After bathing in the holy sarovar (pool of nectar), Udham Singh took a silent vow and solemn pledge in front of the Golden Temple to wreak a vengeance on the perpetrators of the crime. He plunged into active politics and became a dedicated revolutionary.
He moved from one country to another to achieve his secret objective, aiming ultimately to reach his prey, General Dyer, in London. At various stages in his life, Singh went by many names: Sher Singh, Udham Singh, Udhan Singh, Ude Singh, Uday Singh, Frank Brazil, and Ram Mohammed Singh Azad. He reached Africa in 1920, moving to Nairobi in 1921 and to US in 1924. There he became actively involved with freedom fighters of the Ghadar Party. Singh spent three years in revolutionary activities in the U.S. and organised Overseas Indians for the freedom struggle. He returned to India in July 1927 on orders from Bhagat Singh. He was accompanied by 25 associates from the U.S. and brought a consignment of revolvers.
On 30 August 1927 he was arrested at Amritsar for possession of unlicensed arms and was prosecuted under section 20 of the Arms Act. In the court, Udham Singh stated that he fully intended to send British Imperialists in India to their violent deaths. He was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment. Udham Singh was released from jail on 23 October 1931. He returned to Amritsar. He assumed the name of Mohammed Singh Azad.
He escaped to London in 1934.
On 13 March 1940 a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society was scheduled at Caxton Hall and Dwyer was among the speakers. At the end of the meeting Singh pulled his revolver and fired. Dwyer was hit twice and killed. He also injured Lord Zetland, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Luis Dane and Lord Lamington.
He did not intend to escape. He was arrested on the spot.
While in Police custody, Singh remarked: "Is Zetland dead? He ought to be. I put two into him right there" Then he said: "Only one dead eh'. I thought I could get more. I must have been too slow. There were a lot of women about, you know".
On 31 July 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison.
There were lot lot more. Its both fun and exciting to know about such great heroes of our country who thought above caste and religion and fought for one nation. We, youths must take inspiration from these legendary figures. Long Live their glory!!