BORN into wealth and luxury, he could have lived a very comfortable life, and yet he gave it all up and took the difficult path of revolution.
Madan Lal Dhingra's father Sahib Ditta Mal chose to settle in Amritsar after he retired as Civil Surgeon. Young Madan Lal went first to Municipal College, Amritsar, and then to Government College, Lahore, but he was under pressure from his father to give up his education to devote time to the family business. But as it turned out, Madan Lal ended up going to England in 1906 and getting himself enrolled in University College of Engineering. Once there, he came under the spell of the firebrand Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Shyamji Krishnavarma.
His activities soon attracted the attention of the Scotland Yard. The Yard, brought it to the notice of the British Government that Indian revolutionaries, under the directions of Savarkar, were planning to assassinate the former Viceroy, Lord Curzon, and the Secretary of State for India, Lord Morley.
And the Scotland Yard were right. The man Savarkar chose for the mission was one of his most zealous revolutionaries, Madan Lal Dhingra. Apart from Lord Curzon and Lord Morley, there was on the hit list one Sir William Curzon Wyllie who in particular had become very unpopular with the revolutionaries. On July 1, 1909, Madan Lal waited for his targets at the Institute of Imperial Studies, London. As Wyllie arrived at 11 p.m., Madan Lal fired at close range and Willie fell back dead.
Madan Lal then
surrendered himself, but refused to have himself
defended. He believed that he had killed one of the
representatives of an oppressive regime, and had thus
done his duty towards the struggle for freedom. He was
hanged on August 17, 1909.
Chandra Shekhar Azad
AS his name suggests, Azad was a man of independent spirit, and it hurt him to see his motherland in bondage. Azad became a revolutionary by taking part in the Non-cooperation Movement when he was barely a teenager. He was arrested for his activities and imprisoned. Far from being deterred, he joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Party and the Indian Revolutionary Party.
Azad soon became friends with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and other revolutionaries. They held secret meetings and drew up plans to end the British Empire in India.
Strong and well-built, Azad was not content with idle speculation; he wanted to do something to shake the foundations of the British Empire. He did not believe that marches and hunger strikes would make any difference to the British. Like his other revolutionary friends he believed: Na Shah Iran ne kiya, na Shah Roos ne; Angrez ko tabah kiya kaartoos ne.
A dare-devil to the last, Azad was involved in the Kakori Mail Raid and the assassination of Saunders. He was also involved in the bomb explosion in the Central Legislative Assembly. With every act, his police file grew thicker and thicker. The police did everything they could to arrest him but Azad was too clever for them. In the end they announced a reward of Rs. 30,000, a mighty amount for the time, for his arrest. The strategy paid off as Azad was betrayed by a colleague of his.
On February 27, 1931, as
he sat in Alfred Park, Allahabad, Azad realised that he
was surrounded by the police. Not the one to surrender,
he fought valiantly to the very last until his body was
riddled with bullets.
ONE of the youngest
revolutionaries to give his life for his country,
Khudiram Bose was, perhaps, the first martyrs from
Bengal. He was born in Moubani, Midnapore district. Fired
with a revolutionary zeal, this young man became a member
of the Revolutionary Party. Impressed by his dedication
to the cause of liberation, the Party chose him to
assassinate Mr. Kingsford, the Police Magistrate. April
30, 1908 provided the moment, and Khudiram Bose and
Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb into a car in Muzaffarpur,
but it later emerged that they had got the wrong target.
Khudiram Bose was arrested the next morning at Wynee
Railway Station, and hanged on August 11, 1908.
Ram Prasad Bismil
NO other song, with the obvious exception of Bankim Chandra's Bande Matram, induced so many young men to lay down their lives for the country than Ram Prasad Bismil's Sar faroshi ki tamanna ab hamarey dil mein hai; dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qatil main hai.
Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was member of Hindustan
Socialist Republican Association. He was involved in the
Kakori Rail Raid on August 9, 1925, and in raids at
Sherganj, Bichpuri, Mainpuri etc. He was hanged in
Gorakhpur District jail on December 19, 1927.
AS the manhunt was on for the murder of J. P. Saunders, the police had spread their dragnet all over the country. And on September 30, 1928, their information led them to Poona, where they arrested Shivram Rajguru, one of the accused involved in the shooting down of Saunders in Lahore.
He was tried for his involvement in what is called the Lahore Conspiracy Case and sentenced to death. He happily went to the gallows along with his friends Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev.
AS he walked to the gallows on
March 23, 1931, along with his cherished friends Bhagat
Singh and Shivram Rajguru, Sukhdev Raj had no regrets
about what he had done. He was also an active member of
the Revolutionary Party, and was involved in the Lahore
Conspiracy Case. Matters did not end with the death of
Saunders, Sukhdev Raj was also involved in the explosion
in the Central Legislative Assembly on December 17, 1928,
and was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru.
(To be concluded)