The Forgotten Heroes Of Indian Freedom Struggle.
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On the great occasion of India having completed 69 years of Independence, we pay homage to 5 of the lesser known heroes of our freedom struggle, whose names and achievements seem to have been lost somewhere in the pages of history text books.
Baikunth Shukla – 1934 – An unsung hero of Indian Independence Struggle, Baikunth Shukla, was executed by the British for avenging the death of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru by killing the informer who led to it. Very few people know the story of Baikunth Shukla.
Baikuntha Shukla was the nephew of Yogendra Shukla, who was one of the founding members of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). Shukla was hanged for the assassination of Phanindra Nath Ghosh who became a British government approver that led to the death sentence of Rajguru, Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh.
Baikuntha Shukla actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement that was conducted in the year 1930. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Patna Camp Jail. Later he was released along with other members of the Satyagraha after the agreement of the Pact between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin. Later Baikuntha Shukla met with the members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA) and became an Indian revolutionary, who made significant contributions to the Indian freedom struggle. After the trial of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru in the Lahore conspiracy case, the well known Indian freedom fighters were executed. This incident enraged all the revolutionaries of the period and shook the whole nation. Phanindra Nath Ghosh, who was previously a prime member of the Revolutionary Party, deceitfully betrayed the cause by becoming an approver and provided evidence that led to the execution of the revolutionaries.
Baikuntha Shukla was commissioned to devise a plan for the execution of the traitor Phanindra Nath Ghosh. This was considered as an act of ideological vengeance. Shukla effectively and successfully carried out the execution on 9 November 1932. Eventually Baikuntha Shukla was detained by the British Indian Police and tried for assassination of Phanindra Nath Ghosh. Shukla was convicted and given the death sentence. He was hanged in Gaya Central Jail, at the age of 28, on May 14, 1934.
Raja Rammohan Roy – In the early nineteenth century, many educated Indians began to feel that western culture and the rising tide of Christianity posed a challenge to their age old traditions and beliefs. In their attempt to remedy the situation, many reformers became critical of the past and began to look for ways to rid the society of its evils, such as caste distinction, purdah system and the custom of Sati. They wanted a new social order in keeping with the traditional values and modern development. Many Indians were impressed by progress made by science as well as the doctrine of reason and humanism of the West. The social conditions of the 19th century led to socio-religious reform movements. One of them was Brahmo Samaj.
The Brahmo Samaj or the society of the God was founded in 1828 by Raja Rammohan Roy (1772-1833). He was a scholar and was well-versed in Sanskrit, Persian, English, Hindi and Bengali. He made an intensive study of Christianity and other religions. After that he came to the conclusion that the Hindu society needed reform and India had to learn a lot from the West.
Ram Mohan Roy was born in Burdwan in Bengal. Raja Rammohan Roy served the East India Company for a number of years and became a revenue officer in 1809. He was a critic of the unjust actions and policies of the British Government in India. He protested against the curbs on the freedom of the press. His progressive views helped to change Hindu society but these views were bitterly opposed by the orthodox Hindus. He was a social and religious reformer, an educationist and a political leader. He is remembered for his help in the abolition of Sati and in modernization of educational practices. His ideas on social and religious reforms constitute the ideals of the Brahmo Samaj founded by him in 1828. Rabindranath Tagore said, “Raja Rammohan Roy inaugurated the modern age in India. He was the father of Indian Renaissance and the prophet of Indian nationalism.”

 

 
Rajguru – Shivaram Hari Rajguru had immense potential in terms of memory and had learnt various scriptures by heart. He was a sharp and accurate shooter and was regarded as the gunman of HSRA.
He was hanged with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev Thapar at the age of 23.
He was the means of entertainment in the HSRA meetings due to his competition with Bhagat Singh. He always wanted to be one step ahead of Bhagat Singh in every case, which often led to comic situations.
Rajguru was hiding in Nagpur. He met Dr. K. B. Hedgewar and was hiding in one of the RSS worker’s house. But after some days he went to Pune and later was arrested there. He was a freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for the independence of India. He was a member of Hindustan socialist republican army who wanted India to become free by all means necessary. He believed that violence against oppression was far more effective against British rule than the nonviolent ways of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
Amir Chand – born 1869 at Delhi, son of Shri Hukam Chand Vaishya; School teacher; Took active part in social reform and educational activities, such as widow remarriage, temperance and spread of education. Prominent worker in the Swadeshi Movement. Contact with the famous revolutionary leader, Lala Har Dayal, brought him into the revolutionary movement. Became leader of the Ghadar Party. Worked in close colla­boration with Rash Behari Bose and directed revolutionary activities in the whole of northern India. Arrested in February 1914 on the charge of conspiracy to kill Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India, and also accused of of complicity in the Lahore Bomb Case. Known as the Delhi Conspiracy Case, it started with the throwing of a bomb on Lord Hardinge while he was passing on an elephant through Delhi’s Chandni Chowk in State procession marking the inauguration of Delhi as the Capital of India. Sentenced to death on October 5, 1914, along with his three compatriots-­Avadh Bihari, Bal Mokand and Basant Kumar Biswas. Died on the gallows on May 8, 1915, in the Delhi Central Jail.

 

Jatin Das – Though several feature films and documentaries have been made on Bhagat Singh, few Indians even know the name of a close associate of Bhagat Singh who made explosives and handed them to Bhagat Singh for his revolutionary activities during India’s struggle for independence. His name is Jatin Das. He died of a self-imposed hunger strike for 63 days at a stretch, refusing even a drop of water, at Lahore Jail on September 13, 2009. His strike was to gain status for political prisoners who were brutalised, tortured and humiliated by the British officers and their Indian subordinates in jails across India and were treated worse than normal criminals were. Das was arrested as one of the 10 accused who robbed the railway treasury on 9th August 1925 from a train in Kakori in Uttar Pradesh. He was later transferred to Mymensingh jail where he and his colleague Pannalal Mukherjee underwent a 20-day hunger strike to protest the mistreatment of political prisoners. They were later transferred to the notorious Mianwali jail in West Pakistan but were released in October 1928.On April 8, 1929, the Central Legislative Assembly was shaken up by the bomb blasts and anti-Imperialist slogans of Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Dutta. They courted arrest and were sent off to Lahore Jail where Das joined them soon after. The revolutionaries demanded that they be given the status of political prisoners. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutta began their hunger strike on June 14, 2009. Jatin Das and 10 other revolutionaries joined them, announcing that they would fast unto death. On the 14th day of the hunger strike, the jail doctor with the help of six strong men, tried to force-feed Das but Das resisted so strongly that his lungs got punctured and he fell severely ill. Bhagat Singh and the others called off the strike following assurances from the government. But Das did not bend because he was dissatisfied by the assurances, and finally laid down his life, reduced to a living skeleton, on the lap of his younger brother Kiron Das. In keeping with his dying wish, his body was brought in a train to Kolkata for cremation. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose funded the Rs 600 the railways had asked as charges for the transportation. Thousands of people had gathered in the station, on the streets of Kolkata, in a mile-long procession to catch a last glimpse of their beloved leader.
 

 
 


 
 


 
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