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Modern History / National Movement

Revolutionary Freedom Fighters of India

Revolutionary freedom fighters of India are those freedom fighters who took arms into their hands to fight against the British. In India, Maharashtra was the birthplace of revolutionary freedom struggle. The first revolutionary freedom fighter of India was Vasudev Balwant Phadke of Maharashtra. He is called father of Indian armed rebellion. In 1879, he was arrested by the Nizam of Hyderabad and handed over to the British, who sent him to Aden jail, where he died.

Revolutionary Freedom Struggle in Maharastra

  • Chapekar brothers - In 1897, Balkrishna Chapekar and Damodar Chapekar assassinated W.C. Rand, the Poona plague commissioner. Both the brothers were hanged. Tilak described them as True Patriots in Kesari.

  • Savarkar Brothers - Ganesh Damodar Savarkar and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar started two secret associations, (i) Mitra Mela in 1899 and (ii) Abhinav Bharat Society (Young India Society) in 1904. Nashik was the headquarters.

  • A. M. T. Jackson, the District Magistrate of Nashik, was assassinated in the Nasik Conspiracy Case by Anant Laxman Kanhere in 1909. Anant Kanhere was hanged later. He was a member of Abhinav Bharat Society.

  • Curzon Wyllie was assassinated in 1909 by Madan Lal Dhingra (he was a Maharashtrian and a classmate of V.D. Savarkar in London) in London. He was hanged in London in 1909. Vinayak Savarkar was arrested in 1909, brought to India and sent to Andaman jail.

Revolutionary Freedom Struggle in Bengal

  • Jatindranath Mukherjee - He used to disrupt the law and order. People used to call him Bagha Jatin (Jatin the Tiger). In 1915, he was killed in Balasore.
  • Anushilan Samiti

    Anushilan Samiti was established at Calcutta in 1902 by Pramathanath Mitra and prominent leaders are Jatindra Nath Banerjee, Bagha Jatin, Aurobindo Ghosh, Barindra Kumar Ghosh (brother of Aurobindo Ghosh) and Bhupendranath Datta (brother of Vivekananda).

    Dhaka Anushilan Samiti (1905) was established by Pulin Behari Das. Anushilan Samiti had 500 branches throughout Bengal. It ran revolutionary journals Sandhya and Yugantar.

    Members of this organization made an assassination attempt on a judge of Muzaffarpur, D.H. Kingsford on April 30, 1908. The members were Prafulla Chandra Chaki (who committed suicide) and Khudiram Bose (18 years) who was hanged in 1909.

    Kingsford got escaped. But two women were killed, wife and daughter of Pringle Kennedy, a famous lawyer of Muzaffarpur Bar.

    In May, 1908, the headquarters at Muraripukur Road in Calcutta (where bomb factory was located) was seized. 14 revolutionaries were caught from the factory and its activities came to an end with the trial of Alipore Bomb Case.

  • Chittagong Armoury Raid

    The mastermind behind this raid was Surya Sen. He was more popularly known as Masterda. He was a school teacher turned revolutionary.

    In 1930, he along with others made a raid on Chittagong armoury and captured all the weapons. In 1933, he was given death sentence and was hanged.

    Ganesh Ghosh and Ambika Chakrabarty were sent to Andaman. The other revolutionaries were Prtilata Waddedar who committed suicide and the school girl Kalpana Datta was put into the prison.

Revolutionary Freedom Struggle in Madras

  • Vanchi Iyer, who along with Nilakanta Brahmachari founded Bharatha Matha Sangam (Association). Vanchi Iyer assassinated Robert Ashe, the tax collector of Tirunelveli in 1911 and later committed suicide.

Revolutionary Freedom Struggle Outside India

  • In London Shyamji Krishna Varma (Gujarat Barrister) started a journal called The Indian Sociologist.

  • In Paris, Bhikaji Rustom Cama (Madam Cama), who worked as secretary of Dadabhai Naoroji, started a paper Bande Mataram from Paris. She was the first Indian to hoist National Flag outside India.

  • In Berlin, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, started a journal called Talwar.

  • In Tokyo, Rash Behari Bose started an organization called Indian Independence League. In 1912, he and Sachindra Sanyal made an effort (at Chandni Chowk) on the life of Hardinge II, who got escaped. One of his attenders was killed.

    Bose left India, married a Japanese woman and got Japanese Citizenship. Sachindra Sanyal wrote a revolutionary novel, Bandi Jeevan. The British government banned his book.

  • In Kabul, Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ran a parallel Government of India. He was the President of the Government.

  • In San Francisco, Punjabis started an organization, "Pacific Coast Hindustan Association" in 1913. They ran a journal, Ghadar (means Revolt in Urdu). This party became popular as Ghadar party.

    The founders of Ghadar party were Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna (President), who later became a peasant leader in India, Lala Har Dayal (General Secretary), Mohammad Barkatullah, Pandit Kanshi Ram and Kartar Singh Sarabha.

  • In Vancouver, Tarak Nath Das started a journal, Free Hindustan.
  • Komagata Maru Incidencce (1914)

    Komagata Maru is the name of a Japanese ship. It was carrying 376 passengers of Punjab from Hong Kong to Vancouver. At Vancouver, the immigration officers refused to admit to Canada.

    From Vancouver the ship came to Calcutta. Police opened fire in Calcutta believing that the Punjabis were Gadar party people. Many people died in this incident.

    Ghadar party planned for armed rebellion against this event. They decided to take armed rebellion in 21st February, 1915 called Ghadar Mutiny. This information got leaked to the British. By 21st February, all the party leaders were put behind the bars.

Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

  • In 1924, at Kanpur, a revolutionary organization was started known as Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). The founders were Sachindra Sanyal, Chandra Shekhar Azad and Ram Prasad Bismil (popularised the song "Sarfarosh Ki Tamanna").

  • In 1925, Bhagat Singh joined this organization. In 1928, HRA has been changed to "Hindustan socialist Republican Association" (HSRA).
  • Activities of HSRA

    • Kakori Conspiracy Case, 1925 - HSRA lost around 40 revolutionaries in this case. The revolutionaries wanted to loot the train coming with Government money. Lot of army people were coming in the train and captured all the revolutionaries.

      The revolutionaries, who were executed, were Rajendra Lahiri, Roshan Singh, Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan. Sachindra Sanyal was given life imprisonment and the rest were given 10 year imprisonment.

    • Saunders Murder Case, 1928 - John Saunders was a police officer of Lahore. The revolutionaries shot Saunders but their original target was James Scott, who was responsible for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. The revolutionaries involved in this case were Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and Chandra Shekhar Azad.

    • Central Legislative Assembly Bomb Case, 1929 - The leaders were Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh. The purpose was nobody should be injured, but to create sensation and surrender to the police as part of the plan.

      This was to oppose the anti-India bills which were passed. Bhagat Singh was caught and hanged in the Lahore jail on 23rd March, 1931. He was just 23 years of age at that time.

      The three people, who were hanged in Saunders' murder case, were Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Jatindra Nath Das was given death penalty but died before that, by undergoing 63 days of fast unto death demanding good conditions of the jail.

    • Chandrashekhar Azad, in 1929, hurled bombs on the train of Lord Irwin but Irwin escaped. In 1931, at Azad Park in Allahabad, he was killed in a encounter.