Today is the martyrdom day of the great freedom fighter – Chandrashekhar Aazaad. Born on 23.07.1906 in the Bhawra village of the present Madhya Pradesh as Chandrashekhar Tiwari, he went on to become famous as Chandrashekhar Aazaad and got martyrdom on 27.02.1931 at the tender age of 24 years and 7 months at the Alfred Park of Allahabad while fighting single-handedly with the British police.This great patriot was also known as the BAHURUPIYA or the imposter in the government circles in his time because he was an expert in disguising himself and thereby hiding his true identity from the British machinery which was always sniffing out for this braveheart like bloodhounds.
When barely 15 years old, he was arrested and beaten by a stick by the police. He kept on shouting ‘Bhaarat Maata Ki Jai’ and ‘Mahatma Gandhi Ki Jai’ with every blow of the stick till he fell unconscious. When during the police interrogation, he was asked his name, he replied – ‘Aazaad’; when he was asked his father’s name, he replied -‘Swatantra’ and when he was asked his residence, he replied – ‘Jail’. However once freed, he declared loud and clear – ‘Now the police will never be able to arrest me. I am Aazaad (free) forever.’ And he stood true to his words. The police could never arrest him thereafter throughout his life.
After the Jalianwaala Baagh massacre on 13.04.1919, he had also, like millions of youths, started supporting the activities of the Indian National Congress and joined Gandhiji’s nationwide movement against the British rule. However after Gandhiji’s withdrawing the non-cooperation movement after the Chauri-Chaura incident of a crowd’s burning the police station, he got disenchanted with both the Congress and Gandhiji.Being impressed by the Russian revolution and the socialist ideology, he joined a revolutionary organization known as Hindustan Republican Association and later renamed it as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. The very young members of this organization believed in armed struggle with the British forces in order to compel the foreign rulers to leave their motherland, i.e., India. The biggest exploit of this organization was the Kakori Conspiracy in which the government treasury was looted in the train at a place known as Kakori. It’s this act only for which four great Indian patriots – Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri – were hanged.
Later on HSRA under the stewardship of Aazaad, carried out activities like murder of Saunders as a revenge of the death of Lala Laajpat Rai due to baton-charge by the police, throwing of bomb in the assembly as a protest to Public Safety Bill and Trade Dispute Bill and the likewise. Due to the misfortune of these young revolutionaries and the betrayal of traitors in their group, most of the patriots either succumbed to death or were sentenced to imprisonment by the judicial system controlled by the British. However the mastermind behind the activities of HSRA, i.e., Aazaad could never be caught.
Aazaad could never be caught because he was an expert in changing disguise according to the need of the hour and thereby he was always able to befool the police and get away. Interestingly, he never spoke a lie when talking to the cops in his disguised status but his truthfulness never put him into trouble because of the success of his disguise. This characteristic of his personality and disguised activities seems to have inspired many Indian movies in which the hero is shown as doing similar things.
To keep the real identities of the revolutionaries under cover, he had given nicknames to his comrades. He used to call Bhagat Singh as Ranjeet, Rajguru as Raghunath, Bhagwandaas as Kailash etc. He was very much impressed by Lenin and he always kept a book written by Lenin with him. However he was more fond of reading it out to the others lending ears to him.
On the fateful day of 27th February, 1931 when he was discussing with his comrade Sukhdevraaj while in the Alfred Park of Allahabad, the police besieged him. He first ensured that his comrade Sukhdevraaj was able to escape and then he fought the lone battle with the help of the mouser pistol available with him. The number of bullets available with him was low whereas the enemies were many. Finally, when the last bullet was left with him, he decided to stick to his word of living free and dying free without getting arrested in his lifetime and shot himself with that last bullet.
The news of Aazaad’s death was leaked to the Congress by Mrs. Kamla Nehru, the wife of Jawaahar Laal Nehru and despite his following a path not agreeable to the Congress, a majority of the partymen mourned his death like anything. It was a rare occasion to see both Jinnah and Gandhiji paying heartfelt tributes to him. Gandhiji asserted – ‘Such a person is born only once in an era’.
Roads were blocked in Allahabad when a procession started from the cremation ground, carrying his remains. The martyrdom of this less than 25 years old patriot, stirred a wave of patriotism throughout the country, making the life more and more difficult for the foreign rulers day-after-day.
Today I am sorry to see that leave aside paying respect to this great patriot, certain vote-hungry Indian politicians are not hesitant in even being derogatory to him. Can’t say how this dreamer patriot who dreamt to see India as a socialist state in the true sense with equitable distribution of prosperity and equal opportunities for all, would have felt by observing the scenario that developed in the post-independence period and changed continuously for the worse only. However on behalf of all the patriot Indians, I pay tribute to this great son of the soil of India with tearful eyes on the 86th anniversary of his martyrdom.
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