Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tatia Tope

He was the here of the Revolt of 1857, he was among the first to raise his voice for the freedom of his country. The British rulers feared this courageous and mighty general. When he was deceived by his friend, he faced his death like a hero.

Hero of the fight for freedom in 1857. His very name made the mighty English generals tremble. Deceived by his friend, he faced death like a hero, for the sake of his country. The British troops had pitched their tents on the parade grounds near the fort of Shivpuri, 75 miles from Gwalior. The day was April 18, 1859. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon. A smiling, charming prisoner was brought out of the prison.

His hands and feet were chained. Under guard he was taken to the hangman's post. He had been condemned to death. The prisoner stepped towards the post fearlessly. There was no hesitation as he stepped upon the platform. It was the custom to cover the eyes of the condemned man with a scarf. When soldiers stepped forward with the scarf, he smiled and made signs to say, 'I don't need all this.' Nor did he allow the hands and feet to be bound. He himself put the noose around his neck. The rope was tightened. Then, at last, there was a pull....In a moment it was all over.

It was a heart-rending scene, which moved the whole country to tears. The man who was hanging lifeless on the gallows of the English was no criminal. He was not a thief, he was no cutthroat. He was the Supreme commander in the War of Indian Independence,which, in 1857, had challenged the hold of the British over India. It was he who, more than anybody else, shook the mighty British Empire to its foundations. Holding aloft the flag of freedom, he sought to break the chains of slavery and fought the military might of the English heroically. His name was Tatia Tope, a household word for bravery.

V.K. Krishna Menon

Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon was born on May 3, 1896 at Panniyankara in Calicut, Kerala.The third son of a successful lawyer of the Calicut bar, Komath Krishna Kurup, Menon grew up in a modestly well-to-do family.

Menon had his early education in Tellicherry.He took his B.A. degree from Madras Presidency College.While in College, he started taking an active interest in the national movement.While studying in the Madras Law College, he became actively associated with Annie Besant and the Home Rule Movement.He was a leading member of the 'Brothers of Service', founded by Annie Besant who spotted his gifts and sent him to England in 1924.

In London, Menon bloomed into a passionate fighter for India's freedom.He founded the India League in 1928 and made it the nerve centre of nationalist propaganda and activity in England.The Labour Party was influenced considerably by Krishna Menon who became on of its very effective spokesmen.In 1934, he was elected as St. Pancras Borough Councilman on the Labour ticket.He was elected again and again till be became India's first High Commissioner in England.St. Pancras conferred on him the Freedom of the Borough, the only other person so honoured being Bernard Shaw.

Krishna Menon became a barrister and took up cases of the poor.In 1932, he inspired a fact-finding delegation headed by Ellen Wilkinson, Labour M.P., to visit India.Menon served as its Secretary and edited its report entitled 'conditions in India'.In the thirties he also edited the Twentieth Century Library.

The close freindship between Nehru realised the significance of the battle which Krishna Menon carried on in England and the tole played by him in bringing about the peaceful transfer of power.

From 1952 to 1953 and from 1954 to 1962 Krishna Menon led the Indian delegation to the United Nations.In evolving the policy of non-alignment he played a very important role.He made diplomacy a dynamic instrument for world peace, socialism and national liberation.He took an active role in resolving the Korean and Suez crises.

Krishna Menon became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1953.On February 3, 1956, he joined the Union Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.In 1957 he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bombay and in April of that year, hebecame Defence Minister.He worked tirelessly to modernise the defence forces and initiated a number if measures of far-reaching significance.
Krishna Menon resigned from the Cabinet in 1962, soon after the Chinest aggression.But he continued his activities on the national and international planes. He passed away on October 6, 1974.

Sardar Vallabhai Patel

The Man who infact really made the real United India, The Man who could have been the First Prime Minister of India.

Sardar Vallabhai Patel was born on the 31st of October 1875, in Gujarat. He was the son of Zaverbhai who had served in the army of the Queen of Jhansi and Ladbai. Vallabhbhai started his education in a Gujarati medium school and after middle school he switched over to English medium in the Nadiad High School. During the course of his studies his penchant towards organizing came to light. He successfully organized many events. He matriculated in 1897.

In 1891 he married Zaverbai and they had two children. But after she passed away in 1909, the following year he went to England to study law. He completed his law studies in 1913 and came back to India and started his law practice. He joined the Gujarat club and started following a western lifestyle. One day Gandhiji came to the club to give lectures. Sardar Patel was greatly influenced by this master spokesperson. As soon as he came in contact with the Mahatma he decided to discard his foreign clothes and follow the rules of Satyagraha as laid down by Gandhiji. A relationship of teacher and student began to develop in between them.

In 1918 when there was a flood in Kaira, the British insisted on collecting tax from the farmers. This time the Sardar made optimum use of Satyagraha and asked the farmers not to give in to the demands of the government. All of this was done peacefully and the farmers followed his guidance. The British got fed up and eventually returned the land confiscated by them earlier.
In 1928 the farmers faced a similar problem and Vallabhai came to their rescue again. The British were as usual demanding an unjust tax and the farmers of Bardoli under the supervision of Vallabhbhai did not budge. The government in retaliation seized the lands. This agitation took on for more than six months until Patel’s brother, Vithalbhai, an important figure in the Central Legislative Assembly struck a truce. This event immensely delighted Gandhiji and the title of ‘Sardar’ was conferred on him. When he was assisting Gandhiji in the Salt Satyagraha, he faced imprisonment for the first time

With great wisdom and political foresight, he consolidated the small kingdoms. The public was with him. He tackled the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Junagarh who intially did not want to join India. There were a lot of problems connected with the reunion of the numerous states into India. Sardar Patel's untiring efforts towards the unity of the country brought success. Due to the achievement of this massive task, Sardar Patel got the title of 'Iron Man'. ' He is one of the prestigious leaders of the world who became immmortal by uniting a scattered nation without any bloodshed.

When India became free and Pakistan attacked Kashmir, it was Patel who asked to withhold the cash balances left by the British for Pakistan. Gandhiji felt this was immoral and went on a fast until death. Sardar withdrew his argument because he could not bear to see his teacher's suffering. In independent India he held the portfolio of Home Minister, Minister of state and the Minister for information and broadcasting. One of his major achievements included the integration of the princely states into the union of India.

On 3oth January 1948, when Gandhiji was assassinated Sardar Patel was a totally shattered man. He had lost a dear friend and the guiding force of his life.
He died in Bombay in December 1950

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru, the son of Motilal Nehru was born in Allahabad on Nov 14, 1889. He was the first Prime Minister of Independent India. He grew up in an influential political family, his father being a lawyer and prominent in the Nationalist Movement.

His Childhood was privilege; he was tutored at home and then studied in England at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was admitted to English Bar and returned to India very westernized. He married Kamala Kaul in year 1916. And in 1917 their only child Indira was born.

Nehru met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916 at an INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS party meeting. From then on, their lives were entwined, though they differed on several points, Largely because of Nehru's international outlook clashed with Gandhi's simple Indian outlooks and views. The turning point in his life came in 1919 when he overheard General Dyer gloating over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. From this point he vowed to fight the British. Regardless of the criticism, he was one of the most influential leaders in freedom struggle. He was the pioneering articulators of Asian resurgence and an unusually idealistic advocate of consciences in International Politics.

The younger Nehru became a leader of more radical wing of the congress party and in 1929 he was elected as the party president. British repeatedly arrested him for civil disobedience strikes and other political actions; he spent half of his next 18 years in jail.

During his life time, he went through the variety of individual and collective reactions- to be adored as a revolutionary and vibrant personification of the forward looking spirit of India, to be described as a pampered young man who unintentionally acquired the national leadership due to influence of his father and the nepotism of Mahatma Gandhi.

He is admired as the leader of freedom movement, as the father of institutional democracy and as an architect of Indian policy in all manifestations, and as the longest serving Prime Minister of India (1946-1964).

After World War II he participated in the negotiations that eventually created the separate states of India and Pakistan, a partition of Indian subcontinent between Hindus and Muslims that Gandhi refused to accept. When independence came on Aug. 15, 1947, Nehru became Prime Minister of India, leading his country through the difficult transition period. Nehru had to cope with the influx of Hindu refugees from Pakistan, the problem of integrating the princely states into the new federal structure, and war with Pakistan (1948) over Kashmir and with China (1962).

In International affairs he pursue a policy of strict nonalignment, a difficult course in the cold-war years; his neutralism broke down, however, when he asked for western aid during the Sino-Indian conflict. A firm upholder of democratic socialism at home, Nehru remained immensely popular in India. In January 1964, after 17 years in office, he suffered a stroke. He died four months later. Nehru was the author of many books, including an autobiography, Toward Freedom

Lala Lajpat Rai

Lajpat Rai was born on 28th Jan, 1865 at a village named Dhudike in Ferozepur District of Punjab. His father,Munshi Radha Krishan Azad was a great scholar of Persian and Urdu. Lalaji's mother, Shrimati Gulab Devi, a strict religious lady, inculcated in her children strong morals values. Lalaji was brought up in a family background that allowed freedom of having different faiths and beliefs. Since childhood he had a desire to serve his country and its people, and therefore took a pledge to free it from foreign rule.

In 1884 his father was transferred to Rohtak and Lala Lajpat Rai came along. He became the secretary of Arya Samaj in Rohtak. In 1886 he passed his Law exams and he started his practice in Rohtak but moved to Hissar where some of his friends were also practicing Law. Lalaji's early legal practice at Hissar was very successful. His life of six years in Hissar became the apprenticeship for public service. He was elected to the Hissar municipality as a member and later as secretary. Besides practicing, Lalaji collected funds for the Daya Nand College, attended Arya Samaj functions. After the death of Swami Dayananda, Lalaji with his associates toiled to develop the Anglo-Vedic College. He came in contact with all the important Arya Samajis there.
In Hissar Lalaji started attending the meetings of the Congress Party and became an active worker in the Hissar-Rohtak region. When the Lieutenant Governor visited Hissar, Lalaji pleaded that the Welcome Address to be presented to him should be in Urdu. To satisfy the British officer a speech had already been prepared in English. Lalaji's suggestion made everyone nervous. But without a trace of fear, he presented the Address in Urdu and there by invited the wrath of the British.

Lala Lajpat Rai shifted to Lahore in 1892. Lalaji provided immense service toward the famine relief efforts during the famines of 1897 and 1899. He mobilized D A V college students and went to Bikaner and other areas of Rajasthan to rescue destitute children and bring them to Lahore. He believed that "a nation that does not protect its own orphan children cannot command respect at the hands of other people." When people fleeing the famine reached Lahore, they spent their first night at Lalaji's house. In 1898, Lalaji curtailed his legal practice and vowed to devote all his energy for the nation. The Kangra district of Panjab suffered destruction in the earthquake of 1905. Lalaji was there once again, organizing relief for extricating people from the debris.

His activities were multifarious. He was an ardent social reformer. He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in October 1917, in New York and, a year later, he also set up, with himself as Director, the "Indian Information Bureau" in New York to serve as a Publicity Organization for India. Lala Lajpat Rai returned to India on Feb.20, 1920 as a great hero.
He plunged into Gandhi's non-cooperation movement, which in Panjab, under Lajpat Rai's leadership spread like wildfire in the province, and he soon came to be known as "The Lion of Panjab" or "Panjab Kesri". He traveled far and wide in India and his eloquence brought hundreds to the Congress fold. Lalaji injected new life in his countrymen. His writings and speeches were both hard hitting and effective. They swayed those they aimed to reach. He was a crusader, who knew no fear and championed every worthy cause with all the passion of his soul.

His love for service was insatiable. He founded educational institutions. He befriended the suppressed classes. In the political field he was indispensable. Lala Lajpat Rai's supreme sacrifice came when he led a procession in Lahore on Oct.30, 1928 to boycott the Simon Commission. The procession was sought to be broken up by the police and Lajpat Rai received lathi blows. While Lalaji tried his level best to keep the demonstration peaceful, the police targeted him and wounded him on his chest. The people were enraged at this insult and held a meeting the same evening. Lalaji, though in intense pain, gave a speech and declared "...every blow aimed at me is a nail in the coffin of British Imperialism....".

He recovered from the wounds left by the British but he remained emotionally scarred at the brutality of the "civilized" British. Why had he been specifically targeted by the British? Why had they lathi- charged against a peaceful gathering. These thoughts racked his spirit till the very end. Lalaji died on November 17, 1928 of heart failure.

Madam Bhikaji Cama

Today we Salute our National Flag our Very own Tricolour which we keep near to our Hearts. Display it , In Cars On computers, On Softboards, on Table Top, Every Prominent Govt Building ,etc but before this Flag was designed there were other versions prior to this. The First ever Flag was designed and unfurled by Madam Bhikaji Cama.

In an age when the women were still secondary citizens and essentially bread makers, Madam Bhikaji Cama, a Parsi lady from Gujarat flew the Indian National Flag at the Socialist Convention held in Germany in the August of A.D. 1907. She was a radical, who had devoted her life to the nation and its independence and committed this act of valour and bravery exactly 40 years before the Indian national flag of independence adorned the skies in A.D. 1947, 15th August. This great revolutionary was instrumental in creating awareness for India's independence struggle and helping the revolution by way of providing finance and publishing revolutionary literature.

This dynamic personality was born on 24th September 1861 in an affluent Parsi family. During those times Parsis were leading in varied fields like education, business and industry. In spite of belonging to a very affluent family she always strived for India's freedom.

She was married to Rustom K.R.Cama, a rich and handsome lawyer interested in social work. But their ideologies were too diverse to let them enjoy a happy companionship. As she did not find happiness in her personal life she turned towards social causes for solace. Madam Cama played a very significant role in the early part of the freedom struggle.

While in India she served the plague victims and in the process contracted it herself. Luckily she survived it but later migrated to London where she spent the rest of her life. She had the privilege of unfurling the first Indian National Flag at the International Socialist Conference in Germany on 3rd August 1907. This flag was a tricoloured one having green, saffron, and red stripes having eight lotuses and was designed with help of Veer Savarkar with the help of other freedom fighters.

She traveled a great deal to promote the cause of India's independence. Madame Cama also published books on patriotic literature and helped to finance the freedom movement. She had become a major problem for the British and had to reach France in order to save her life. She interacted with revolutionaries from all over the world. She was particularly supportive of Savarkar and his endeavor of writing the history of the first Indian War of Independence. She helped send revolutionary magazines to India, which were not available otherwise.

She was not permitted to return to India, keeping in view her contribution to India's freedom revolution. But she did finally return to her home country as a very old and ailing revolutionary. Unfortunately she expired on 13th August 1936 and the nation lost a fearless leader.

Jay Prakash Narayan

Jay Prakash Narayan was born in Sitabdiara a village in Ballia of Uttar Pradesh, where Ganga and Sarayu meet. He did his High school from Sisabdiara and thereafter was sent to Patna to do his college and with the blessings of Gandhi he was married in Patna, but his wife was sent to Sarbarmati Asharam. While JP did his studies and went to USA for further studies where he did odd jobs in order to pay for his education.

In 1929 he returned to India and joined the Congress Party. In 1932 he was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for his participation in the civil-disobedience movement against British rule in India, thereafter he formed Congress Socialist Party, a left-wing group within the Indian National Congress

J P was imprisoned by the British again in 1939 for his opposition to Indian participation in World War II on the side of Britain, but escaped and for a short time tried to organize violent resistance to the government before his recapture in 1943. After his release in 1946 he tried to persuade the Congress leaders to adopt a more militant policy against British rule. In 1948 he, together with most of the Congress Socialists, left the Congress Party and formed the Praja Socialist Party in 1952. Soon fed up with the political atmosphere he announced in 1954 that he would now concentrate and devote his life exclusively to the Bhoodan Yajna movement founded by Vinoba Bhave. In 1959 he floated a new agenda for a "reconstruction of Indian polity" by means of a four-tier hierarchy of village, district, state, and union councils.

In 1974 Narayan came back to politics when he saw the rise of corruption in India and the increasingly undemocratic government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He gained a following from students and opposition politicians and from the masses. Narayan was one of the people who wanted Mrs Gandhi to resign, and therefore in Emergency he was put in Jail. In prison his health broke down. He was released after five months but never regained his health. When Gandhi and her party were defeated in elections in 1977, Narayan became the advisor of the Janata party in its choice of leaders to head the new administration. He too died a broken man dreaming to build India where there was true freedom to all

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

To be frank he is one of My Favorite National Leader, The Who started The Indian National Army, Mystery surrounds him. A Man with a Short Stature but with a dashing personality. One of the few person respected by Hitler. Netaji.

Known as Netaji (leader), Mr. Bose was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India . He was the president of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939, and founded a nationalist force called the Indian National Army. He was acclaimed as a semigod, akin to the many mythological heroes like Rama or Krishna, and continues as a legend in Indian mind.Subhas Chandra was born on January 23rd 1897 in Cuttack as the ninth child among fourteen, of Janakinath Bose, an advocate, and Prabhavati Devi, a pious and God-fearing lady. A brilliant student, he topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda's teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. His parents' wishes kept him away from the Indian freedom struggle and led him into studies for the Indian Civil Service in England. Although he finished those examinations also at the top of his class (4th), he could not complete his apprenticeship and returned to India, being deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. He came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress (a.k.a. Congress). Gandhiji directed him to work with Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali leader whom Bose acknowledged as his political guru.Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 (eleven) times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in the forefront of the trade union movement in India and organized Service League, another wing of Congress. He was admired for his great skills in organization development.The Influence of Bose

Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Other younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru supported Bose and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had to adopt Poorna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and the inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement opposing the Gandhi-Irvin Peace Pact. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. But defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again! Clouds of World War II were gathering fast and Bose warned the Indian people and the British against dragging India into the war and the material losses she could incur. He was elected president of the Indian National Congress twice in 1937 and in 1939, the second time defeating Gandhiji's nominee. He brought a resolution to give the British six months to hand India over to the Indians, failing which there would be a revolt. There was much opposition to his rigid stand, and he resigned from the post of president and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block (1939). The Second World War broke out in September of 1939, and just as predicted by Bose, India was declared as a warring state (on behalf of the British) by the Governor General, without consulting Indian leaders. The Congress party was in power in seven major states and all state governments resigned in protest.Subhas Chandra Bose now started a mass movement against utilizing Indian resources and men for the Great War. To him, it made no sense to further bleed poor Indians for the sake of colonial and imperial nations. There was a tremendous response to his call and the British promptly imprisoned him . He took to a hunger-strike, and after his health deteriorated on the 11th day of fasting, he was freed and was placed under house arrest. The British were afraid of violent reactions in India, should something happen to Bose in prison.Bose suddenly disappeared in the beginning of 1941 and it was not until many days that authorities realized Bose was not inside the house they were guarding! He traveled by foot, car and train and resurfaced in Kabul (now in Afghanistan), only to disappear once again. In November 1941, his broadcast from German radio sent shock waves among the British and electrified the Indian masses who realized that their leader was working on a master plan to free their motherland. It also gave fresh confidence to the revolutionaries in India who were challenging the British in many ways.The Axis powers (mainly Germany) assured Bose military and other help to fight the British. Japan by this time had grown into another strong world power, occupying key colonies of Dutch, French, and British colonies in Asia. Bose had struck alliance with Germany and Japan. He rightly felt that his presence in the East would help his countrymen in freedom struggle and second phase of his saga began. It is told that he was last seen on land near Keil canal in Germany, in the beginning of 1943. A most hazardous journey was undertaken by him under water, covering thousands of miles, crossing enemy territories. He was in the Atlantic, the Middle East, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean. Battles were being fought over land, in the air and there were mines in the sea. At one stage he traveled 400 miles in a rubber dingy to reach a Japanese submarine, which took him to Tokyo. He was warmly received in Japan and was declared the head of the Indian army, which consisted of about 40,000 soldiers from Singapore and other eastern regions. Bose called it the Indian National Army (INA) and a government by the name "Azad Hind Government" was declared on the 21st of October 1943. INA freed the Andaman and Nicobar islands from the British and were renamed as Swaraj and Shaheed islands. The Government started functioning.Bose wanted to free India from the Eastern front. He had taken care that Japanese interference was not present from any angle. Army leadership, administration and communications were managed by Indians only. Subhash Brigade, Azad Brigade and Gandhi Brigade were formed. INA marched through Burma and occupied Coxtown on the Indian Border. A touching scene ensued when the solders entered their 'free' motherland. Some lay down and kissed, some placed pieces of mother earth on their heads, others wept. They were now inside of India and were determined to drive out the British! Delhi Chalo (Let's march to Delhi) was the war cry. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the history of mankind. Japan had to surrender. Bose was in Singapore at that time and decided to go to Tokyo for his next course of action. Unfortunately, there was no trace of him from that point. He was just 48 and his death or disappearance is still a mystery. The Indian people were so much enamored of Bose's oratory and leadership qualities, fearlessness and mysterious adventures, that he had become a legend. They refused to believe that he died in the plane crash. The famous Red Fort trial wherein Bose's generals and the INA officers were tried, became landmark events. Initially, the British Government thought of a court-martial, but there was a countrywide protest against any kind of punishment. For common Indians, Axis and Allied powers hardly mattered, but they could not tolerate punishment of fellow countrymen who were fighting for freedom. The British Government was in no position to face open rebellion or mutiny and a general amnesty for INA soldiers was declared.While Bose's approach to Indian freedom continues to generate heated debate in the Indian society today, there is no denying of his burning patriotism, his tireless efforts to free India from inside and outside and his reckless adventures in trying to reach his goals. His exploits later became a legend due to the many stories carried by the disbanded INA soldiers who came from every nook and corner of our great country. Had he been around, Subhas Chandra Bose could have given a new turn to Independent India's political history. But he lives on eternally in the Indian mind

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Everyone appreciated him during his time, Even though some did not accept his ideology but still respect was there for him. Today People say good or bad about him but he had power and the Charisma to lead a Nation. No Man of Ordinary Being can reach to the Level that this man has Reached I am Talking about Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in India and was murdered in 1948 by the fanatic Hindu Nathuram Godsey. Gandhi was a Hindu as well and born in the second highest cast. Hindus hold the belief that people get born in a cast in which they stay their whole life. When their behavior according to the religious rules of Hinduism is good they get in a higher cast in their next life. On the other hand, if they behave badly they get in a lower cast. There are also the Untouchables or people without a cast. People from other casts treat them badly and very often would not even touch them. They live in the biggest poverty and have hardly any chances to live a good life.

In the time Gandhi was born India was a colony of the British Empire. The British ruled the country for several hundred years. Many people lived in great poverty because the British took all the wealth. After school Gandhi went to London and studied Law in an university. He became a lawyer. Shortly after he was back in India an Indian firm wanted him to go to South Africa where he worked for them. In South Africa the Indians were not welcome by the white settlers. One day Gandhi got pushed out of the train when he refused to leave his seat for a white person. It was then that decided never to be pushed down again and to fight for the rights of minorities. He started to lead the Indian workers in South Africa and fought for their rights. He made a very important rule for himself which he used his whole life: never to use violence in his fights, even if others would use violence against him. So he started to fight for the rights of Indian workers in South Africa and he had great success. And he never used violence.
He started a project (ashram) where people from different religions lived together in peace and freedom. He never made no secrets of anything and was a nice and friendly person throughout his whole life. When he came back to India crowds were already waiting and cheering for him at the harbor and people celebrated his arrival. But that did not make him happy. He wanted to live like most of the people in India: out in the countryside and poor. He wanted to be one of them, one of the country he was born in but was away from for so long. So he started traveling through the country by train in the third class wagons. There he saw a lot of India and a lot of the ways how people lived and worked there. Very soon he became the leader of the Indian Campaign for Home-Rule. The Indians loved him because he was so close to them. He lived in the country and lived an easy life of joy and satisfaction. And he started spinning. He continued spinning for the rest of his life from then on. He had the opinion that a lot of poverty in India was the result of all the clothes that were produced in and imported from Great Britain to India. Since spinning used to be a common job for people in the Indian villages, Gandhi believed that these imported goods destroyed great parts of India´s economy and thus many people lost their work. Gandhi encouraged the people to start spinning again if they do not have anything better to do because so they could make some money and would produce something. One day - as a symbolic event - he asked his followers on a big meeting to throw all their British clothes on a big fire. He encouraged them not to buy any more British clothes but to produce and buy their own Indian clothes. After that many people started to boycott British goods. People in the British factories got unemployed but more people in India had something to do. That was only one step to India's independence from the British.

Another very important step to independence was that he asked the whole nation to strike for one day. And they did. Nothing worked on that day. There was virtually no traffic, mail was not delivered, factories were not working and - for the British a very important thing - the telegraph lines did not work and the British in India were cut off their mother country. It was then that they first realized Gandhi's power in India. There was another very important event on India's way to independence. The British had control of the salt that was taken out of the sea. Indians had to pay taxes for the salt nobody could live without. Gandhi thought that the rule over the salt industry was one of the British basics to rule India. He started a march over 140 miles (about 200 kilometers) to the ocean. When he started, Gandhi had only a few hundred followers but when they reached the sea they were a group of many thousands of people. People from many villages which they came by decided to walk with them. When they arrived at the sea Gandhi took a handful of salt. That was a symbolic action and he asked everybody to do the same. After the police "cleaned" them all away from the beach they decided to walk into the salt factories and take salt from there. The British ordered soldiers to stand before the gate to the factories and not let anyone in. The protesters walked to them and tried to walk in, only five at a time. And the soldiers hit them all until they could not walk any further. Women picked them up and took them away. No one on the side of the protesters used violence.

Most of Gandhi's actions were a great success. The reason was that the British did not know how to act against an enemy who does not use violence. But it was very important as well that the media all over the world talked about Gandhi and his actions because otherwise there would not have been enough public pressure upon the British officials. More and more people everywhere in the world agreed with Gandhi when they saw the British violence against the non-violent people. And they loved him because he was so close to the people in his country. To work together with the press and to have no secrets was one of the important things of his work. Gandhi went to jail very often in his life. He was arrested several times in South Africa as well as in India. He used the time in jail to think and plan other actions. He also used the time to think about how he could help the Untouchables. He was a religious man and believed in casts but he did not think that God wanted Untouchables to have no rights. He went for long walks through India to collect money for the Untouchables and he fought for their rights his whole life. He also fought for the peaceful understanding of different religions. When fights broke out between Hindus and Moslems he tried to talk to them and when that did not help he started to fast which he did a lot of times in his life. Once he nearly fasted to death when Hindus and Moslems fought against each other. Then the fights stopped and the two religions started to live together in peace again. He also fasted when he heard of violence against the British or against soldiers or policemen. Violence made him very sad and he had more than once the feeling that all he had done was useless when people fought each other again.

When people came to him and said that it would be their right to kill someone if that person had killed their son or wife Gandhi used to reply: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". During the Second World War Britain did not have much power to keep India as a colony anymore and they started to talk about independence. After the war, in 1947 India got finally independent and the British left the country. But Gandhi did not feel like celebrating because religious fights broke out again. But with his speeches to the people and finally with his fast he stopped the violence and people lived together again. But India was divided into India and Pakistan. Pakistan was the part where most people were Muslims and India was the part with mainly Hindus. Gandhi did not want to divide the country but he could not help it. Shortly after his last fast with which he stopped the religious violence a fanatic Hindu shot him at his daily prayer.

Gandhi and his influence in the nonviolent movement

I think Mohandas Gandhi was one of the most significant persons in the 20th century. He was the one who proved that it is possible to fight very successfully without violence. He fought his whole life with humanity, tolerance, ideas and without violence. He showed the way to a better world. And still today there are many people who love him and who use his philosophy to change the world. A very important example is the fight against wars. Usually people who fight against a war try to fight without violence. They march through cities and try to convince people not to go to the war or something like that.

Another very popular example is the fight against nuclear energy or nuclear weapons. Demonstrators sit on the road in front of a nuclear power station or block the way of trucks or trains that carry nuclear waste. Or, very popular example, the French tests of nuclear weapons in the pacific 1996. People opposed them and the press all over the world was talking about these tests. That was non-violent resistance. Marches all over the world and other non-violent actions. Another good example is "Greenpeace". They fight for nature and their most important weapon is the public opinion. They do not use violence but they use the press. The actions they do are very spectacular and interesting for the whole world. Many people all over the world agree with what they are doing. An example for not using violence even if others use it against them was when they went very close to where the French wanted to test their nuclear weapons and the French soldiers entered their boat and destroyed lots of things and hit the Greenpeace activists. And all that was filmed by Greenpeace and these pictures were sent all over the world and came in the news everywhere. Also Martin Luther King did not use violence in his fight for the rights of the black people in America.

An example which all of us see and experience from time to time is the strike. Gandhi made the strike as a way of fighting popular and it is still widely used today. In the beginning of the 20th century the British Empire was the biggest empire in the world. India was it's biggest colony and was very important to Britain. Gandhi managed to get India independent of the British. The biggest Empire in the world lost a war of independence against a country like India that not even used violence and good weapons for its fights. That was a sign for the world. And especially for the other countries ruled by the British. It was then that many of those countries saw their chance for independence. Gandhi showed them the way. That was one of the main causes for the independency of many of those countries.

In the 1960's most colonies in Africa became independent and also Indochina became independent. I think that was also one of the things Gandhi caused or helped causing. Gandhi fought for the rights of minorities and people who were pushed down their whole life. He encouraged every one to stand up for their rights and to fight against cruelty. He showed the whole world how easy it is to fight for the rights and how successful it can be if there are many people fighting for the same cause together. Many people in the whole world decided to start fighting for their rights when they realized how successful Gandhi was. That was the start of many fights for humanity and for rights of minorities. Good examples are the fights of the blacks in North America. Especially Martin Luther King fought under the influence of things Gandhi had said. Or the fights in South America under Ché Guevara or even the fights of Aborigines in Australia. But those are only a few examples.

Fights for rights happened and still happen all over the world again and again because there are always people who push others down. I think Gandhi played a big part in the fight for humanity and the rights of minorities. I think Gandhi was and is still a very significant person. He changed people's minds and opened lots of people´s minds. Still today when people see the movie that was made about his life and his fights they think about this person and how successful non-violence and rebellion can be. And that it is important to save the (human) life and not to destroy it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri (born 1904) succeeded Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister of India in 1964. Though eclipsed by such stalwarts of the Congress party as Kamaraj (the Kingmaker) and Morarji Desai, Finance Minister in Nehru's government, Shastri emerged as the consensus candidate in the midst of party warfare. He had not been in power long before he had to attend to the difficult matter of Pakistani aggression, as represented by India, along the Rann of Kutch; and though a cease-fire under the auspices of the United Nations put a temporary halt to the fighting, the scene of conflict soon shifted to the more troubled spot of Kashmir. While Pakistan claimed that a spontaneous uprising against the Indian occupation of Kashmir had taken place, India charged Pakistan with fomenting sedition inside its territory and sending armed raiders into Jammu and Kashmir from Azad Kashmir. Shastri promised to meet force with force, and by early September the second Indo-Pakistan war had commenced.
Though the Indian army reached the outskirts of Lahore, Shastri agreed to withdraw Indian forces. He had always been identified with the interests of the working class and peasants since the days of his involvement with the freedom struggle, and now his popularity agree. But his triumph was short-lived: invited in January 1966 by the Russian Premier, Aleksei Kosygin, to Tashkent for a summit with General Muhammad Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan and commander of the nation's armed forces, Shastri suffered a fatal heart attack hours after signing a treaty where India and Pakistan agreed to not meddle in each other's internal affairs and "not to have recourse to force and to settle their disputes through peaceful means. Shastri's body was brought back to India, and a memorial, not far from the national memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, was built to honor him. It says, in fitting testimony to Shastri, "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" ("Honor the Soldier, Honor the Farmer"). He is, however, a largely forgotten figure, another victim of the engineering of India's social memory by Indira Gandhi and her clan

Deshbandhu:Chittranjan Das

Chittranjan Das was born on November 5, 1870 in Calcutta. Das descended from a family of "vaidyas" or physicians. His father, Bhuben Mohan Das, was a lawyer and journalist. His mother's name was Nistarini Devi. Das developed a logical mind owing to his father and a liberal outlook and a deep sense of hospitality owing to his mother. As a child, Das was deeply imbued with patriotism and recited patriotic poems. After school, Das entered the Presidency college. He excelled at English but did poorly in Mathematics. Das developed a keen interest in Bengali literature and read most works of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Rabindranath Tagore. On his father's advice, Das joined the Bar and the Inner Temple in London. He became a barrister in 1893.
Das started practicing in the Calcutta High court and had the opportunity to defend national workers like Bipin Chandra Pal and Arvinda Ghosh. The case against Arvinda Ghosh came to be known as the Alipore Bomb Conspiracy. Two attempts on the life of the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, Mr. Kingsford, were made because he was ruthless while handing out punishments. The first attempt through a mail bomb was a failure. The second attempt was made by Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki. The attempt resulted in the death of 2 innocent English women but Lord Kingsford escaped. Prafulla committed suicide and Khudiram was captured and sentenced to death. A witch hunt ensued and A. Ghosh was labelled the master-mind behind the blasts by the British Government. Nobody was ready to defend Ghosh except Chittranjan Das. The entire trial lasted for 126 days, 200 witnesses were examined, 4000 paper exhibits and 500 material exhibits in the form of bombs and explosives were filed in the case. Das's concluding statements alone lasted for 9 days. Arvinda Ghosh was acquitted. Das accepted no fee for defending Ghosh; in fact he incurred a heavy loss of Rs. 15,000 by the time the case was complete.
Besides being an astute lawyer, Das was a literary man. He has works like Mala and Antaryami (poems expressing religious spirit and devotion), and Kishore Kishori (poem expressing the eternal love between Lord Krishna and Radha). Along with Arvinda Ghosh, he founded the famous journal Bande Mataram. He was also the editor in chief of the journal Forward, a mouthpiece of the Swaraj party.
Das was moved by Gandhiji's call for non-violent resistance to the British Government. The Indian Reforms Act, also known as the Montford Reforms were passed in 1919 in Britain. The reforms were aimed at achieving a responsible government in India. Das moved a resolution declaring the reforms "inadequate, unsatisfactory and disappointing." He appealed to the Government to make a conscientious effort for setting up a more responsible government in India. The Congress accepted Das's resolution with a few amendments. A sub-committee recommended a boycott of educational institutions, law courts and legislative councils. Das believed that most effective way to gain freedom was to fight the British from without and within. He favored the boycott of the schools and courts but opposed the boycott of legislative councils.
Das declared that he would give up his practice to set an example for his people. Das played an important role in the boycott of the arrival of Prince of Wales in Calcutta on November 17, 1920. When the Prince stepped into the city he found it deserted. Das did his best to keep the boycott complete and peaceful. He organized the Congress Volunteers Corps for effectively implementing Congress programs. He enrolled one crore volunteers to raise Rs 1 crore for the Tilak Swaraj Memorial Fund. The volunteers were involved in picketing Government offices, shops selling foreign goods, liquor shops. They were also involved in selling khaddar. This led to an unprecedented mass awakening.
The fallout of the boycott of colleges resulted in many students with no educational institution to go to. Das setup the Bengal National College to fulfill the demands of the students. In December 1921 Das was arrested. Getting into the police car Das told the crowd, "Men and women of India. This is my message to you. Victory is in sight if you are prepared to win it through suffering." Conches were blown and flowers showered on Deshbandhu (literally: friend of the nation) as he was fondly called for the sacrifices he made for the freedom struggle, as the police car started. Deshbandhu was first imprisoned in the Presidency Jail and was moved to the Central Jail where many of his followers were imprisoned. Das was released the following year.
Deshbandhu, along with Motilal Nehru, founded the Swaraj Party in 1923 for maintaining of continued participation in legislative councils. The party was soon recognized as the parliamentary wing of the Congress. In Bengal many of the candidates fielded by the Swaraj Party were elected to office. The Governor invited Deshbandhu to form a government but he declined. The party came to be a powerful opposition in the Bengal Legislative Council and inflicted defeats on three ministries.
The Calcutta Municipal Act of 1923 was a major landmark in the history of local self-government in India. The Swarajists were elected to the Calcutta Corporation in a majority in 1924. Deshbandhu was elected mayor and Subash Chandra Bose was appointed Chief Executive Officer. Greater efficiency was brought to the administration and many welfare projects were implemented. After giving up his legal practice Deshbandhu went from one of the richest men in Calcutta to one of the poorest. His liabilities amounted to one lakh rupees. The only asset he had was his huge building in Calcutta which he wanted to gift to the nation. Deshbandhu set up a fund, which was later made the Deshbandhu Memorial Fund through Gandhiji's intervention to clear his liabilities, build a temple, establish an orphanage and provide education to the masses. establish an orphanage and provide education to the masses. The total amount collected by the fund amounted to eight lakh rupees. Deshbandhu's home was converted to a hospital for women and is called Chittranjan Seva Sadan.
The struggle with the Government became more intense on account of the legalization of the oppressive Bengal Ordinance which authorized arrest of individuals suspected of terrorism without probable cause. Das had returned with a high fever from the Belgaum Congress session of 1925. When he heard that the ordinance was to be legalized on January 7, 1925, Deshbandhu declared from his sickbed, "The Black Bill is coming up for discussion. I must attend at any cost and oppose it." He was taken to the Council on a stretcher attended by two doctors. The bill was defeated. On June 16, 1925, Deshbandhu's condition worsened. He died while resting in Darjeeling. On Deshbandhu's death, Subash Chandra Bose said, "The death of Deshbandhu... was for India a national calamity... ."

Velu Thambi Dalava

History taught us 1857 - The First war of Independence. Mangal Pandey as first Person to revolt.
But we have forgotten many others much, much earlier to Mangal Pandey as Velu Thambi Dalava and many others. Is History Right is one question I got in my mind when I got to know about this freedom fighter.
I got very Little Information about this Valued son of our Motherland. I request if anyone has more info about Velu Thambi , Please share

Velu Thambi Dalava- A prominent freedom fighter. Velu Thampi led what is perhaps the most courageous rebellion against the British which started as a direct fall out of the British Resident Macauly's humiliating interference in the affairs of the Thiruvithamkur (Current Trivandrum, Kerala). The revolt started in 1808 . The Kundara Proclamation of 1809 was an open call to arms and thousands flocked to his banner. Initially, he was helped in his cause by the Dewan of Kochi, Paliath Achan, but in the later stages he fought a lonely campaign against the British. He was no match for the military might of the British Army and finally fled the state and reportedly committed suicide in March 1809. Most of Velu Thampi's followers were either hanged or imprisoned after the termination of hostilities. There would not be any insurrection on this scale for the rest of the British presence in Kerala. This prime minister of Travancore got fed up by the constant interferences of the East Endia Company into his kingdom's internal affairs and in 1807 he issued the famous Kundara Declaration which called the people to rise in revolt against the British. The people whole-heartedly joined him but the sheer size and numbers of the British Army made it a less than fair fight. The king eager to safeguard his throne declared Velu Thambi a traitor and the proud and loyal Dalawa committed suicide and his family members exiled to Maldives. Velu Thampi Dalawa, the Minister of Bala Rama Varma, Maharaja of Travancore, has often been cited as representing an epoch-making beginning in the struggle for emancipation from the British. It is yet to be historically classified as a part of the first phase of India's struggle for Independence.

Jatindra Nath Das

Jatindra Nath Das (also known as Jatin Das) (27 October 1904 - 13 September 1929) was an Indian freedom fighter and revolutionary. The death of Jatin Das in Lahore jail after 63 days of hunger strike shocked the whole of India

Jatindra Nath Das was born in Kolkata. He joined Anushilan Samiti - a revolutionary outfit in Bengal. Jatindra participated in Gandhi's Non-Cooperation movement in 1921. In November 1925, while studying for a B.A. at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata, Jatindra Nath was arrested for his political activities and was imprisoned in Mymensingh Central Jail. Protesting against the ill treatment of political prisoners, he went on a hunger strike. After 20 days, when the Jail Superintendent apologized, Jatin gave up the fast. He was contacted by revolutionaries in other parts of India and agreed to participate in bomb-making for Bhagat Singh and comrades. On 14 June 1929 he was arrested for terrorist activities and was imprisoned in Lahore jail to be tried under the supplementary Lahore Conspiracy Case.

The hunger strike
In the Lahore jail, Jatin Das, along with other prisoners, started a hunger strike demanding jail reforms and rights of prisoners and under trials. This memorable hunger strike started on 13 July 1929 and lasted 63 days. The jail authority took many measures to feed Jatin, including attempts to feed forcefully. However, Jatindra did not eat. He died hunger strike unbroken, on 13 September.As his body was carried from Lahore to Kolkata by train, thousands of people rushed to every station to pay their homage to the martyr. A two-mile long procession in Kolkata carried the coffin to the cremation ground. The hunger strike of Jatin Das in prison was one crucial moment in the resistance against illegal detentions, and highlighted cold-hearted brutality of British colonialism

Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar was born on 23 July 1906 to Pandit Sita Ram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. He received his early schooling in Bhavra. For higher studies he went to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi.
Chandrasekhar Azad (July 23, 1906 – February 27, 1931) was a great Indian freedom fighter and revolutionary thinker. Revered for his audacious deeds and fierce patriotism, he was the mentor of Bhagat Singh, the famous Indian martyr. Chandrasekhar Azad is considered one of the greatest Indian freedom fighter along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Ashfaqulla Khan.

Young Azad was one of the young generation of Indians when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement. But many were disillusioned with the suspension of the struggle in 1922 owing to the Chauri Chaura massacre of 22 policemen. Although Gandhi was appalled by the brutal violence, Azad did not feel that violence was unacceptable in the struggle, especially in view of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, where Army units killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and wounded thousands in Amritsar. Young Azad and contemporaries like Bhagat Singh were deeply and emotionally influenced by that tragedy.
As a revolutionary, he adopted the last name Azad, which means "Free" in Urdu. There is an interesting story that while he adopted the name "Azad" he made a pledge that the Police will never capture him alive. Azad and others had committed themselves to absolute independence by any means. He was most famous for The Kakori Rail Dacoity in 1925 and the assassination of the assistant superintendent of Police John Poyantz Saunders in 1928. Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people, or for beating and torturing arrested freedom fighters.
Azad was also a believer in socialism as the basis for a future India, free of social and economic oppression and adversity.

With Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh joined Azad following the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, an Indian leader who was beaten to death by police officials. Azad trained Singh and others in covert activities, and the latter grew close to him after witnessing his resolve, patriotism and courage. Along with fellow patriots like Rajguru and Sukhdev, Azad and Singh formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, committed to complete Indian independence and socialist principles of for India's future progress.
Betrayed by an informer on 27 February 1931 Azad was encircled by British troops in the Alfred park, Allahabad. He kept on fighting till the last bullet. Finding no other alternative, except surrender, Azad shot himself in the temple.

Escape and Death
On the 27th of February, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades, the names of whom are highly disputed. However, most people belive that they were a Veer Bhadra and a Prithvi Raj Azad. Prithvi Raj claims that he was there along with Veer Bhadra for a briefing on his mission to Russia. The Revolutionaries of the HSRA or the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association were planning a revolution in India with the help of the Communists of Russia. He further states that Veer Bhadra excused himself saying he had an appointment and left. He had been behaving highly suspiciously for a few days. A few minutes later a brigade of policemen suddenly fired a shot and had the park surrounded. Azad asked Prithvi Raj to flee and said that he would continue the fight. He was injured in his leg. The superintendent asked him to raise his hands and come out. Next moment he fell to the ground in agony as a bullet ripped through his arm. The brigade opened merciless fire in the course of which Azad was badly injured. He himself had already shot at least three policemen dead and many more were injured. At Alfred Park, behind an ancient tree, Azad made his last stand, a bold and defiant one. Till his last breath the soldiers were terrified of his sharp shooting skills. And this was to be the final stage of a heroic epic, the final scene in his life as well as the romantic revolutionaries of the HSRA. Seeing no way out Azad loaded his last bullet into his gun, it would be the last bullet he ever fired; he would be the last man he ever killed in the struggle for Indian Independence. Chandrashekhar Azad put the gun to his temple and shot himself. He had vowed to remain Azad or free all his life. He said that as long as he had his bumtulbukara or his pistol no one would ever catch him alive. He said that he would never be taken to the gallows tied up the way monkeys are, and made to dance by the British. His favourite couplet and only known composition is as follows: "Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee raheinge!" Years of man hunt, terror, raids, assassinations and demonstrations had at last ended for the British Raj. With him all the revolutionaries were finished. The next time the British would face so grave a problem and so fierce an enemy would be 10 years later in 1941. There would be a much more developed and well organised army then lead by none other than the Netaji - Subhash Chandra Bose, an ardent supporter and sympathizer of Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.

Contemporary View
Azad is a hero to many Indians today. Alfred Park was renamed Chandrasekhar Azad park, as have been scores of schools, colleges, roads and other public institutions across India. Ever since Manoj Kumar's Shaheed Bhagat Singh film made in 1964, Azad's character has become central to any film or commemoration of the life and deeds of Bhagat Singh and his friends. He was played by Sunny Deol in 2002, in a film on Bhagat Singh.
The patriotism of Azad, Sukhdev, Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan was also depicted in Rang De Basanti, a contemporary Bollywood film starring Aamir Khan that released in February 2006. The movie, which draws parallels between the lives of young freedom fighters such as Azad and Bhagat Singh and today's youth, also dwells upon the lack of appreciation among Indian youth today for the sacrifices made by these freedom fighters. The film also depicts the famous Kakori train robbery

Batukeshwar Dutt

Batukeshwar Dutt Alias Battu, s/o Gosta Bihari Dutt, Oari village, Khanda, Burdwan, U.P. was member of Hindusthan Socialist Republican Army and a close friend of Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Working in Kanpur for the party . Know how to make friends. He along with Bhagat Singh had thrown bomb in the Central Assembly on 8th April 1929 to register protest of the patriotic Indian people against the Trade dispute bill and raised the slogan " Inquilab Zindabad" Sent up in Central Assembly bomb case. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt were sentenced to transportation for life in the Delhi Assembly Bomb Case. After conviction they were transferred to Mianwali and Lahore jails respectively. They started hunger strike for better treatment to political prisoners in jails. After a few days Bhagat Singh was also shifted from Mianwali to Lahore Central Prison. Dutt was already there. They jointly addressed this letter to the Home Member, Government of India, enumerating their demands. From here started a period of prolonged struggle for better treatment to political prisoners in jails. Later Dutt was Sentenced on 12th June 1929 to life imprisonment from the court of session Judge of Delhi under section 307 Indian Penal Code and 4 Explosive Act. Deported to the Cellular Jail .Participated in two hunger strikes in Cellular Jail. Rapatriated in 1937. Released from Bankipur jail in the year 1938
Letter Addressed to Home Member , Government of India

Central Jail Lahore

WE, BHAGAT SINGH AND B.K. DUTT, WERE SENTENCED to life transportation in the Assembly Bomb Case, Delhi, on the 19th April, 1929. As long as we were undertrial prisoners in Delhi Jail, we were accorded a very good treatment from that jail to the Mianwali and Lahore Central Jails respectively, we wrote an application to the higher authorities asking for better diet and a few other facilities, and refused to take the jail diet. Our demands were as follows:

1) We, as political prisoners, should be given better diet and the standard of our diet should at least be the same as that of European prisoners. (It is not the sameness of dietary that we demand, but the sameness of standard of diet.)
2) We shall no be forced to do any hard and undignified lobours at all.
3) All books, other than those proscribed, alongwith writing materials, should be allowed to us without any restriction.
4) At least one standard daily paper should be supplied to every political prisoner.
5) Political prisoners should have a special ward of their own in every jail, provided with all necessities as those of the europeans. And all the political prisoners in one jail must be kept together in that ward.
6) Toilet necessities should be supplied.
7) Better clothing.
We have explained above the demands that we made. They are the most reasonable demands. The Jail authorities told us one day that the higher authorities have refused to comply with our demands.

Apart from that, they handle us very roughly while feeding us artificially, and Bhagat Singh was lying quite senseless on the 10th June, 1929, for about 15 mts., after the forcible feeding, which we request to be stopped without any further delay.

In addition, we may be permitted to refer to the recommendations made in the U.P. Jail Committee by Pt. Jagat Narain and K.B. Hafiz Hidayat Hussain. They have recommended the political prisoners to be treated as "Better Class Prisoners." We request you to kindly consider our demands at your earliest convenience.

- By "Political Prisoners", we mean all those people who are convicted for offences against the State, for instane the people who were convicted in the Lahore Conspiracy Cases, 1915-17, the Kakori Conspiracy Cases and Sedition Cases in general.
Bhagat Singh
B.K. Dutt

Shaheed Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru

The Three are always remembered together for their great Sacrifice. Just imagine age of 21 going on a Hunger Strike for a more than two Months, bearing all the Torture by the British. Today the Third of the Three Great Sons Shaheed Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru.

Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru was born in an average middle-class Hindu Brahmin family at Khed in Poona district in 1906. He came to Varanasi at a very early age where he learnt Sanskrit and read the Hindu religious scriptures. He had a good memory and learnt by heart the ‘Laghu Siddhant Kaumudi’. He loved physical exercises and was associated with a number of such associations. He had great admiration for Shivaji and his guerilla tactics.
At Varanasi, he came in contact with revolutionaries. He joined the movement and became an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (H.S.R.A). He was known in the party under the pseudonym of Raghunath. Rajguru had fearless spirit and indomitable courage. The only object of his adoration and worship was his motherland for whose liberation he considered no sacrifice too great. He was a close associate of Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sardar Bhagat Singh and Jatin Das and his field of activity was U.P and Punjab, with Kanpur, Agra and Lahore as his headquarters. Rajguru was a good shot and was regarded as the gunman of the party. He took part in various activities of the revolutionary movement, the most important being Saunder’s murder. Lala Lajpat Rai, an eminent nationalist leader and popular amongst the revolutionaries, was fatally wounded in a police lathi- charge on 20 October 1928, while leading a procession against the Simon Commission, and died on 17 November 1928. The revolutionaries planned to avenge Lalaji’s death by killing the Police Superintendent, Scott and the Deputy Superitendent of Police, Saunders who were responsible for the lathi charge leading to the death of Lalaji. Chandra Shekhar Azad, Shiv Ram Rajguru, Bhagat Singh and Jai Gopal were deputed for the work. On 17 December 1928, while Saunders came out of his office and started his motor- cycle, he was shot dead in front of the police headquarters at Lahore by Rajguru. Azad shot dead Channan Singh, a Head Constable, who wanted to chase the three revolutionaries. All of them escaped through the D.A.V. College compound: The same night posters of the HSRA declaring “Saunders is dead. Lalaji is avenged” were put up throughout the city of Lahore. On 20 December, Rajguru left Lahore disguised as Bhagat Singh’s servant, who travelled in a first class compartment with the wife and the young son of the revolutionary Bhagawati Charan. He left Bhagat Singh at Lucknow and went underground.
Later Bhagat Singh was arrested in the Assembly Bomb Case and several other revolutionaries were arrested with the help of approvers (Jai Gopal, Phanindra Nath and Hansraj Vohra). Rajguru was arrested at Poon on 30 September 1929 and a revolver with fourteen cartridges was recovered from a box where he was sleeping. The Government started a case against sixteen persons (including Rajguru), known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case. Judgement was delivered on 7 October 1930, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to death and the other accused were awarded various terms of imprisonment. The whole nation was awakened and the names of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev became as popular as that of Mahatma Gandhi. Meetings, processions and representations were made for commutation of their death sentence. Mahatma Gandhi and the leaders of the Indian National Congress attempted to save their lives, but they failed. An appeal to the Privy Council was alos rejected. Rajguru along with his two comrades was hanged in the Lahore jail in the evening of 23 March 1931 and their bodies were burnt under police supervision. At the time of his martyrdom, Rajguru was hardly twenty- three years of age.
The execution of the young revolutionaries was regarded as a national disaster and national mourning was observed throughout the country. The A.I.C.C session at Karachi (1931) met under gloom and passed a resolution “placing on record its admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Sardar Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru and mourning with the bereaved families the loss of these lives. The Congress is of opinion that the triple execution is an act of wanton vengeance and is a deliberate flounting of the unanmious demand of the nation for commutation.”

Amar Shaheed Sukhdev

It was late Twenties when the whole country was agitated over the Police assault on Lala Lajpat Rai while leading an anti-Simon procession in Lahore. The injuries claimed one of the stalwarts of Indian politics as its victim.
The revolutionaries of Northwest took the vow of avenging the death while watching the funeral flames devouring the mortal remains of the Lion of Punjab, on the 17th December 1928, the Asst. Commissioner of Police, Saunders, was done to death in broad day light. A Conspiracy case soon followed and Sukhdev found his place as one of the principal accused. It was during this case that Jatin Das sacrificed his life for the vindication of the political prisoners by restoring to a hunger strike, which cost him life but earned him the epithet of ‘McSwiney of India’.
Born at Lyalpur, Sukhdev had his training in the revolutionary movement along with Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. He had set up a small factory at Lahore for the manufacture of bomb and was arrested there. In the trial that followed he had equal, honor with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru in receiving capital punishment. On the 20th March, 1931, the ‘Three Musketeers’ went up the gallows inside the Lahore Central Jail

Amar Shaheed Bhagat Singh

One evening a boy of three was out for a walk with his father. There was also an elderly man with the father. Chatting they walked on and went beyond the village. Green crop delighted the eyes. The elders were walking along the edge of a field. Not hearing the footsteps of the boy, the father looked back. The boy was sitting on the ground and seemed to be planting some thing. The father became curious.
"What are you doing?" said he.
"Look, father, I shall grow guns all over the field" was the innocent reply of the boy. His eyes shone with the strong faith that guns would grow in the field. Both the elders were struck with wonder at the little boy's words.
The boy was Bhagat Singh who later fought like a hero for India's freedom and sacrificed his life.
Family of Patriots
Bhagat Singh was born in a Sikh family of farmers in the village of Banga of Layalpur district of Punjab (now in Pakistan) on September 27th of 1907. His family stood for patriotism, reform, and freedom of the country. His grandfather Arjun Singh was drawn to Arya Samaj, a reformist movement of Hinduism, and took keen interest in proceedings of the Indian National Congress. Bhagat Singh's father Kishen Singh and uncle Ajit Singh were members of Ghadr Party founded in the U.S. in early years of this century to route British rule in India. Both were jailed for alleged anti-British activities. Ajit Singh had 22 cases against him and was forced to flee to Iran. Thereafter he went to Turkey, Austria, Germany and finally to Brazil to escape Black Water (Kalapani) punishment for his revolutionary activities in India.

The Jalianwala Bagh Massacre
Young Bhagat Singh was brought up in a politically charged state of Punjab which was left with a seething memory of the Jalianwala massacre of more than 400 innocent lives and thousands injured (1919). As a lad of fourteen he went to this spot to collect soil from the park of Jalianwala (bagh) in his lunch box, sanctified by the blood of the innocent and kept it as a memento for life.
Bhagat Singh was studying at the National College founded by Lala Lajpatrai, a great revolutionary leader and reformist. To avoid early marriage, he ran away from home and, became a member of the youth organization Noujawan Bharat Sabha which had memberships of all sects and religions. He met Chandra Shekhar Sharma (Azad), B.K. Dutt and other revolutionaries. They used to print handouts and newspapers in secret and spread political awareness in India through Urdu, Punjabi and English. These were all banned activities in India at the time, punishable with imprisonment.
The Simon Commission, Murder of Lala Lajpatrai and the Revenge
Anti-British feelings were spreading; Indians wanted some proper representation in running the administration of their country to which British reciprocated only on paper. Noticing restlessness was spreading, the British Government appointed a commission under the leadership of Sir John Simon in 1928, to report on political happenings. There was no single Indian member in this commission, and all the political parties decided to boycott the commission when it planned to visit major cities of India.
In Lahore, Lala Lajpatrai (picture) and Pandit Madan Mohan Malavia decided to protest to the commission in open about their displeasure. It was a silent protest march, yet the police chief Scott had banned meetings or processions. Thousands joined, without giving room for any untoward incident. Even then, Scott beat Lala Lajpatrai severely with a lathi (bamboo stick) on the head several times. Finally the leader succumbed to the injuries.
Bhagat Singh who was an eye witness to the morbid scene vowed to take revenge and with the help of Azad, Rajguru and Sukhadev plotted to kill Scott. Unfortunately he killed Mr. Sanders, a junior officer, in a case of mistaken identity. He had to flee from Lahore to escape death punishment.

Bomb in the Assembly
Instead of finding the root cause for discontent of Indians, the British government took to more repressive measures. Under the Defense of India Act, it gave more power to the police to arrest persons to stop processions with suspicious movements and actions. The act brought in the council was defeated by one vote. Even then it was to be passed in the form of an ordinance in the "interest of the public." No doubt the British were keen to arrest all leaders who opposed its arbitrary actions, and Bhagat Singh who was in hiding all this while, volunteered to throw a bomb in the central assembly where the meeting to pass the ordinance was being held. It was a carefully laid out plot, not to cause death or injury but to draw the attention of the government, that the modes of its suppression could no more be tolerated. It was agreed that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt would court arrest after throwing the bomb.
It was a forgone conclusion in 1929 April 8th at Delhi Central Assembly. Singh and Dutt threw handouts, and bombed in the corridor not to cause injury and courted arrest after shouting slogans Inquilab Zindabad (Long Live, Revolution!)
Meanwhile the killers of Sanders were identified by the treachery of Bhagat Singh's friends who became "Approvers." Bhagat Singh thought the court would be a proper venue to get publicity for the cause of freedom, and did not want to disown the crime. But he gave a fiery statement giving reasons for killing which was symbolic of freedom struggle. He wanted to be shot like a soldier, and not die at the gallows. But, his plea was rejected, and he was hanged on the 23rd of March 1931. He was 24.
Bhagat Singh became a legendary hero for the masses. Innumerable songs were composed about him, and the youth throughout the country made him their ideal. He became a symbol of bravery and a goal to free India

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak, born on July23 1856,was one of the earliest architect of the edifice of nationalist movement in India. He received formal and collage education mainly in Poona. He passed B.A. in first class and it was during this time he was highly influenced by western Thinkers like Hegel, Kant, Spencer, Mill and Bentham. The studies made him realise the state in which his motherland existed under British Rule. After graduation he spurned the Government service and devoted his time in national awakening. He joined fellow activists like Agarkar, Chiplunkar and Namjoshi to set up New English School. He joined the Indian National Congress, which acquired a new dimension because of his stature. He opposed the 'Age of Consent Bill' strongly. It was at this time he emerged as a strong-voiced politician. In 1896, Bombay was hit by a deadly Plague. Tilak, who edited the newspapers, 'Kesari' and 'Marattha', hit back strongly at the administrative system charging them of taking inadequate measures and ignoring responsibilities. The British lawmakers didn't find it amusing and he was jailed for 18 months. In1907, he formed a radicalist faction inside the Congress and started the Home-Rule League along with an Irish lady, Ms. Annie Besant. Though a conservatist towards social reforms, he was a pioneer to foresee that mass support was needed to make his motherland free from imperialistic clutches. In order to bring the Maratha people together on the same platform, he started the celebration of Shivaji Festival. In 1908 he aimed at militant mass movement and expressed his views on Swarajya at the Calcutta session of I.N.C. In the same year he was arrested for conspiring against the Queen when he raised his voice against the partition of Bengal. He was jailed for 6 years. When the 'Indian Reforms Act' was introduced in 1919, he rejected it describing it as inadequate, disappointing and unsatisfactory. He launched the Congress Democratic Party in 1920 but before he could take up the action, he suddenly died on 1st August, leaving behind millions of mourners.A champion of the downtrodden people, Tilak was given the sobriquet "Lokmanya". He also authored books such as 'Geeta Rahasya" and "Arctic Home of Vedas

Annie Besant

Annie Besant was born to William Wood and Emily Morris in 1847. When she was five years old, her father, who was a doctor, passed away leaving her alone with her mother. Her mother, Emily, had to take care of Annie so she took up a job with a boarding school and left Annie with one of her friends.

In 1866, she tied the nuptial knot with Rev. Frank Besant and by the age of twenty-three she already had two children.
After some years of marriage she discovered that her independent views clashed with the religious views of her husband. When she refused to attend a communion, her husband asked her to leave home. They agreed to a divorce and parted ways.

She took her University degree in Sanskrit literature, English literature and Indian history from the Benaras Hindu University. She became a supporter of Theosophy in 1890 and believed in the Hindu law of Karma and reincarnation. Subsequently she came to live in India in 1893 and remained interested in the subject of women's rights. She was motivated by the freedom struggle of India and started the Home Rule League in India making it a household name. Her political career saw her being elected as the president of the Congress in 1917. She argued with the Indian leaders, especially Gandhiji, on some points such as if the people disregard the law ( in terms of the non co-operation movement) they will be hard to control when the country gets independence. This brought about some decline in her popularity. She was instrumental in drafting the Commonwealth of India Bill with help from Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru.

She opened a mock parliament that was used to train people in parliamentary affairs. It included mental preparation of what was to be said, behavior, etc. as a part of grooming people in order to make a healthy debate.
She strongly believed that education was necessary for children to build a strong character. She quoted that, ‘ a nations prosperity depends on the character of its people’.
Annie Besant died in India in 1933. After her death she was cremated in what was known as the garden of remembrance in Chennai.