New Delhi, July 23: India will always owe its ‘Freedom’ to each and every freedom fighter who selflessly dedicated their lives to it. One of them was Chandra Shekhar Azad. Chandra Shekhar Azad is amongst the most significant Indian freedom fighters, who was also the mentor of Bhagat Singh, produced one of the greatest revolutionaries against the British Government during of Pre-Independence era in India.
Today along with the birth anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, India is paying salutes to this revolutionary freedom fighter through Twitter.
Chandra Shekhar Azad was amongst the young generation of Indians who brought more passion and inspiration into the Indian freedom struggle. Azad and his other followers had committed themselves to absolute independence by any means. He was among the most sought after revolutionaries by British police.
The Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre took place in 1919 and the brutal deed of British oppression had the reverberating effect on the Indian Nationalist movement. The blatant disregard exhibited by the British towards basic human rights and unnecessary use of violence on a group of unarmed and peaceful people incited a burst of hatred from the Indians directed towards the British Raj. The nation was gripped by this anti-British euphoria and Chandra Shekhar was part of a group of young revolutionaries who dedicated their lives towards a single goal – securing freedom for his beloved motherland by driving the British away from India.
Early Days: Chandrashekhar Tiwari to Chandra Shekhar Azad
The first wave of nationalist sentiments was awakened by the Non-cooperation movement declared by Gandhiji during 1920-1921. Chandra Shekhar rode this wave when he was a mere teen and participated in the various organised protests with much gusto. 16-year-old Chandra Shekhar was arrested in one of these demonstrations. When asked his name, residence and that of his father, he replied to the authorities, that his name was ‘Azad’ (free), his father’s name ‘Swatantrata’ (Freedom) and his residence as the prison cell. He was sentenced to receive 15 whiplashes as punishment. He bore those with ample nonchalance and came to be revered as Chandra Shekhar Azad from then on.
Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) & Azad
The announcement to suspend the non-cooperation movement came as a blow to the nascent Indian Nationalist Sentiments. Azad was much agitated in its aftermath and decided that a fully aggressive course of action was more suitable for his desired outcome. He met Ram Prasad Bismil, the founder of Hindustan Republican Association through Pranavesh Chatterji. He joined the HRA and concentrated his efforts on collecting funds for the association. He planned and executed daring attempts to rob government treasury to raise funds in order to further their revolutionary activities.
Ram Prasad Bismil conceived the idea of looting a train carrying treasury money to fund acquiring of weapons for revolutionary activities. Bismil had noticed several security loopholes in trains carrying treasury money and a suitable plan was devised. They targeted the No. 8 Down train travelling from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow and intercepted it at Kakori. They stopped the train by pulling the chain, overpowered the guard and took 8000 rupees from the guard cabin. In the ensuing gunfight between the armed guards and the revolutionaries, one passenger died. The government declared this as murder and launched an intense manhunt to round up the involved revolutionaries. Azad evaded arrest and carried on revolutionary activities from Jhansi.
Establishment of Jhansi Camp
In his very brief life of only 25 years, Chandrashekhar Azad had established a centre of the organisation in Jhansi during 1931. He set up a camp for training and shooting practice, near the Orchha forest. It was in Jhansi that he associated with Vishwanath Vaishampayan, Sadashiv Rao Malkapurkar and Bhagwan Das Mahaur, who became a vital part of his group. Later Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat and Pandit Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar also joined the group.
Death of Chandra Shekhar Azad
The British police were desperately searching for Chandrashekhar Azad and wanted to capture him dead or alive. On 27th February 1931, upon being betrayed by his own colleague, Azad became entangled in a trap set by the British. Even though Azad fought valiantly, but the police had surrounded him from all sides. Azad preferred killing himself and dying with pride rather than being captured by the British. Thus Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself.