Today marks the 90th death anniversary of the Indian freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad. On this day in 1931, Chandra Shekhar Azad gave his life in Alfred Park.
Azad was one of India’s most significant leaders who inspired people not through words but by serving them. He was the leader who had ambition for his fellow Indian’s freedom. He dedicated his life to a purpose that went beyond the boundaries of ‘I,’ ‘me’ and ‘myself.’ Indeed, a genuinely great mission or purpose begins with and includes the self, but it ultimately transcends it.
Azad was very young when he started taking part in various freedom movements. Deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, 15-year-old Azad joined the Non-Cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. During one of these protests, he was arrested. However, the incident further motivated him to take revolutionary actions for the country’s freedom.
He became an active member of the HRA and people began to join him in his struggle for freedom. He was joined by other prominent leaders like Ram Prasad Bismil to work together for the country’s independence.
The famous Kakori case The new form of nationalist revolutionary movement in the country jolted the British government. The revolutionary which was inspired by the freedom fighter like Bhagat Singh and Chandra Shekhar Azad. Meanwhile, the Kakori incident came as a shock to the British. The Number 8 Down Train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow was approaching the town of Kakori which is now in Uttar Pradesh. The train was abruptly stopped by pulling the emergency chain by a man in the second class compartment. Then the revolutionaries belonging to HRA looted the official cash that were transporting in the train. British police went on a massive hunt to arrest members of the HRA after the incident and in few weeks arrested two dozen members of the HRA. Among them, four were hanged and close to 17 sentenced to life imprisonment.
“If yet your blood does not rage, then it is water that flows in your veins. For what is the flush of youth, if it is not of service to the motherland,”
Some Interesting facts about the fearless Azad
1. Born as Chandrashekhar Tiwari, he later took the name of Chandra Shekhar Azad. He often signed as Balraj while issuing statements as the commander in chief of the HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republic Army).
2. Chandrashekhar’s mother had wanted him to become a Sanskrit scholar and therefore he was sent to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras.
3. The Jallianwala Bagh tragedy in which hundreds were massacred proved to be a turning point in Azad’s life. He then took part in the Non-Cooperation Movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 at the age of 15.
4. Azad, was arrested for the first time for joining Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement and was given 15 whiplashes in punishment. It is said that, young Chandrashekhar said his name was ‘Azad’, father’s name as ‘Swatantrata’ (independence) and listed his residence as ‘Jail’ when he was produced before the judge.
5. He was disappointed when Mahatma Gandhi suspended the movement in 1922 and Azad joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) formed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Chatterji, Shachindra Nath Bakshi and Sachindra Nath Sanyal.
6. He quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the main strategists of the Hindustan Republican Association.
7. After Ram Prasad Bismil Ashfaqulla Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death in the Kakori train robbery case, Azad then took charge of the organisation
8. Post the tragic death of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh joined Azad’s HRA to fight against British imperialism and Azad and Bhagat Singh reorganized HRA as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
9. He rose into prominence after the 1925 Kakori Train robbery and the assassination of the assistant superintendent of police John Saunders in 1928.
10. Alfred Park in Allahabad was where he spent his last moments; the park was later renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park.
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