Today, marks the 90th death anniversary of the Indian revolutionary, Chandra Shekhar Azad. Chandra Shekhar Azad died on 27 February, 1931 in Alfred Park, Allahabad after an associate betrayed him to the British.
Not many literatures are available on Azad due to the self censorship of the revolutionaries and Azad remained underground most of his adulthood. [Source of the article: Azad by Wariach.]
- Azad had no surviving siblings. He was the only child left for his parents.Below is the mother of Azad.
- Azad was not perfect marksmen in the beginning years. Once he accidentally pointed and shot Manmath Gupta(youngest Kakori hero), luckily Azad was not good at shooting hence the death was averted.
- Ram prasad Bismil thought Azad would be the first one to be arrested as he was careless. However, destiny had the reverse. Except Azad most of the HRA members were arrested in the police raid.
- Most of the period when he remained underground he had hardly any food to eat. He fed himself on parched grams. He worked as an accountant with a pickle seller during his younger days in Varanasi
- As for as we know Azad was only one in the HSRA who knew driving and owned a driving license.
Azad and Photo:
There are only four photographs of Azad. Azad always avoided taking photos as those would lead to arrest.
The below photo was taken after Azad received canning for his involvement in the Non-cooperation movement. The people hailed their young hero by garlanding him. As Azad was too tiny to be seen he was made to stand on a table beside a charka. The revolutionary comrades of Azad came to know of the photo in the year 1963. This photo was kept hidden behind a frame by Azad’s close relative (Shivinayak) who was a congressite.
The below two photos were taken with the consent of Azad by his artist friend Master Rudra Narayan. One was taken after Azad took his bath. When the photo was about to be taken Azad told “let me twirl my moustache”.
The next was taken with the family of Master Rudra Narayan.
However Azad later regretted for consenting and asked his friend to approach Master ji for the photos. Master ji was hesitant to destroy the photos and he cemented behind the wall. This remained a secret between Master ji and the revolutionary comrade of Azad.(These two where the original surviving photos of adult (alive) Azad)
The fourth one was taken by the police after the martyrdom of Azad in the Alfred Park (Azad Park).
- Azad was pretty good at Hindi, knows Rajasthani, Budhelkahndi, Brajhhasha. Later he improved English due to self efforts so that he could update the world happenings by reading English dailies. English and Hindi reports the arrest of revolutionaries and by reading them Azad would change or enact plans according to it.
- He brought members to the party (HRA), smith for making bomb shells.
- His friends had reported that Azad was not only a solider but an able organizer, shrewd leader. He would check every aspect of the plans, after execution of plans he would wipe out all the traces and clues. He was known for his cool mettle while enacting the actions. He would never betray any emotions. Azad considers the safety of his comrades in the actions as his first priority than the action itself. One such example is, the revolutionaries once tried to free the famous Kakori case revolutionary Jogesh ji. However Azad called off the plan. Bhagat Singh engaged in a row with Azad and Rajguru as usual was beyond himself, but Azad cooled them by explaining the situation prevailed there, presence of police etc, how they would have losed their own party members if the plan was enacted. Thus the issue was solved.
- Azad was also known for his love towards others. He was the one who would keep in mind, enquire, satisfy the basic needs of the party members like cloths, medicines, health etc. While he was a commander in chief he behaves so, in other situations he mingles with the party members as their close friend. Even though he was the commander (regarding the final decision) he would obey the decision taken by the party members. One such example was that Azad was not ready to sent Bhagat Singh to the assembly bombing action, however when all the other party members consented he agreed. He used to tell that he does not know any ideology what the party members speaking about, and he only knew about pistols. He used to lament after the assembly bombing action considering the fate of his fellow party members.
- It was Azad who initiated training centers for shooting in Khaniadhana, Datia, Bijwaar, and Bhopal.
- Azad was very good in evading arrest. Two such examples iam quoting below.
Once Azad was returning to his shelter (now the Brahmanchari, underground period) was encountered by police. The police asked “Are you Azad” For this reply came as Indeed we are Azad (free) and Azad tried to escape from the police. Sensing the police was not ready to leave him Azad gave a stern reply “Our Hanumanji is more important than your officer and left. (Police did not like to incur the wrath of a saint).
Another was, a police used to tell to a person (whom he was visiting for weeks) “One day I will surely arrest Azad”. The funny part is the police did not knew that the person with whom he was interacting was indeed AZAD.
- Azad had drawn a plan to help Bhagat Singh escape from Jail. However, the plan did not materialize as Singh did not give the required signal.
Azad used to hum the following phrases:
“Jehidin hoi hai surajva
Arhar ke daliya, dhan ke bhatua
Khoob kachar ke kaibena
Array jehidin hoi hai surajva”
(In Independent India, the masses will have enough food to eat, clothes to wear and house to live in. This was the dream of Azad).
- His friends had recorded that Azad was able to disguise in any form like a constable, hermit, so on and could easily evade arrest. One such situation was after Saunders murder, when Bhagat and Rajguru found too hard to escape from Lahore after executing a master plan, Azad took no efforts, and he just disguised himself as a Hermit and left Lahore.
- Azad was an able wrestler however later he lost the power of his wrist. The story goes like once the motor handle was jammed and Azad took it as a challenge and tried to rectify it leading to the fracture of his wrist.
- The revolutionaries used to joke Azad would be caught one day while hunting, be put inside the jail. Azad would get the punishment as “Death by Hanging”. Azad used to get angry and would proudly declare he would be never caught by police as long as his darling pistol is with him.
- Azad was a pure vegetarian but after he came to revolutionary contact, Bhagat Singh made him feed on raw eggs. However, when they tried to force Azad to feed on meat he would get angry. Azad used to joke that his strength was due to Lion’s meat he ate during his childhood.
- Once Azad was given money 200 Rs to be sent to his mother, but he had spent it on party telling “In India there are so many who do not have food a single time to eat, but his parents were good enough that they had at least food once a day”.
Rumour behind Azad:
Azad shot himself-FALSE
Azad had one bullet left-FALSE
- According to Azad’s friend and revolutionary comrade Sukhdev Raj who was present with Azad during the fateful day, Azad was shot on his right thigh, right shoulder (chest lungs) and Azad kept on firing with his left arm.
According to post mortem report, doctor say It would be error to believe Azad shot himself. Below is the version of it.
Hence Azad was shot dead by the police invalidating the claim that he committed suicide.
- Police recovered 16 live bullets, 22 empties at the spot after the encounter.
- The students union organized a strikes and the ashes of people darling AZAD was kept in wooden chauki decked with flowers beside it was kept Azad’s portrait. His ashes were hardly left as people took it with them and the remaining ashes were preserved by Azad relative Shivinayak till 1976 and later it was taken to Azad ancestral village in U.P.
- The tree under which Azad fought bravely and martyred was uprooted by the police as they could not witness the people paying tribute to the tree. Later another tree was planted at the same spot.
Azad left untouched by the police and his say came true.
(Boldly we shall face the bullets of the enemy Free we are and free we will remain)
This is the image of “Hutatma Chandrashekhar Azad” with his favorite pistol named “Bamtulbukhara”. The image was captured by Professor Rudranarayan. Chandrashekhar Azad was highly against capturing of photos, the reason being, if Britishers found these photos they would use them against the freedom fighters and owing to this there are merely 3-4 pictures of Chandrashekhar azad.
On 9th August, 1925 freedom fighters of “Hindustan Republican Association” robbed 9-down passenger train near Kakori station. After this conspiracy many freedom fighters like Ramprasad Bismil, Thakur Roshan Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahidi got captured but somehow Chandrashekhar Azad escaped. During this time, he remained underground at Master Rudranarayan’s home in Jhansi as his little brother named Harishankar.
On one morning Master Rudranarayan was working with his camera and Chandrashekhar Azad came there. Master Rudranarayan asked him, can he capture his one image and miracle happened. Somehow Chandrashekhar Azad agreed for the photograph. After this incident Master Rudranarayan captured one more image of Chandrashekhar Azad with his wife “Munni Devi” along with his two daughters.
In the year 1929, during Azad’s stay in Kanpur, he remembered about those photographs and sent Vishwanath Vaishampayan to Jhansi in order destroy them. Whereas in Jhansi, Master Rudranarayan told Vaishampayan that after some years India will get freedom from the Britishers, if this photographic plates are destroyed the upcoming generations will not be able to see the images of these fighters.
Today, we are able to see the photographs of this mighty warrior only due to the presence of mind shown by Master Rudranarayan!
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