A Short visit to planet Earth for 28 years and invaluable sacrifice for motherland, is what could be an apt brief of Late Vaikuntha Shukla (1907-1934) a Freedom fighter from Bihar.
Born in Jalalpur Village of Muzaffarpur in a farmer family in 1907, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was a cute adorable child. Committed to the core, he completed his education and joined as teacher in a primary school in nearby Village School called Mathurapur. He was married to Smt Radhika Devi, an able lady with great determination and courage, who followed him on his every foot step.
Late Vaikuntha Shukla was nephew of Another Great freedom fighter Late Sh Yogendra Shukla, Who incarcerated for over 17 years in Prison inclusive of 5 years in Kalapani at Anadaman. Self-esteem and freedom loving family toiled and sacrificed everything under the sun for the sake of Motherland.
The ungrateful generation after Independence buried the sacrificed, erased the memory, polluted our history and smuggled & manufactured new role model of society. What worst could have been more than this. Yes no surprise, today The Valor of this legendry freedom fighter is not part of any curriculum.
1930, the civil disobedience movement had stirred the conscience of nation. Sh Vaikuntha Shukla who himself was known for his great oratorical skill, participated and led the movement. And in no time British colonial spy were after him. He was immediately arrested and imprisoned.
It was during the incarceration, he came in contact with Socialist Republican Army. Impressed and empowered, he evaluated his duties and course of his life. He read about Khudiram Bose who had motivated a generation of revolutionaries those days. He was deeply impressed with his Uncle Sh Yogendra Shukla who those days was mentor and guide of Bhagat Singh and Batukeshawar Dutta and leading the revolution in Punjab.
1931, British colonial power hanged Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The trio in those days were more popular revolutionary than Gandhi and even Veer Savarkar. The Public sentiment was badly bruised. The sacrifice of trio was big assault on the concept of nation. The silent refusal of Gandhi and Nehru to have stood by the Side of these three had petrified the public perception. Down with the dejection and helplessness, a section of freedom fighters were cowering into fear and there emerged the lion-heart who had something different in his mind.
Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was a fearless and indomitable character among his peers. It was in his notice that the trio revolutionary were hanged due to the three traitors. The three who turned to be Government approver were three individuals, Hans Raj Vohra, Jai Gopal and Phanindra Nath Ghosh. Seething with the anger at the betrayal of the three traitors, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla had his own plan.
Boiling blood yet cool at planning, he decided to avenge.
One among the three Phanindra nath Ghosh has had his relation in a town called Bettiah in Bihar. After becoming Government approver and ensuring hanging of Bhagat Singh in 1931, he had returned to Bettiah and was staying over there along with one of his close friend Ganesh Prasad.
9th Nov, 1932 Vaikuntha Shukla along with a fellow companion Chandrma Singh surreptitiously moved in to Bettiah on his bicycle. Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was carrying a heavy sharp machetes. Unparalleled and unheard in the chapter of glorious Indian freedom struggle, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla added another chapter of Justice. He was in no mood to spare the traitor. He did rekey, evaluated his movement, spotted the opportunity, encountered and in one swift move, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla beheaded Fanindra nath Ghosh at Meena Bazar in Bettiah. Ganesh Prasad who confronted to apprehend him, was too finished with another blow. Both died due to the fatal blow.
The Justice was done. And Sh Vaikuntha Shukla brought himself into the league of those few revolutionary, who delivered Judgments and executed Justice together. The news spread like wild fire.
British had encircled all possible exit point and location. 6th July 1933, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was arrested from the Sonepur and kept at Chapra Jail.
Some known revolutionary like Bhibhuti Bhusan Das Gupta, Vasawan Singh, Raghunath Pandey and Tribhuwan Azad were incarcerating in the same jail. It was cell no 15 adjacent to them where Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was kept in solitary confinement. He was tried by a British Court at Motihari whose Judgments was written even before the trial commenced. As Judgments was against him, he was declared offender and set to be hanged.
An age of 28 years, it was no age for one to depart. Yet he had no reason to be guilty about. There was no remorse to have fought against the colonial slavery. They was no fault in defending his motherland and posterity. And so he was satisfied and contemplative to have achieved a meaning of his existence.
Gaya Central Jail, 14 May 1934, another prison mate Bhibhuti Bhusan Das narrated few remaining hour of Sh Vaikuntha Shukla.
Sh Vaikuntha Shukla: – Dada Please sing the Song that Late Khudiram Bose sung before his supreme sacrifice.
Bhibhuti Bhusan Das: हासि हासि परब फांसी, मां देखबे भारतवासी (हंस-हंसकर फांसी पर झूलूंगा, भारत माता देखेगी) । Numb and Shaken, Das had chocked voice and welling eyes.
Sh Vaikuntha Shukla: – Dada, Can you Sing सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ु-ए-कातिल में है using vesicle.
Bhibhuti Bhusan Das: – He Sung and fulfilled the last wish.
Sh Vaikuntha Shukla: – Dada, One struggle against Child Marriage is yet unfinished. Promise me you would take it forward.
Bhibhuti Bhusan Das: I promise you. Das was inconsolable.
Early Morning 14th May 1934, Sh Vaikuntha Shukla was hanged. Never could the debt of such sacrifice be counted or paid. The British Government were so insecure, that they denied the mortal remains to their waiting relative outside the Jail premises fearing mass unrest. Instead they disposed of the body under their supervision.
All through this personal loss, Smt Radhika Devi, The wife of Sh Vaikuntha Shukla remained composed and undeterred. Overcoming her grieve, she continued to pursue freedom Struggle and even went to Jail in 1942. She continued to spread the message against Child Marriage throughout her life in her loving memory of Late Sh Shukla.
The truthfulness died, promises curtailed and deceit emerged. Our historians erased every true sacrifice from our History book and from the knowledge and memory of posterity.
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