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Monday, March 26, 2018

Salute to those great martyrs who fought for our Freedom ~ Gopinath Saha


Indian history has a cliché  ~ Gandhi got us freedom; Indian freedom was gotten without spilling blood.  Far away from truth – for there were thousands of martyrs whose blood flowed on Mother India in pursuit of freedom; may be it was not the war where the rulers were killed and chased away, yet certainly – thousands of young Indians shed their blood and sacrificed their lives for the Nation. 



Nethaji birth place at Cuttack

23rd March 2018  marked the 87th  year of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. They symbolise the best example of sacrifice to free India from the imperial clutches of British rule. Indian history books perhaps have provided lesser  exposure to their visionary battle against British rule. These revolutionaries envisioned India’s future were not in the same stream of Congress and did not garner that attention that the party gotten. A  bomb was thrown "to make the deaf hear and to give the headless a timely warning" ~ the perpetrators did not run away – but like our own Veera Vanchinathan, offered themselves to Police arrest, as was planned by the Central Committee of Hindustan Socialistic Republic Association being headed by Chander Shekhar.. .. .. it was  the day to remember them .. .. .. and a web search led me to another Bengal activist who was arrested and hanged in Mar 1924 (sad even the date is not recorded and not much of history we ever studied about this hero – and here is something on him, that great martyr)

Bagha Jatin, born in 1879 as  Jatindranath Mukherjee was a Bengali revolutionary against British rule. He was the principal leader of the Yugantar party that was the central association of revolutionaries in Bengal. Having met the German Crown-Prince in Calcutta shortly before World War I, he obtained the promise of arms and ammunition from Germany; as such, he was responsible for the planned German Plot during World War I.  Another of his original contributions was the inspiration of the Indian soldiers in various regiments in favour of an insurrection.

Gopinath Saha (1906-1924) was a Bengali activist who fought for the Nation’s Independence.  He was a member of the Hindustan Republican Association.  On 12 January 1924, he attempted to assassinate Charles Tegart, a leader in the fight against revolutionary movements and the then head of the Detective Department of Calcutta Police. Saha's attempt failed as he erroneously killed Ernest Day, a white civilian who had gone there on official business.  Saha was arrested, tried and, in March 1924, hanged.

Gopinath Saha, was born in the village Baghanchra, Santipur, Dist. Nadia, West Bengal.  The man who he was determined to kill - Charles Augustus Tegart, KCIE, KPM,  "was a colonial police officer in India and Mandatory Palestine, variously earning praise for his industry and efficiency, and notoriety for his brutality and use of torture".  He was known to be ruthless and "uncompromising with detainees". In view of his expertise, the British authorities sent him to the British Mandate of Palestine, then in the throes of the Arab Revolt, to advise the Inspector General on matters of security. He arrived there in December 1937.  Based on his recommendations - "Tegart forts", reinforced concrete police stations and posts which could be defended against attack, and of a frontier fence along the northern border of Palestine to control the movement of insurgents, goods and weapons were constructed. It is recorded that suspects underwent brutal questioning by the Mandatory police, involving humiliation and the Turkish practice of falaka (beating prisoners on the soles of their feet).  It is stated that for some time, Tegart kept a defused bomb as a paperweight to remind him of the attempts on his life.

Gopinath Saga underwent toture in Presidency jail, Calcutta where “dangerous revolutionary” Aurobindo Ghosh’s attained divine enlightenment and transformed into Rishi Aurobindo, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose held his famous hunger strike during the early 1940s. It was at a solitary cell called Six Degree, renamed Aurobindo Cell, that Ghosh wrote The Life Divine. Another cell on the first floor of “European Block” is now called Subhas Cell. Freedom struggle heroes Kanailal Dutta, Satyendra Nath Bose, Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta and Gopi Mohan Saha were hanged here.
Sad ~ politicians and rulers of those years and those who followed failed to honour such great sacrifices of martyrs but for whom, we will not be celebrating our freedom.

Salutes to Them all ~ with regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2018.

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