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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

remembering the great martyr born this day 112 years ago ! ~ Sukhdev Thapar

The post starts with a sad pre-note – ‘how badly we have missed out knowing the real martyrs who gave their lives in earning freedom’.  Recently, when I circulated one of my posts on Indian freedom struggle, a respected senior surveyor wrote back stating ‘I feel proud of my family on true contribution to freedom struggle – my maternal uncle, a revolutionary of North West Province (Inder Muni Bhatia) was shot dead by British at young age of 21 and my uncle remained in prison with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and awarded Tamrapatra …

Indian history has denied them any place ~ not at all surprising as we read history as dictated by the British, further refined by commies – and in fact have not given the right place for those great martyrs who have immortalised in history and whose deeds are still recorded and available – natural that many remain unsung, unknown martyrs.  Most of us do not even know that lion Lala Rajpat Rai actually succumbed to murderous attack made by British Police !!  ~  Indian freedom struggle is much much more than Gandhi, Nehru, and Congress.

Almost 90 years ago, on 8th Nov 1927 – Viceroy of India  announced that a high level Commission had been appointed by Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister. The members would tour India and submit a report to the Government, including suggestions on the administrative reforms. The seven member Commission was headed by Sir Elsbrook John Simon, a famous London Barrister. One of the members of the Commission, Clement Attlee later became the Prime Minister of Britain at the time of independence of India. The Commission was opposed all over India, including Congress as it did not have any Indian as its member. Barring only a few moderates, everyone in India was shouting, “Simon, go back.”

There were protests everywhere they went ..  at Lahore on 30.10.1928, there was total strike, a crowd of 5000 odd persons had  gathered at Lahore Railway Station, though the administration had enforced Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, banning such gathering of protestors.J.A. Scott, Superintendent of Police, Lahore, along with Saunders, his Additional S.P. and other officers was present at the station. He ordered the lathi charge but there was hardly any impact. An infuriated Scott  let his force loose on unarmed people. Saunders, directly attacked Lalaji – the  aged lion fell down in great pain, bleeding heavily from the wounds. The wounded lion Lalaji undaunted by this, addressed the protest meeting held the same evening at Mori Gate  roaring “I declare that the blows struck at me will be the last nails in the coffin of the British rule in India.”

Lalaji was hospitalized for the treatment of his injuries. He, after 18 days, succumbed to the injuries on 17th Nov, 1928. There was deep anger inside everyone’s heart as death was directly attributed to the injuries inflicted.

Moving away to the sad day on Mar 23, 1931 at Lahore Central Jail.   When the day broke out, the Sun’s radiance too was dull.  The ever present frightening silence inside the perimeter seemed to make the prisoners even more desperate. All inmates had anxiety and despair written over their ashen faces, as if some big storm was coming.  It was most melancholic moment as in   barrack number fourteen housed Sardar Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. They all emanated an aura ofpeaceful calm and good health. They were quiet, yet cheerful, free from all worries and unaffected by what was happening around them. This was an astonishing sight for jail authorities as everybody knew that their hanging had been scheduled  and they were hanged at 7.33 pm.  Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev took their last bath and put on black clothes provided by the jail officials. The doctor recorded their weight and was surprised to note that all three had gained weight since last recording. The lions moved out of their cages, had a good look at each other and then leaped to have a warm embrace.

That is tragic story of hanging on 23.3.1931 of - Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru.. .. .. (pictured here real gallows at Andamans Cellular jail)

Flashback:   .. when LalaLajpat Rai died, a group of youngsters  decided to avenge the insult to the nation by killing Scott. Many came forward, Sukhdev was chosen by the group as the coordinator for this mission. Sukhdev,  named Azad, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Jai Gopal as his accomplices to accomplish the task. Sukhdev Thapar (15 May 1907 – 23 Mar 1931) the revolutionary,  was a senior member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

Sukhdev should ever be remembered for his patriotic zeal and for  his involvement in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 18 Dec 1928 and its aftermath.  The strategists were on alert - the man given the task had never seen Scott himself so he took the European for Scott, in reality, he was Saunders, Assistant SP, clad in almost identical uniform. Scott had not come as he was on leave that day. Upon getting the signal, Rajguru came in the path and fired. The shot was accurate. The bullet pierced the chest and Saunders collapsed on the ground, with one leg under the running motorcycle.

Sukhdev was the prime accused in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 1930, whose title reads "Crown versus Sukhdev and others". The first information report (FIR) of the Lahore Conspiracy Case, filed by Hamilton Harding, senior superintendent of police, in the court of R.S. Pandit, special magistrate in April 1929, mentions Sukhdev as accused number 1.  In the long list of 25 accused, Bhagat Singh was 12th while Rajguru was 20th.   After the Central Assembly Hall bombings in New Delhi (8 April 1929), Sukhdev and his accomplices were arrested and convicted of their crime, going through the loss of life sentence as the verdict.

On 23 March 1931, the 3 revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh, SukhdevThapar and Shivaram Rajguru hanged in Lahore jail. Their bodies were secretly cremated at the banks of the River Sutlej.  Though the plan perhaps was to kill JA Scott, karma had that  Saunders who was directly responsible for the killing of Lalaji got killed.

Nation should remember the great martyr Sukhdev who was born this day 112 years ago !.  Long live the Nation ~ glory to all martyrs.

With heavy heart- S. Sampathkumar
15th May 2019.
the house pictured at the start - Sukhdev home at Ludhiana pic credit :

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