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Friday, August 14, 2020

celebrating Indian Independence day & remembering our martyrs - 74 years since 1947

WE are all set to celebrate the 74th  INDEPENDENCE DAY of the Nation ~ the great day of 15th August when BHARAT was liberated from foreign rule. .. .. often described in a terse statement, India achieved freedom ‘without battle or shedding blood’ – Indian freedom struggle was far different perhaps – thousands sacrificed and more number underwent innumerable difficulties for that magic freedom, which we happily enjoy .. .. .. and, Indian History does not have much written about those great martyrs. 

On 15 August 1947, the first Prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate and spoke those immortal words – ‘Long years ago... we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge’.  Every year on India's Independence Day, the prime minister hoists the Indian "tricolour flag" at the fort's main gate and delivers a nationally broadcast speech from its ramparts.  .. .. Can you name the Ministers who took oath on that all important day ?

Red Fort [Lal Qila]  has Lahori Gate and Delhi Gate.  Images of the fort have  featured prominently on postage stamps. It is associated with history. The vandalism carried out in 1857 after the suppression of the rebellion makes it a site remembered for national resistance.  In Nov  1945, the Red Fort was selected as the venue for the court martial of Shah Nawaz Khan, Prem Sahgal and Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon. These were three token individuals, selected from the many thousands of Indian officers and troops who had joined the Indian National Army and fought against the British during the Second World War. But in our History books, we did not read of Indian freedom struggle but more of mercy of Cawning, kindness of Atlee, administrative skills of Dalhouse, coronation of King George, Delhi Durbar and more .. .. not on INA and other freedom fighters.

Before we read further, here is an extract from a book – which should have been our Text book .. ..   It was not a pleasure trip nor an official trip as Congress leaders enjoyed during the freedom struggle. It was banishment to the dark world of Andamans – the  feared Cellular jails.  On 11th Dec 1909, an youngman was exiled and remained for dozen years.    ‘Yet the changes outside are not so remarkable when compared to the change in my memory. This faculty seems to have fallen into a moribund condition and can only groan at its best.  When we reached the jetty there was yet some time for daybreak. The Superintendent,  Emerson, was there standing with his bike. Mounted policemen could be seen in every direction. We got on board the Maharaja, the ferry boat that was to carry us across the Black Waters. We were shoved in within a hold in the lower deck. A long chain was fixed on to the planking of that room and handcuffs were attached to it at the interval of a yard or so. All the seven had been handcuffed”. 

Before Collector Ash was assassinated by Veera Vanchinathan – there was this murder of a British officer in Indian civil service - Arthur Mason Tippetts Jackson,  Magistrate of Nasik, assassinated by a young 17 year old student.   Anant Laxman Kanhere, student of Aurangabad, shot Jackson on 21 Dec 1909 at a theater where a drama was tobe staged in his honour on the eve of his transfer.  The lesser known of the Savarkars – Mr Ganesh Savarkar elder brother of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was implicated and sent  to trial.  In the dark hours of  April 29, 1912, an alarm went up on the ‘yard three’ wing of the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. Warden Gulmir, stationed at the jail’s central tower, rushed to the wing and shined a hurricane lamp through the iron-barred door of cell 82. He found the bed empty. The prisoner, a young Bengali revolutionary called Indu Bhushan Roy, who had completed two years of his ten years’ rigorous imprisonment, was dead. His body hung from the window, a strand of torn kurta wound around his neck.  The newspapers wrote : Kalapani  had claimed one more tortured soul.  It was to this place Barinder ghosh was heading for .. ..

In 1907, Barin Ghosh arranged to send Hem Chandra Kanungo, one of his associates, to Paris to learn the art of bomb-making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile in the French Capital. Returning to Bengal, Hem began working with Barin Ghosh again. With Fraser alerted, a new target was selected in Douglas Kingsford. Kingsford was the Chief Magistrate of the Presidency court of Alipore, and had overseen the trials of Bhupendranath Dutta and other editors of Jugantar, sentencing them to rigorous imprisonment.  The defiance of Jugantar saw it face five more prosecutions that left it in financial ruins by 1908.   Kingsford also earned notoriety among nationalists when he ordered the whipping of a young Bengali boy by the name of Sushil Sen for participating in the protests that followed the Jugantar trial. The first attempt to kill Kingsford was in the form of a book bomb that Hem constructed. An empty tin of Cadbury's cocoa was packed with a pound of picric acid and three detonators. This was packed into a hollowed section of Herbert Broom's Commentaries on the Common Law and delivered wrapped in brown paper to Kingsford's house by a young revolutionary named Paresh Mallick.  

 On 19 October 1908, the hearing for the trial began at the court of Charles Poten Beachroft who served as the additional sessions judge of the District 24 Paraganas. Beechcroft and Aurobindo had previously entered the Indian Civil Service Examinations in England in the same year, where Aurobindo had ranked ahead of Beechcroft. The defence team was composed of 15 lawyers, barristers and pleaders. Aurobindo was initially represented by Byomkesh Chakravarty, a leading Calcutta barrister. In addition to the 1500 documents and material evidence, defence team entered further 54 items.  

Emperor vs Aurobindo Ghosh and others, colloquially referred to as the Alipore Bomb Case, the Muraripukur conspiracy,  was a criminal case of  1908. The case saw the trial of a number of Indian nationalists of the Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta, under charges of "Waging war against the Government" of the British Raj. The trial was held at Alipore Sessions Court, Calcutta, between May 1908 and May 1909. The trial followed in the wake of the attempt on the life of Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford in Muzaffarpur by Bengali nationalists Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki in April 1908, which was recognised by the Bengal police as linked to attacks against the Raj in the preceding years, including attempts to derail the train carrying Lieutenant-Governor Sir Andrew Fraser in December 1907.

Among the famous accused were Aurobindo Ghosh, his brother Barinder Ghosh as well as 38 other Bengali nationalists of the Anushilan Samiti. Most of the accused were arrested from Barin Ghosh's Garden house in 36 Murarirupukur Road, in the Manicktolla suburb of Calcutta. They were held in the Presidency Jail in Alipore before the trial, where Narendranath Goswami, approver and crown-witness, was shot dead by two fellow accused Kanailal Dutta and Satyendranath Bose within the jail premises. Goswami's murder led to collapse of the case against Aurobindo.

Barin was to undergo rigorous imprisonment in Cellular Jail at Andaman from 1909 – later was released during a general amnesty in 1920.  Upon returning he dallied with journalism for sometime and later started  an ashram in Kolkata. He published his memoirs "The tale of my exile - twelve years in Andamans"  In 1923, he left for Pondicherry where his elder brother Aurobindo Ghosh had formed the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  In 1933 he started an English weekly, The Dawn of India. He was associated with the newspaper The Statesman, and in 1950, he became the editor of the Bengali daily Dainik Basumati.   He died on 18 April 1959 – there are so many unsung heroes whose sacrifices got us freedom.

On this great day 15th Aug 1947, India got freedom at midnight.  Jawaharlal Nehru took charge as the first Prime Minister of India and chose 15 other members for his cabinet. Lord Mountbatten, and later C. Rajagopalachari, served as Governor-General until 26 January 1950, when Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India.  The Prime Minister held additional portfolios of External Affairs, Scientific Research; Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel - Minister of Home Affairs and States; R. K. Shanmukham Chetty- Finance; B R. Ambedkar – Law; Baldev Singh- Defence;  John Mathai – Railways and Transport ; Abul Kalam Azad – Education; Rajendra Prasad – Agriculture;  Syama Prasad Mukherjee - Industries and Supplies; Jagjivan Ram – Labour; Cooverji Hormusji Bhabha – Commerce; Rafi Ahmed Kidwai – Communications; Amrit Kaur – Health;  Narhar Vishnu Gadgil – Power; KC Neogy – Relief and Rehabilitation & N Gopalaswami Ayyangar.

On this historic day, we look back with pride India’s achievements in the 7 decades after Independence and remember those martyrs whose blood and sacrifices ensured our breathing fresh and free air.

Jai Hind ~ Nation is greater than anything else.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar



1 comment:

  1. நம் தியாகிகளின் எண்ணற்ற செயல்பாடுகள் மனதை வருத்துகிறது.அதைவிட நாம் பாட நூல்களில் அவர்கள் தியாகங்கள் தவிர்க்கபட்டது மிக கொடுமை.Jai hindh..

    On this historic day, we look back with pride India’s achievements in the 7 decades after Independence and remember those martyrs whose blood and sacrifices ensured our breathing fresh and free air.....NICE