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Chandra Shekhar Azad : The Immortal Revolutionary

Chandra Shekhar Azad w as born on 23 July 1906 in Jujhautiya Brahmins family of Pandit Sitaram Tiw ari and Jagrani Devi in the bhabara (of jhabua District)|madhy Pradesh. He spent his childhood in the village Bhabhra w hen his father w as serving in the erstw hile estate of Alirajpur He got the natural training of a hardy and rough life along w ith the Bhils w ho inhabited the w ild region. From his Bhil friends, early in life, be learnt w restling and sw imming. He also became more skilled w ith the bow and arrow . He learnt to throw the Bhala or Javelin, to shoot straight, to ride and use the sw ord, in all of w hich he became proficient. From his childhood, he remained a devotee of Hanum an throughout his life, and had a very strong Pehelw an(w restler)-like body. He w as even called Bhimsen or Bhim Dada later. After the early education in Jhabua, he w as sent to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi, w here a near relative of the family, probably maternal uncle w as then living. He returned home after a few months and he w as admitted in the local school at Alirajpur. Again his father sent him to Benares for the boy exhibited a strange w ayw ardness. This tim e he remained there and studied properly. On the w hole, he w as an average student. Political Initiation From the very outset, he had a deep aversion for study w hich w as of no real but to simply churn out quill drivers or babus for the use of the British Raj in India. His stay at Benares how ever had a salutary effect upon his life, for he came in contact w ith many young men and ideas. The atm osphere w as such that he got the opportunity of studying many things, especially the unhappy events w hich w ere then happening in the country. Bit by bit, his mind w as being draw n to the political situation of the country. Young Chandra Shekhar w as fascinated by and draw n to the great national upsurge of the non-violent, non-cooperation movement of 1920-21 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. It is during this time, w hen the Jallianw ala Baag m assacre by British Army took place in Amritsar w here hunderds (at least 2000) unarmed, peaceful and unw arned civilians w ere fired upon. This event had a profound effect on Indian national movement and inspired several young Indians, like Azad, into political movement for liberation. The young mind of Chandrashekhar w as w ax to receive and marble to retain. From Chandrashekhar Tew ari to Chandrashekhar Azad To protest the massacre and demanding the liberation, various popular activities sprouted up throughout the country. While participating in one of these movements, Chandra Shekhar w as arrested w hen he w as just 16 years of age. He w as brought to court. The Magistrate asked him, What is your name? Where do you live? What is your fathers name? His answ ers w ere

going to become very famous. He gave his name as Azad, his fathers name as Sw atantra and his place of dw elling as prison cell. Astonished w as the Magistrate at these straight and bold answ ers. Azad w as sentenced to fifteen canes. He w as beaten very severely. At every beat, his body turned blue and red and blood oozed out freely. Azad w as highly honored by the citizens and profusely garlanded w hen he came out from jail. His photos appeared in the Press w ith streamlined captions. From here on, he w ould be know n far and w ide as Azad, forever. After this incident, Shri Provesh, the chief organiser of the Revolutionary Party in India, sought him and persuaded him to join it. Azad proved to be a restless w orker. He issued secretly and silently, many leaflets and bulletins to drive aw ay the misconceptions entertained by the people of the country. He proved a master propagandist. In physical strength, none equaled him and he w as called Bhim Dada. Other eminent members of the party w orking along w ith Azad w ere Shri Yogesh Chatterji, Shri Sachin Sanyal and Shri Rabindranath Kar. Men in the party learned all the arts of modern w arfare. The main problem w as finance. Finances! From w here could the money be had? This w as the major issue before the party. To ask openly w as impossible and to obtain it secretly w as a much more difficult task. Kakori Case The leaders of the party toured extensively in the land and collected a lot of money but it proved inadequate for the purposes of the contemplated actions. The leaders of the party sought the help of Azad. A secret commission w as called and it decides in favour of dacoity of Government treasure. Verily it w as a verdict and the men of the party started preparations for committing it somew here. Result w as the famous Kakori Case. Kakori is a railw ay station near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. The idea of the Kakori train robbery w as conceived in the mind of Ram Prasad Bismil, w hile travelling by train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow . At every s t a t i o nh e n o t i c e d mo n e y b a g s b e i n g t a k e ni n t ot h e g u a r ds v a na n d b e i n g d r o p p e d i n t oa ni r o n safe. At Lucknow , he observed some loop holes in the special security arrangements. This w as the beginning of the famous train dacoity at Kakori. As per the plan, on August 9, 1925 members successfully looted the No. 8 Dow n Train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow by stopping it at a predetermined location and holding the British soldiers at gun point. Just 10 young men had done this difficult job because of their courage, discipline, above all, love for the country. They had w ritten a memorable chapter in the history of Indias fight for freedom. These revolutionaries w ere Ramaprasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri, Thakur Roshan Singh, Sachindra Bakshi, Chadrasekhar Azad, Keshab Chakravarty, Banw ari Lal, Mukundi Lal, Mammathnath Gupta and Ashfaqulla Khan. After this event, the Government let loose a period of repression, search and arrests in the country. Many revolutionaries w ere arrested. After deliberations of 18 months, the court aw arded punishments. Four of the members Ram aprasad Bism il, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh w ere sentenced to death; the others w ere given life sentences. Sad w as the outcome of this w hole operation for it lost its best and pow erful men in the scramble. How ever Azad remained at large, never to be captured by British, and to continue doing the revolutionary struggle. During the next phase of the struggle he menored a w hole team of revolutionaries to shake the British Raj Untired Revolutionary Organizer Azad disguised as a Sadhu, came to Jhansi and from there via Khandw a came to Indore. For a few days he w ent to his birthplace Alirajpur but did not stay there for long. Again he came back to Indore and after staying there in disguise for sometime, he left Indore. For some time, he also remained hidden in a hanuman temple as a priest. Taking a circuitous he traveled across the trackless jungle of the Vindhya valleys on foot. This w as the hardest period in his life and he had to undergo many hardships. The sun scorched him by day and the cold chilled him by night. He w as often at a loss to obtain food for himself. He at last reached Kanpur w here the headquarters of Hindustan Socialist Republican Army w as set up, w hich Azad had to re-organize. This w as the first task to fill the vacuum of leadership w ith capable youth. At this time, he came in contact w ith the ablest and devoted men w ho w anted to overthrow the British Government by armed revolution. Incidentally, he met at Kanpur, Shri Bhagat Singh, Shri Rajguru and Shri Batukeshar Dutta. The henchm en of the British Government w ere on the track of Azad. When a secret conference w as being held betw een these men in a private lodging, the police all of a sudden rushed to the scene. A regular scuffle ensued and a party member named Shri Shukla met the assault single handed and w as killed on the spot. Others, how ever, very skillfully managed to escape. Azad had in mind to teach a lesson to the

intruders and on this particular occasion, he felt an overw helming temptation to shoot but w as held back. Convocation of all the revolutionary leaders from different provinces of India w as held in Delhi in September, 1928, near the old fort. Leaders from all over India took a serious review of the political situation in the country and decided on a course of action. Policy of One for One w as decided in the terminology of the revolutionary organizations. Then, all of them departed to their respective provinces. It is rather difficult to know about the resolutions of meeting now . Avenging the killing of Lala Lajpatrai Hardly, had the leaders time to arrange their regional teams in order, than a serious situation arose in the country. Lala Lajpatrai, the Lion of Punjab led a strong protest against the Simon commission in Lahore. The police w ith inhuman brutality charged the leaders w ith lathis. Lalaji w as struck. It proved a deadly blow and later lies succumbed to his injuries. While dying he said, The blow s I got are but the death-knells of the British Empire in India. No sooner did Azad hear of this dastardly crime, then he turned black w ith rage. He rushed to Lahore and conferred there w ith his friends. Suitable action to avenge the insult w as planned. It seemed to Azad that even his life w ould be too small a price to pay for the action. Selecting a few of his trusted follow ers, he explained to them the plan of his action and gave necessary instructions. As previously arranged, this operation w as directed by Chandrashekhar Azad, Rajguru, Bhagat Singh and Jaigopal. All these chiefs remained in hiding behind the Police Office in Lahore. As soon as Scott and Saunders came out, a volley of bullets struck them. Saunders w as killed and Scott saved himself. Thus, Lalajis death w as avenged. Martyrdom Once again, Azad w as never captured. Vigilant police of the British rule in India w ere on the look out for Azad. All attempts to catch him proved fruitless. There a r e n u me r o u s s t o r i e s r e l a t e d t oA z a ds h i d e a n d s e e kw i t hB r i t i s hR a j d u r i n g t h e s e days. He w as an expert in using camouflage, w hich he used on various occasions. His stories of escaping the British police became the talk of common household. Police w ere bew ildered and tired. At long last came the fateful day. On February 27, 1931 Azad w as hiding in Alfred Park of Prayag, Allahabad in Utar Pradesh, w aiting for a colleague for a secret meeting. Police had the clue and a successful net w as draw n around the park. There are some unconfirmed and somew hat controversial accounts of one of his comrades having been a traitor and police spy. Anyw ays , police laid dow n a cordon w ith a troop of 80 sepoys to surround the Alfred Park and started fire. He only had a short range pistol w ith him and limited bullets. For quite sometime he held them at bay single-handedly w ith a small pistol and few cartridges. Fighting back bravely, he used the bullets to only target the british sepoys. In the end, Left w ith only one bullet, he fired it at his ow n temple and lived up to his resolve that he w ould never be arrested at the hands of British. He used to fondly recite a Hindi sher, probably his only poetic composition: Dushm an ki goliyon ka hum sam na karenge, Azad hee rahein hain, Azad hee rahenge (Will face the enemies bullets Will remain free, Will Remain Free) ( Chandra Shekhar Azad sacrifices his life from the movie Bhagat Singh) Azad becam e Azad forever . Only being of 24 years in age, this illustrious son of Bharat Mata laid dow n his life, to live forever in the heart of Indian nationalists.

His image of a proud young Indian w ith the naked back and Janeu (Hindu religious thread) and left hand shaping the mustache w ould keep inspiring the generations of Indian nationalists for a long long time.