1857- Not A Sepoy Mutiny, But A War of Independence
The 1857 great War of Indian Independence was a continuation of the one thousand years of Hindu resistance against foreign rule, this time against the British.
Not A Sepoy Mutiny But A War of Independence
The British derided this war as an ordinary and localised Sepoy mutiny and an attempt to protect kingdoms and feudal states, so that the ordinary masses would not get any inspiration from it. Unfortunately, a section of our countrymen joined this chorus and started describing it as merely a Sepoy mutiny. Even our history textbooks too present it in the same manner.
Contrary to this, this was a nationwide struggle and continued till down-south as well.
Key Issues : This war was fought all over the country on the issues of Swarajya, Swadharma, Swadeshi and Goraksha. Kamal (lotus), the symbol of Hindu Dharma and roti (bread) — the symbol of the basic needs of common man were used as war symbols and people participated in large numbers from urban, rural, forest and hill areas. Precisely for this reason, the then British government had perpetrated heinous atrocities on common people along with freedom fighters. Read More
Lachit Borphukan – A Bulwark Against the Delhi Sultans
Assam was the only State in Bharat which defeated successive attempts at invasion by the Delhi Sultans and the Mughal Emperors. The state survived 17 invasions. Lachit Borphukan and many other brave kings and generals ensured that the North East of Bharat remained free from the Muslim invasions.
In the mid 1600s the Mughal Empire was in the noontide of its glory – one of the greatest and largest empires in the world with a power army to match it. By force and conciliation it had overrun a large part of India before their fanatical policies of religious persecution led to a series of uprisings and revolutions that brought the entire empire crashing into the dustbin of history.
Udham Singh – A Lion With Perseverance
Udham Singh was 20 years at the point of time when he resolved that he would avenge the massacre of Jallianwalla Bagh. For 21 years, he waited and worked for an opportunity to execute the mass murderer Lt.Governor Michael O Dwyer.
His last words were equally inspirational as was his commitment to a pledge. I don’t care, I don’t mind dying. What Is the use of waiting till you get old? This Is no good. You want to die when you are young. That is good, that Is what I am doing.
Lala Hardayal – A Life in Exile
Lala Har Dayal (October 14, 1884 – March 4, 1939) was a nationalist who founded the Ghadar Party in America. He was a polymath who turned down a career in the Indian Civil Service. His simple living and intellectual acumen inspired many expatriate Indians living in Canada and the USA. He wrote “The awakening of patriotism through the teaching of national history is thus the first requisite of a sound educational system. It must awaken in boys a sense of their the national type of character; it must accustom boys to the national modes of life and thought which are around them. Popular education will lead to a demand for free political institution. The despotism of the princes will be curbed; so it has been in Europe, so it shall be in India.” Read More
Jatindranath Das- A Forgotten Hero
On 13th Sept, 1929, a year and half before Bhagat Singh trio, Lahore Conspiracy Case, claimed another victim viz Jatin Das. Subhas Bose, who admired Jatin Das wrote, Jatin Das was twenty-five at the time of his death. While a student he had joined the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921 and had spent several years in prison. At the time of the Calcutta Congress in 1928 and after, he had taken a leading part in organising and training volunteers (pp 179-80). In June, arrestees of Lahore Conspiracy Case decided to go on hunger strike to protest against atrocities. Though Jatin Das did not initiate that hunger strike, nonetheless he stopped them from deserting. The hunger strike aroused intense agitation in the country, but little softened the heart of the British authorities. He fasted for 63 days.
Bose chronicled subsequently, as the days rolled by, one by one the hunger-strikers dropped off, but young Jatin was invincible. He never hesitated, never faltered for one small second but marched straight on towards death and freedom. Every heart in the country melted but the heart of the bureaucracy did not. So Jatin died on September 13th. But he died a martyr’s death. After his supreme sacrifice, the whole country gave him an ovation which few men in our recent history have received. As his body was removed from Lahore to Calcutta for cremation, people assembled in their thousands and tens of thousands at every station to pay their homage (p 179). Read More
Ramprasad Bismil – The Poet Revolutionary
Ramaprasad Bismil was an exemplary man who lived like a hero and died like a hero. In him were blended those great qualities which Indian culture has regarded as ideal and has held in great respect.
The Motherland, trodden under the iron heel of the foreigner, should become free; the right way to achieve it was armed revolution – so he thought. No matter what problems and obstacles came in his way, no matter what thorns crowded his way, he walked with his head held high. Death lay in wait on that path. But yet he did not flinch.
He was never treacherous to anyone. When he suspected treachery, he denounced the traitors without casing for their position or prestige. In a way, he had to die only because he was not prepared to be treacherous.
In his autobiography he has narrated how he was arrested and taken to the police station in connection with the Kakori case. ‘The arrests had kept the police officers busy throughout the night and they had not slept. They all went away. Even the one constable who was on guard was fast asleep. Only one clerk was in the station busy writing. He was Roshan Singh’s cousin. If I had wished,I could have simply walked out. But that clerk would have got into great trouble. I called him and told him that I would walk away if he was prepared to face the consequences. He knew me well. He fell at my feet and said that he would be arrested if I did so and that his wife and children would have to starve and die. I pitied him.’ After a little while Rama- prasad found an excuse to go out; the constable on guard went with him. The other constables said, “Put him in chains” but he declared, ” I have faith in him, he will not run away.” ‘We went to a lonely place. I placed my palms on the wall and looked back. The guard was watching a wrestling match and was absorbed in it. One leap and I could have scaled the wall. After that who could have caught me? But my inner self said, “Would you cheat and send to prison that poor constable who trusted you and gave you so much freedom? Is it right? What will his, wife and children think of you?” This thought filled my mind, I drew a long breath, called the guard and returned to the police station.’
Whether it was a clerk or a constable, the man who had trusted him should not be betrayed. This was his principle. Even in prison, the prison guards had great faith in him because of his conduct. Even after he was sentenced to death, his principles remained unchanged.He was not prepared to escape, leaving those who had trusted him in trouble.
The Kakori Rail Dacoity is a great land, mark in the history of the revolutionary movement in India. It was the brave Rama- prasad Bismil who planned and executed it faultlessly.
Ramaprasad Bismil lives forever in our memory as a revolutionary, as a revolu- tionary – writer and, above all, as an ideal man.
“Even if I have to face death a thousand times for the sake of my Motherland I shall not be sorry. Oh Lord! Grant me a hundred births in Bharath. But grant me this, too, that each time I may give up my life in the service of the Motherland.” Read More
Subramanya Bharathi – Rashtra Kavi
Subramanya Bharathi kindled the patriotic fervour not only through poems but also through his editorials. The following editorial penned by him in the April 10, 1909 edition of the Tamil magazine India is an example: “I have said many times that our bhakthi towards this nation should be like that of Prahalad had towards Vishnu. The European countries like Ireland, which doesnt have the idea of “bhakthi to land” is considering of promoting “desh bhakthi” as religion. What are we doing? Let us remember the words of Swami Vivekananda, ‘The poor, the downtrodden, the ignorant-let them be your God.’ Read More
Babu Genu and the Spirit of Swadeshi
Babu Genu was not formally educated. Yet he understood the symbiotic link between geo-politics and geo-economics. He understood that the geo-strategic interests of the British Rule in India. He knew that economics was the driving force of British rule; establishment of the British Raj was merely a ruse to perpetuate the economic dominance of the British over India. It is in this context Babu Genu understood the socio-economic-politic arguments propounded by Gandhiji and its significance. That meant that should the British rule were to be economically unsustainable it would collapse as there would be hardly any incentive for the British to continue their rule in India. He knew economic independence of India was interlinked, intertwined and integrated to the political independence – a fact that escapes the attention of our political and the debating class today. Read More of his Life
U Kiang Nangbah
The British initially adopted a policy of least interference and left the Jaintia people almost entirely to themselves for a period of more than two decades. During these periods U Kiang Nangbah became fully aware about the policies and plan of the British to impose authority on the Jaintias. However, the anti-British feelings started when the British India Government attempted to impose taxes and interfered with the custom and religious activities of the people. These acts are viewed by the people as an attempt of the British to impose authority and make the people “submissive to the authority” and to “acknowledge the supremacy of the British government”.
In 1860, a House Tax was imposed in Jaintia Hills. The public pronouncement of this imposition was made by Manik Pakyntein a Dorbar held at Mïnkoi Pïrdi in 1859.. U Kiang Nangbah gave a befitting reply in the dorbar and said, “Natives do not pay taxes to the foreigners”. In the same year, many more taxes were imposed which includes Income Tax and duties on trade and other commodities despite the people of Jaintia had made it clear that they would not pay any forms of taxes imposed by the foreigner. Read More
Rifleman Jaswant Singh – A Hero of the 1962 Indo-China War
Rifleman(RFN) Jaswant Singh, number 4039009, was serving with the 4th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles.On 17 November the battalion was subjected to repeated Chinese assaults. A Chinese medium machine gun (MMG) located at a vantage point close to the A company lines was proving to be a dangerous menace. Jaswant, Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi and RFN Gopal Singh Gusain went after the Chinese MMG and after approaching within 12 metres threw grenades at the bunker and charged it, killing a number of Chinese and capturing the MMG. Jaswant took the MMG and began crawling back towards the Indian lines but he and Trilok were fatally hit by Chinese automatic fire when nearing safety.Gopal Gusain was wounded but managed to drag the MMG into the Indian post. This turned the course of the battle and the Chinese retreated, leaving some 300 dead behind. Jaswant was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (posthumous) and Trilok and Gopal the Vir Chakra. A popular and widely-disseminated local story
On the eve of going to gallows, the brave son of Maa Bharati said
” As a Hindu I felt that a wrong done to my country is an insult to God. Her cause is the cause of Sri Ram! Her services are the services of Sri Krishna! Poor in health and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the Mother but his own blood and so I have sacrificed the same on her altar.
The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die and the only way to teach it, is by dying ourselves. Therefore I die and glory in my martyrdom! This war of Independence will continue between India and England, so long as the Hindu and the English races last (if the present unnatural relation does not cease!)
My only prayer to God is: May I be reborn of the same Mother and may I redie in the same sacred cause, till the cause is successful and she stands free for the good of humanity and the glory of God!” Read More
Vasudeo Balwant Phadke
After the loss of 1857 War of Independence, the nation was in despair and the youth felt despair. Vasudeo Balwant Phadke’s role in reviving the spirit of nationalism and the drive to fight for freedom is unforgettable. Read More
Bagha Jatin was one of the many freedom fighters who were inspired by Swami Vivekananda. When he expressed his desire to become a sanyasin, Swamiji exhorted him to become strong and consolidate youth for the nation. His life has to be retold to millions of youth of our nation to spur them in the cause of this nation’s progress . Read More