Bagha Jatin

Bagha Jatin

Infobox revolution biography
name= Jatindranath Mukherjee
lived=7 December 1879–10 September 1915


caption= Jatindranath Mukherjee, also known as Bagha Jatin
alternate name=Bagha Jatin
placeofbirth=Kayagram, Kushtia District, Bangladesh
placeofdeath=Balasore, Orissa, India
movement=Indian Independence movement, Indo-German Conspiracy, Christmas Day plot
organizations=Jugantar

Bagha Jatin ( _bn. বাঘা যতীন "Bāghā Jōtin", lit: Tiger Jatin) , born Jatindranath Mukherjee ( _bn. যতীন্দ্রনাথ মুখোপাধ্যায় "Jotindrônāth Mukhōpaddhāē") (7 December 1879 – 10 September 1915) was a Bengali Indian revolutionary philosopher against British rule. He was the principal leader of the Yugantar party that was the central association of revolutionaries in Bengal. Having personally met the German Crown-Prince in Calcutta shortly before the 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. [ "Nixon Report", in "Terrorism in Bengal", Edited and Compiled by A.K. Samanta, Government of West Bengal, Calcutta, 1995, Vol. II, p625] Another of his original contributions was the indoctrination of the Indian soldiers in various regiments in favour of an insurrection. [ "Les origines intellectuelles du mouvemenr d’indépendance de l’Inde (1893-1918)", PhD Thesis (Doctorat d’Etat) defended by Prithwindra Mukherjee in 1986]

Early life

Jatin was born to Sharatshashi and Umeshchandra Mukherjee in Kayagram, a village in the Kushtia subdivision of Nadia district in what is now Bangladesh. He grew up in his ancestral home at Sadhuhati, P.S. Rishkhali Jhenaidah until his father's death when Jatin was five years old. Well versed in Brahmanic studies, his father liked horses and was respected for the strength of his character. Sharatshashi settled in her parents' home in Kayagram with her husband and his elder sister Benodebala (or Vinodebala). A gifted poet, she was affectionate and stern in her method of raising her children. Familiar with the essays by contemporary thought leaders like Bankimchandra Chatterjee and Yogendra Vidyabhushan, she was aware of the social and political transformations of her times. Her brother Basantakumar Chatterjee taught and practised law, and counted among his clients the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Since the age of 14, Tagore had claimed in meetings organised by his family members equal rights for Indian citizens inside railway carriages and in public places. As Jatin grew older, he gained a reputation for physical bravery and great strength; charitable and cheerful by nature, he was fond of caricature and enacting mythological plays, himself playing the roles of god-loving characters like Prahlad, Dhruva, Hanuman, Râja Harish Chandra. He not only encouraged several playwrights to produce patriotic pieces for the urban stage, but also engaged village bards to spread nationalist fervour in the countryside. ["Paribarik Katha" and "Durgotsav", by Lalitkumar Chatterjee, Jatin's uncle and revolutionary colleague, who published also Jatin’s biography, "Biplabi Jatindranath" in 1947.] Jatin had a natural respect for the human creature, heedless of class or caste or religions. He carried for an aged Muslim villager a heavy bundle of fodder and, on reaching her hut, he shared with her the only platter of rice she had, and sent her some money every month. [ Handwritten "Notes" by Benodebala Devi, preserved at the Nehru Museum, New Delhi ]

tudent in Calcutta

After passing the Entrance examination in 1895, Jatin joined the Calcutta Central College (now Khudiram Bose College), to study Fine Arts. Parallelly, he took lessons in steno typing with Mr Atkinson: this is a new qualification opening possibilities of a coveted career. Soon he started visiting Swami Vivekananda, whose social thought, and especially his vision of a politically independent India - indispensable for the spiritual progress of humanity - had a great influence on Jatin. The Master taught him the art of conquering libido before raising a batch of young volunteers "with iron muscles and nerves of steel", to serve miserable compatriots during famines, epidemics and floods, and running clubs for "man-making" in the context of a nation under foreign domination. They soon assisted Sister Nivedita, the Swami's Irish disciple, in this venture. According to J. E. Armstrong, Superintendent of the colonial Police, Jatin "owed his preeminent position in revolutionary circles, not only to his qualities of leadership, but in great measure to his reputation of being a Brahmachari with no thought beyond the revolutionary cause." ["Terrorism in Bengal", Ed. Amiya K. Samanta, Government of West Bengal, 1995, Vol. II, p393] Noticing his ardent desire to die for a cause, Vivekananda sent Jatin to the Gymnasium of Ambu Guha where he himself had practised wrestling. Jatin met here, among others, Sachin Banerjee, son of Yogendra Vidyabhushan (a popular author of biographies like "Mazzini" and "Garibaldi"), who turned into Jatin’s mentor. In 1900, his uncle Lalit Kumar married Vidyabhushan's daughter.

Fed up with the colonial system of education, Jatin left for Muzaffarpore in 1899, as secretary of Barrister Kennedy, founder and editor of the "Trihoot Courrier". He was impressed by this historian: through his editorials and from the Congress platform, he showed how urgent it was to have an Indian National Army and to react against the British squandering of Indian budget to safeguard their interests in China and elsewhere. [ "Militant Nationalism in India", by Bimanbehari Majumdar, 1966, p111] In 1900, Jatin married Indubala Banerjee of Kumarkhali "upazila" in Kushtia; they had four children: Atindra (1903–1906), Ashalata (1907–1976), Tejendra (1909–1989), and Birendra (1913–1991).Struck by Atindra’s untimely death, Jatin, with his wife and sister, set out on a pilgrimage and recovered their inner peace by receiving initiation from the saint Bholanand Giri of Hardwar. Aware of his disciple’s revolutionary commitments, the holy man extended to him his full support. Upon returning to his native village Koya in March 1906, Jatin learned about the disturbing presence of a leopard in the vicinity; while in the nearby jungle, he came across a Royal Bengal tiger and foughthand-to-hand with it. Mortally wounded, he managed to plunge a Darjeeling dagger in the tiger's neck, killing it instantly. The famous surgeon of Calcutta, Lt-Colonel Suresh Sarbadhikari, "took upon himself the responsibility for curing the fatally wounded patient whose whole body had been poisoned by the tiger’s nails." [ "Two Great Indian Revolutionaries", pp167-168] Impressed by Jatin’s exemplary heroism, Dr Sarbadhikari published an article about Jatin in the English press. The Government of Bengal awarded him a silver shield with the scene of him killing the tiger engraved on it. [ Dr Kumar Bagchi’s Talks with Prithwindra Mukherjee, preserved at the Nehru Museum, New Delhi.]

Revolutionary activities

Several sources mention Jatin as being among the founders of the Anushilan Samiti in 1900, and as a pioneer in creating its branches in the districts. According to Daly's Report: "A secret meeting was held in Calcutta about the year 1900 [...] The meeting resolved to start secret societies with the object of assassinating officials and supporters of Government [...] One of the first to flourish was at Kushtea, in the Nadia district. This was organised by one Jotindra Nath Mukherjee ["sic"!] .". ["op. cit." Vol. I, p.14.] Nixon reports further : "The earliest known attempts in Bengal to promote societies for political or semi-political ends are associated with the names of the late P. Mitter, Barrister-at-Law, Miss Saralabala Ghosal and a Japanese named Okakura. These activities commenced in Calcutta somewhere about the year 1900, and are said to have spread to many of the districts of Bengal and to have flourished particularly at Kushtia, where Jatindra Nath Mukharji ["sic"!] was leader." ["op. cit.", Vol. II, p.509.] Bhavabhushan Mitra's written notes precise his presence along with Jatindra Nath during the first meeting. A branch of this organisation (Anushilan Samiti), was to be inaugurated in Dacca. In 1903, on meeting Sri Aurobindo at Yogendra Vidyabhushan's place, Jatin decides to collaborate with him and is said to have added to his programme the clause of winning over the Indian soldiers of the British regiments in favour of an insurrection. W. Sealy in his report on "Connections with Bihar and Orissa" notes that Jatin Mukherjee "a close confederate of Nani Gopal Sen Gupta of the Howrah Gang (...) worked directly under the orders of Arabinda Ghosh." ["op. cit.", Vol. V, p.63.]

In 1905, during a procession to celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales at Calcutta, Jatin decides to draw the attention of the future Emperor on the behaviour of HM’s English officers. Not far from the royal coach, he singles out a cabriolet on a side-lane, with a group of English military men sitting on its roof, their booted legs dangling against the windows, seriously disturbing the livid faces of a few native ladies. Stopping beside the cab, Jatin asks the fellows to leave the ladies alone. In response to their cheeky provocation, Jatin rushes up to the roof and fells them with pure Bengali slaps till they drop on the ground. [ Notes by Vinodebala Devi] The show is not innocent. Jatin is well aware that John Morley, the Secretary of State, receives regularly complaints about the English attitude towards Indian citizens, "The use of rough language and pretty free use of whips and sticks, and brutalities of that sort…" [ India under Morley and Minto, by M.N. Das, George Allen and Unwin, 1964, p25] He will be further intimated that the Prince of Wales, "on his return from the Indian tour had a long conversation with Morley [10/5/1906] (...) He spoke of the ungracious bearing of Europeans to Indians." [ "loc. cit".]

Organiser of secret society

Jatin, together with Barindra Ghosh, sets up a bomb factory near Deoghar, while Barin does the same at Maniktala in Calcutta. Whereas Jatin disapproves of all untimely terrorist action, Barin leads an organisation centred around his own personality : his aim is, aside from the general production of terror, the elimination of certain Indian and British officers serving the Crown. Side by side, Jatin develops a decentralised federated body of loose autonomous regional cells. Organising relentless relief missions with a para medical body of volunteers following almost a military discipline, during natural calamities such as floods, epidemics, or religious congregations like the Ardhodaya and the Kumbha mela, or the annual celebration of Ramakrishna’s birth, Jatin is suspected of utilising these as pretexts for group discussions with regional leaders and recruiting new militants. [ "Political Trouble", p9. Also, "A Note on the Ramakrishna Mission" by Charles Tegart, in "Terrorism", Vol. IV, pp1364-66] Duly appreciated for his professional competence, in 1907 Jatin is "sent to Darjeeling on some special work," for a period of three years. "From early youth he had had the reputation of a local Sandow and he soon attracted attention in Darjeeling in cases in which (…) he tried to measure the strength with Europeans. In 1908 he was leader of one of several gangs that had sprung up in Darjeeling, whose object was the spreading of dissatisfaction, and with his associates he started a branch of the Anushilan Samiti, called the Bandhab Samiti.” [ Report by W. Sealy, "Connections with the Revolutionary organisation in Bihar and Orissa, 1906-16", quoted in "Two Great Indian Revolutionaries", pp165-166] In April 1908, in Siliguri railway station, Jatin gets involved in a fight with a group of English military officers headed by Captain Murphy and Lt Somerville, leading to legal proceedings, widely covered by the press. ["Notes" by Bhavabhûshan. Also, "The Statesman", 28 January 1910.] On observing the gleeful animosity created by the news of a few Englishmen thrashed single-handed by an Indian, Wheeler advises the officers to withdraw the case. Warned by the Magistrate to behave properly in the future, Jatin regrets that he would not refrain from taking similar action in self-defence or in the vindication of the rights of his countrymen. ["Two Great", p166] One day, in a pleasant mood, Wheeler asks Jatin : "With how many can you fight all alone ?" The prompt reply is : "Not a single one, if it is a question of honest people; otherwise, as many as you can imagine!" [ "Notes" by Benodebala Devi.]

In 1908 Jatin is not one of over thirty revolutionaries accused in the Alipore bomb case following the incident at Muzaffarpur. Hence, during the Alipore trial, Jatin takes over the leadership of the secret society to be known as the Jugantar Party, and revitalises the links between the central organisation in Calcutta and its several branches spread all over Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and several places in U.P.. ["M.N. Roy's Memoirs" p3] Through Justice Sarada Charan Mitra, Jatin leases from Sir Daniel Hamilton lands in the Sundarbans to shelter revolutionaries not yet arrested. They are engaged in night schools for adults, homeopathic dispensaries, workshops to encourage small scale cottage industries, experiments in agriculture. Since 1906, with the help of Sir Daniel, Jatin sends meritorious students abroad for higher studies as well as for learning military craft. ["First Spark of Revolution" by Arun Chandra Guha, Orient Longman, 1971, p.161; "biplabi jîbaner smriti" by Jadugopal Mukhopadhyay, 1982 (2nd Ed.), pp 282-283]

The Jatin Mukherjee Spirit

Repressive measures in series are introduced to quench the rising sedition since the agitations against the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Protesting against these repressions and organising the defence of the militants under trial in the Alipore Case, Jatin issues a series of dazzling actions of daring and desperate self-sacrifice in Calcutta and in the districts "to revive the confidence of the people in the movement. These brought him into the limelight of revolutionary leadership although hardly anybody outside the innermost circle ever suspected his connection with those acts. Secrecy was absolute in those days – particularly with Jatin." [ "First Spark", p163] Almost contemporaneous with the anarchist gang of Bonnot well known in France, Jatin invents and introduces in India bank robbery on automobile taxi-cabs, « a new feature in revolutionary crime. » [ "Rowlatt Report", §68-§69] Several outrages are committed : for instance, in 1908, on 2 June and 29 November; an attempt to assassinate the Lt Governor of Bengal on 7 November 1908; in 1909, on 27 February, 23 April, 16 Augustt, 24 September and 28 October; two assassinations – of the Prosecutor Ashutosh Biswas (on 10 February 1909) and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Samsul Alam (on 24 January 1910): both these officers having been determined to get all the accused condemned. Arrested, outwitted by the Police, Biren Datta-Gupta, the latter’s assassin, discloses Jatin’s name as his leader.

On 25 January 1910, "with the gloom of his assassination hanging over everyone", the Viceroy Minto declares openly : "A "spirit" hitherto unknown to India has come into existence (…), a "spirit" of anarchy and lawlessness which seeks to subvert not only British rule but the Governments of Indian chiefs…” [ "Minto Papers", M.1092, Viceroy’s speech at First Meeting of Reformed Council, January 25, 1910; "India under Morley and Minto", p122.] On 27 January 1910, Jatin is arrested in connection with this murder, but is released, to be immediately re-arrested along with forty-six others in connection with the Howrah-Sibpur conspiracy case, popularly known as the Howrah Gang Case. The major charge against Jatin Mukherjee and his party during the trial (1910–1911) is "conspiracy to wage war against the King-Emperor" and "tampering with the loyalty of the Indian soldiers" (mainly with the 10th Jats Regiment) posted in Fort William, and soldiers in Upper Indian Cantonments. [ "Sedition Committee Report" by Rowlatt, 1918)] While held in Howrah jail, awaiting trial, Jatin makes contact with a few fellow prisoners, prominent revolutionaries belonging to various groups operating in different parts of Bengal, who were all accused in this case. He is also informed by his emissaries abroad that very soon Germany is to declare war against England. Jatin counts heavily on this war to organise an armed uprising along with Indian soldiers in various regiments. ["Nixon’s Report" in "Terrorism in Bengal", Vol. II, p.591]

The Howrah-Sibpur conspiracy case

The case fails because of lack of proper evidence thanks to Jatin's policy of a loose decentralised organisation federating scores of regional units, as observed by F.C. Daly more than once: "The gang is a heterogeneous one, with several advisers and petty chiefs... From information we have on record we may divide the gang into four parts: (1) Gurus, (2) Influential supporters, (3) Leaders, (4) Members." ["Terorism in Bengal" Vol. I, p.60] J.C. Nixon's report is more explicit : "Although a separate name and a separate individuality have been given to these various parties in this account of them, and although such a distinction was probably observed amongst the minor members, it is very clear that the bigger figures were in close communication with one another and were frequently accepted members of two or more of these "samitis". It may be taken that at some time these various parties were engaged in anarchical crime independently, although in their revolutionary aims and usually in their origins they were all very closely related." ["Terrorism in Bengal", Vol. II, p.522] Several observers pinpoint Jatin so accurately that the newly appointed Viceroy Lord Hardinge writes more explicitly to Earl Crewe (H.M.'s Secretary of State for India): "As regards prosecution, I (...) deprecate the net being thrown so wide; as for example in the Howrah Gang case, where 47 persons are being prosecuted, of whom only "one is", I believe, "the real criminal". If a concentrated effort had been made to convict "this one criminal", I think it would have had a better effect than the prosecution of 46 misguided youths." [Hardinge Papers, Book 117, No.5, preserved at the Cambridge University Archives. ] On 28 May, 1911, Hardinge recognises : "The 10th Jats case was part and parcel of the Howrah Gang Case; and with the failure in the latter, the Government of Bengal realised the futility of proceeding with the former... In fact, nothing could be worse, in my opinion, than the condition of Bengal and Eastern Bengal. "There is practically no Government in either province"..." [Hardinge Papers, Book 81, Vol. II, No.231. Italics by BobClive.]

A New Perspective

Jatin is acquitted in February 1911 and released. Immediately, he suspends terrorism. This lull proves Jatin's full command of violence as an antidote, contrary to the Chauri Chaura fiasco after him. During the German Crown Prince's visit to Calcutta, Jatin meets him and receives a promise about arms supply. [Nixon's Report in "Terrorism in Bengal", Vol. II, p625] Having lost his government job and home interned, he manages to leave Calcutta, to start a contract business constructing the Jessore–Jhenaidah railway line. This provides him with a valid pretext and an ample scope to move about on horse-back or on bicycle to consolidate not only the district units in Bengal, but also to revitalise those in other provinces. Jatin with his family sets out on a pilgrimage, and at Haridwar visits his Guru, Bholananda Giri. Jatin goes on to Brindavan where he meets Swami Niralamba (who had been Jatindra Nath Banerjee, a renowned revolutionary, before leading a sanyasi's life); he continues preaching in North India Sri Aurobindo's doctrine of a revolution.

Niralamba gives Jatin complementary information about and links to the units set up by him in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab; an important part of revolutionary activities in these regions are led by Rasbehari Bose and his associate Lala Hardayal. On return from his pilgrimage, Jatin starts reorganising Jugantar accordingly. During the Damodar flood in 1913, mainly in the districts of Burdwan and Midnapore, relief work brings together leaders of various groups : Jatin "never asserted his leadership, but the party members in the different districts acclaimed him as their leader." [ A.C. Guha, a militant under Jatin, in "First Spark", p163]

Drawn by Jatin’s relief work during the flood, Rasbehari Bose leaves Benares to join him : the contact with Jatin adds a new impulse to Bose’s revolutionary zeal : in Jatin, he discovers “a real leader of men” ["Two Great Indian Revolutionaries", 1966, p119, p177 ] At the close of 1913, Bose meets Jatin to discuss the possibilities of an All-India armed rising of 1857 type. Impressed by Jatin’s "fiery energy and personality", Bose renews negotiation with the native officers posted at the Fort William of Calcutta, the nerve centre of the various regiments of the colonial Army, before returning to Benares "to organise the scattered forces." ["Two Great", p177. Also, Amarendra Chatterjee’s letter (dated 4 August, 1954) in "Biplabi jîban’ér smriti", by Jâdugopâl Mukherjee, 1982 (2nd edition), p535.]

There are also attempts to organise expatriate Indian revolutionaries in Europe and the United States. Jatin’s influence is international. The Bengali writer Dhan Gopâl Mukerji, settled in New York and, at the summit of his glory, will write : «Before 1914 we succeeded in disturbing the equilibrium of the government… Then extraordinary powers were given to the police, who called us anarchists in order to prejudice us forever in the eyes of the world… Dost thou remember Jyotin, our cousin – he that once killed a leopard with a dagger, putting his left elbow in the leopard’s mouth and with his right hand thrusting the knife through the brute’s eye deep into its brain ? He was a very great man and our first leader. He could think of God ten days at a stretch, but he was doomed when the Government found out that he was our head.” [ "My Brother’s Face", E.P. Dutton & Co, New York, 7th Printing, 1927, pp206-207]

Right since 1907, Jatin’s emissary, Taraknath Das organises with Guran Ditt Kumar and Surendramohan Bose evening schools for Indian immigrants (a majority of them Hindus and Sikhs) between Vancouver and San Francisco, through Seattle and Portland : in addition to learning how to read and write simple English, they are informed about their rights in the USA and thei duty towards Mother India : two periodicals - "Free Hindustan" (In English, sponsored by local Irish revolutionaries) and "Swadesh Sevak" (‘Servants of the Motherland’, in Gurumukhi) – become increasingly popular. In regular contact with Calcutta and London (managed by Shyamji Krishnavarma), Das writes regularly to personalities throughout the world (like Leo Tolstoy and De Valera). In Mai 1913, Kumar leaves for Manilla for creating a satellite linking Asia with the American West coast. Familiar with the doctrine of Sri Aurobindo and an erstwhile follower of Rasbehari Bose, in 1913, invited by Das, Har Dayal resigns from his teaching job at the University of Berkeley, to set out on a lecture tour covering the major centres of Indian immigrants; he preaches open revolt against the English rulers of India. Welcomed by the Indian militants of San Francisco, in November, he founds his journal "Ghadar" (‘Revolt’) and the Yugantar Ashram, as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo. The Sikh community also becomes involved in the movement.

During World War I

When World War I breaks out, in September 1914, an International Pro-India Committee is formed at Zurich. Later it merges into a bigger body, to form the Berlin Committee, or the Indian Independence Party, led by Virendranath Chattopadhyaya alias Chatto : it gains the support of the German government and has as members prominent Indian revolutionaries abroad, including leaders of the Ghadar Party. Militants of the Gadhar party leave for India, and join the proposed uprising inside India during World War I, with the help of arms, ammunition, and funds promised by the German government. Advised by Berlin, Ambassador Bernstorff in Washington arranged with Von Papen, his Military attaché, to send cargo consignments from California to the coast of the Bay of Bengal, via Far East. ["England’s Indian Trouble" in The Berliner Tageblatt', 6 March 1914]

These efforts are directly connected with the Jugantar, under Jatin's leadership, in its planning and organising an armed revolt. Rasbehari Bose assumes the task of carrying out the plan in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. This international chain work conceived by Jatin comes to be known as the German Plot, the Indo-German Conspiracy, or the Zimmermann Plan. Jugantar starts to collect funds by organising a series of "dacoities" (armed robberies) known as "Taxicab dacoities" and "Boat dacoities". Charles Tegart, in his "Report No. V" on the seditious organisations mentions the "certain amount of success" in the contact that exists between the revolutionaries and the Sikh soldiers posted at Dakshineshwar gunpowder magazine; Jatin Mukherjee in company of Satyendra Sen is seen interviewing these Sikhs. Sen "is the man who came to India with Pingle. Their mission was specially to tamper with the troops. Pingle was captured in the Punjab with bombs and was hanged, while Satyen was interned under Regulation III in the Presidency Jail." ["Terrorism in Bengal", Vol. III, p505] With Jatin's written instructions, Pingle and Kartar Singh Sarabha meet Rasbehari in North India. ["Militant Nationalism in India", by Bimanbehari Majumdar, Calcutta, 1966, p167]

Preoccupied by the increasing police activities to prevent any uprising, eminent Jugantar members suggest that Jatin should move to a safer place. Balasore on the Orissa coast is selected as a suitable place, being very near the spot where German arms are to be landed for the Indian rising. To facilitate transmission of information to Jatin, a business house under the name "Universal Emporium" is set up, as a branch of Harry & Sons in Calcutta, created in order to keep contacts with revolutionaries abroad. Jatin therefore moves to a hideout outside Kaptipada village in the native state of Mayurbhanj, more than thirty miles away from Balasore.

On reaching Orissa, Jatin sends Naren Bhattacharya (future M.N. Roy) to Batavia in April, 1915, following instructions from Chatto, in order to make a deal with the German authorities concerning financial aid and the supply of arms. Through the German Consul, Naren meets Theodore, brother of Karl Helfferich who assures him that a cargo of arms and ammunition is already on its way, "to assist the Indians in a revolution." ["Two Great", p186]

The Czech interlude

The plot leaked out through Czech revolutionaries who are in touch with their counterparts in the United States. ["Spy and Counter-Spy" by E.V. Voska and W. Irwin, pp98, 108, 120, 122–123, 126–127; "The Making of a State" by T.G. Masaryk, pp50, 221, 242; "Indian Revolutionaries Abroad" by A.C. Bose, pp232–233] In a recent article, ("CS-magazin", Emigrant, ktery se vratil do Ceska na duchod, [ [http://www.cs-magazin.com/2006-08/view.php?article=articles/cs0608116.htm CS Magazin ] at www.cs-magazin.com] Ross Hedviček writes that in the beginning of World War I, in 1915, Emanuel Victor Voska organised the minority of Czech nationalists in USA into a network of counter- espionage, putting up to date the spying activity of the German and Austrian diplomats against USA and the allied powers. He described these events later in his book "Spy and counter-spy" (E.V. Voska & W. Irwin). And these were not merely minor deeds, most of them having had international impact and historic consequences. On the movement of liberation and independence of India, for example. Ross Hedviček claims that had E.V. Voska not interfered in this history, today nobody would have heard about Mahatma Gandhi and "the father of the Indian nation would have been Bagha Jatin". [italics by BobClive] Ross Hedviček says it briefly: Bagha Jatin wanted to free India from the British hold but he had the idea of allying against them with the Germans from whom he expected to receive arms and other helps. Voska learnt it through his network and, as pro-American, pro-British and anti-German, he spoke of it to T.G. Masaryk [Tomáš Masaryk (1850-1937), the first President of the Czech Republic that he founded in 1918.] This latter (…) rushed to keep the institutions informed about it. Thus, Voska transmitted it to Masaryk, Masaryk to the Americans, the Americans to the British.

Jatin's death

As soon as the information reached the British authorities, they alerted the police, particularly in the delta region of the Ganges, and sealed off all the sea approaches on the eastern coast from the Noakhali–Chittagong side to Orissa. Harry & Sons was raided and searched, and the police found a clue which led them to Kaptipada village, where Jatin was staying with Manoranjan Sengupta and Chittapriya Ray Chaudhuri; a unit of the Police Intelligence Department was dispatched to Balasore.Jatin was kept informed and was advised to leave his hiding place, but his insistence on taking Niren and Jatish with him delayed his departure by a few hours, by which time a large force of police, headed by top European officers from Calcutta and Balasore, reinforced by the army unit from Chandbali in Mayurbhanj State, had reached the neighbourhood. Jatin and his companions walked through the forests and hills of Mayurbhanj, and after two days reached Balasore Railway Station.

The police had announced a reward for the capture of five fleeing "bandits", so the local villagers were also in pursuit. With occasional skirmishes, the revolutionaries, running through jungles and marshy land in torrential rain, finally took up position on September 9 1915 in an improvised trench in undergrowth on a hillock at Chashakhand in Balasore. Chittapriya and his companions asked Jatin to leave and go to safety while they guarded the rear. Jatin, however refused to leave them.

The contingent of Government forces approached them in a pincers movement. A gunfight ensued, lasting seventy-five minutes, between the five revolutionaries armed with Mauser pistols and a large number of police and army armed with modern rifles. It ended with an unrecorded number of casualties on the Government side; on the revolutionary side, Chittapriya Ray Chaudhuri died, Jatin and Jatish were seriously wounded, and Manoranjan Sengupta and Niren were captured after their ammunition ran out. Bagha Jatin died, killed by police bullets, in Balasore hospital on 10 September, 1915. And India had to wait for another thirty years to have her democracy, recalls Ross Hedviček, just as the present Czech Republic had to wait for thirty more years. Mahatma Gandhi was as yet in South Africa. T.G. Masaryk mentions all these facts in the English version of the "Making of a State" (…). [http://mailgate.supereva.com/bit/bit.listserv.slovak-l/msg55026.htmlZ letopisu třetího odboje [Extract from theRecords of the Third Resistance] by ZoraDvořáková, Nakladatelství Hribal, Prague, ISBN 80-900892-3-2.]

Debt to Jatin Mukherjee

Inspired by Swami Vivekananda, Jatin expressed his ideals in simple words: "Amra morbo, jat jagbe" — "We shall die to awaken the nation". ["Biplaber padachinha" by Bhupendrakumar Datta, 2nd ed., p74] It is corroborated in the tribute paid to Jatin by Charles Tegart, the Intelligence Chief and Police Commissioner of Bengal : "Though I had to do my duty, I have a great admiration for him. He died in an open fight." [Samanta, op. cit., Vol. III, Introduction, p.viii] Later in life, Tegart admitted : "Their driving power (...) immense: if the army could be raised or the arms could reach an Indian port, "the British would lose the War". [Amales Tripathi, "swadhinata samgram'e bharater jatiya congress (1885-1947)", Ananda Publishers, 1991 (2nd Edition), pp77-78] Professor Tripathi analysed the added dimensions revealed by the Howrah Case proceedings: acquire arms locally and abroad; raise a guerrilla; create a rising with Indian soldiers; "Jatin Mukherjee's action helped improve (especially economically) the people's status". "He had indeed an ambitious dream." [Tripathi, "loc. cit."]

Informed about his JatinDa's death, M.N. Roy wrote: "I could not forget the injunction of the only man I ever obeyed almost blindly [...] JatinDa's heroic death [...] must be avenged. Only a year had passed since then. But in the meantime I had come to realise that I admired JatinDa because he personified, perhaps without himself knowing it, the best of mankind. The corollary to that realisation was that Jatinda's death would be avenged if I worked for the ideal of establishing a social order in which the best in man could be manifest." ["M.N. Roy's Memoirs" pp 35–36.]

Photo gallery

Notes

ources and external links

* [http://www.odiya.org/personality/perslink/jatin.html Jatindranath Mukherjee] — Bhupendrakumar Datta
* [http://www.bangalinet.com/greatmen_baghajatin.htm Great Indians]
*Bhupendrakumar Datta, "Mukherjee, Jatindranath (1879–1915)" in "Dictionary of National Biography" volume III, ed. S.P. Sen (Calcutta: Institute of Historical Studies, 1974), pp 162–165
* "Saga of Patriotism" article on Bagha Jatin by Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan and R. Vivekanandan
* Bimanbehari Majumdar, "Militant Nationalism in India", Calcutta, 1966, p.111, p.165
* W. Sealy, "Connections with the Revolutionary Organisation in Bihar and Orissa", 1906–1916,
* Report classified as "Home Polit-Proceedings A", March 1910, nos 33–40 (cf Sumit Sarkar, "The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal", 1903-1908, New Delhi, 1977, p.376
*Sisirkumar Mitra, "Resurgent India", Allied Publishers, 1963, p.367.
* J.C. Ker, ICS, "Political Trouble in India, a Confidential Report", Delhi, 1973 (repr.), p.120. Also (i) "Taraknath Das" by William A. Ellis, 1819-1911, Montpellier, 1911, Vol. III, pp490-491, illustrated (with two of Tarak’s photos); (ii) "The Vermont Education of Taraknath Das : an Episode in British-American-Indian Relations" , Ronald Spector, in "Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society", Vol. 48, No 2, 1980, pp 88–95; (iii) "Les origines intellectuelles du mouvement d'indépendance de l'Inde (1893-1918)", by Prithwindra Mukherjee, PhD Thesis, University of Paris, 1986

* "German Foreign Office Documents", 1914-18 (Microfilms in National Archives of India, New Delhi). Also, "San Francisco Trial Report", 75 Volumes (India Office Library, UK) and "Record Groups" 49, 60, 85, and 118 (U.S. National Archives, Washington DC, and Federal Archives, San Bruno)
* Amales Tripathi, "svâdhînatâ samgrâmé bhâratér jâtiya congress" (1885-1947), Ananda Publishers Pr. Ltd, Kolkâtâ, 1991, 2nd edition, pp77-79
* "Bagha Jatin" by Prithwindra Mukherjee in "Challenge : A Saga of India’s Struggle for Freedom", ed. Nisith Ranjan Ray et al, New Delhi, 1984, pp264-273
*"Sedition Committee Report", 1918
* "Bagha Jatin" by Prithwindra Mukherjee, Dey’s Publishing, Calcutta, 2003 (4th Edition), 128p [in Bengali]
* "Sâdhak Biplabi Jatîndranâth" by Prithwindra Mukherjee, West Bengal State Book Board, Calcutta, 1990, 509p [in Bengali]


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