- Revolutionary movement for Indian independence
The Revolutionary movement for Indian independence is often a less-highlighted aspect of the
Indian independence movement-- the underground revolutionary factions. The groups believing in armed revolution against the ruling British fall into this category. The revolutionary groups were concentrated in Maharastra, Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradeshand Punjab. More groups were scattered around India.
The underlying philosophy of the revolutionary groups arose largely against the
Partition of Bengal (1905), which cemented a Pan-Indian patriotic feeling, increasing in intensity, culminating in the Civil Disobedienceof Gandhi. The revolutionaries more often than not considered Gandhia hero, despite their ways being poles apart.
Apart from a few stray incidents, the armed rebellion against the British rulers was not organized before the beginning of the 20th century. The revolutionary philosophies and movement made its presence felt during the 1905
Partition of Bengal. Arguably, the initial steps to organize the revolutionaries were taken by Aurobindo Ghosh, his brother Barin Ghosh, Bhupendranath Dattaand Raja Subodh Mallikwhen they formed the Jugantarparty in April 1906 [ Banglapedia[http://banglapedia.org/HT/J_0130.htm article] by Mohammad Shah] . Jugantarwas created as an inner circle of the Anushilan Samiti, which was already present in Bengalmainly as a fitness club.
Pramath Nath Mitrain Kolkatain 1902, Anushilan Samity became one of the most organized revolutionary associations , especially in the Eastern Bengalwhere the DhakaAnushilan Samiti had several branches and carried out major activities [ Banglapedia[http://banglapedia.org/HT/A_0270.htm article] by Chitta Ranjan Misra and Mohammad Shah] . Jugantar was initially formed by an inner circle of the Kolkata Anushilan Samiti, like the Palmachof Haganah. In the 1920s, the Kolkata faction supported Gandhiin the Non-Cooperation Movementand many of the leaders held high posts in Congress.
Barin Ghosh was the main extremist leader. Along with 21 revolutionaries including
Bagha Jatin, he started to collect arms and explosives and manufactured bombs. The headquarters of Jugantar was located at 93/a BaubazarStreet, Kolkata.
Some senior members of the group were sent abroad for political and military training. One of them,
Hemchandra Qanungoobtained his training in Paris. After returning to Kolkatahe set up a combined religious school and bomb factory at a garden house in Maniktalasuburb of Calcutta. However, the attempted murder of district Judge Kingsford of Muzaffarpurby Khudiram Boseand Prafulla Chaki(30 April 1908) initiated a police investigation that led to the arrest of many of the revolutionaries. Bagha Jatinwas one of the top leaders in Jugantar. He was arrested, along with several other leaders, in connection with the Howrah conspiracy case. They were tried for treason, the charge being that they had incited various regiments of the army against the ruler [The major charge... during the trial (1910–1911) was "conspiracy to wage war against the King-Emperor" and "tampering with the loyalty of the Indian soldiers" (mainly with the 10th Jats Regiment) (cf: "Sedition Committee Report", 1918)] .
Jugantar, along with other revolutionary groups, and aided by Indians abroad, planned an armed revolt against the British rulers during the
First World War. This plan largely depended on the clandestine landing of German arms and ammunitions in the Indian coast ["Rowlatt Report" (§109-110)] ["First Spark of Revolution" by A.C. Guha, pp. 424-434.] . This plan came to be known as the "Indo-German Plot." However, the planned revolt did not materialize.
After the First World War Jugantar supported Gandhi in the
Non-Cooperation Movementand many of their leaders were in the Congress. Still, the group continued its revolutionary activities, a notable event being the Chittagong armoury raid.
Bengal Volunteers was a group formed by
Subhash Chandra Boseduring the Kolkatasession of Indian National Congressin 1928 to help the organisation of the session. However, afterwards the group turned into a revolutionary group with notable revolutionaries like Benoy-Badal-Dinesh being its members.
Hindustan Socialist Republican Association
Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was established in October 1924 in
Kanpurby revolutionaries like Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chatterjee, Chandrashekhar Azadand Sachindranath Sanyal. [ [http://www.gatewayforindia.com/history/british_history4.htm Gateway of India article] ] The aim of the party was to organize armed revolution to end the colonial rule and establish in a "Federal Republic of the United States of India". The Kakori train robberywas a notable act of mutiny by this group. The Kakori case led to the hanging of Ashfaqullah Khan, Ramprasad Bismil, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Lahiri. The Kakori case was a major setback for the group. However, the group was soon reorganized under the leadership of Chandrashekhar Azadand with members like Bhagat Singh, Bhagwati Charan Vohraand Sukhdevon 9 and 10 September 1928- and the group was now christened Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
Lahoreon 17 December 1928, Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguruassassinated Saunders, a police official involved in deadly lathi-charge on Lala Lajpat Rai. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt thew a bomb inside the central legislative assembly. The Assembly Bomb Case trial followed. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguruwere hanged in March 1931.
The India House was an informal Indian nationalist organisation that existed in
Londonbetween 1905 and 1910. Initially begun by Shyamji Krishna Varmaas a residence in Highgate, in East London, for Indian students to promote nationalist views and work, the house became a centre for intellectual political activites, and rapidly developed to be an organisation that became a meeting ground for radical nationalists among Indian students in Britain at the time, and of the most prominent centres for revolutionary Indian nationalism outside India. " The Indian Sociologist" published by the house was a noted platform for anti-colonial work and was banned in India as "sedetious literature".
The India house was the beginings of a number of noted Indian revolutionaries and nationalists, most famously
V.D. Savarkar, as well as others of the like of V.N. Chatterjee, Lala Har Dayal, V.V.S. Iyer, M. P. T. Acharyawho were, over the next decades, key members of revolutionary conspiracies in India as well as the founding fathers of Indian Communism. The house came to be the focus of Scotland Yard's work against Indian sedetionists, as well as the focus of work for the nascent Indian Political Intelligence Office. India house ceased to be potent organisation after it's liquidation in the wake of the assassination of William Hutt Curzon Wyllieby a member of the India House by the name of Madan Lal Dhingra. This event marked the beginings of London Police's crackdown on the activities of the house and a number of it's activists and patrons, including Shyamji Krishna Varmaand Bhikaji Camamoved to Europefrom where they carried on works in support of Indian nationalism. Some Indian students, including Har Dayal, moved to the United States. The network that the House founded was key in the nationalist revolutionary conspiracy in India during World War I.
Ghadar party was a predominantly
Sikhorganization that started operating abroad in 1913 "with the view to do-away with the British rule in India". ["Study of Sikhism and Punjabi migration" by Bruce La Brack, University of bcbPacifica, Stockton, California ] . The party collaborated with revolutionaries inside India and helped them get arms and ammunition. Lala Hardayalwas a prominent leader of the party. The Komagata Maruincident in 1914 inspired several thousand Indians residing in the USA to sell their businesses and rush home in order to participate in the anti-British activities in India. The party had active members in India, Mexico, Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaya, Indo-Chinaand Eastern and Southern Africa. During WW I, it was amongst the chief pariticipants of the Hindu German Conspiracy.
The "Berlin commitee for indian independence" was established in 1915 by Virendra Nath Chattopadhya, including Bhupendra Nath Dutt & Lala Hardayal under "Zimmerman plan" with the full backing of German foreign office.
There goal was mainly to achieve the following four objective.
1: Mobilize Indian revolutionaries abroad.2: Incite rebellion among Indian troops stationed abroad.3: Send volunteers and arms to India.4: Even to Organized an armed invasion of British India to liberate the country.
Pre World War I
Alipore bomb conspiracy case
Several leaders of the
Jugantarparty including Aurobindo Ghoshwere arrested in connection with bomb-making activities in Kolkata. Several of the activists were deported to the Andaman Cellular Jail.
Howrah gang case
Most of the eminent
Jugantarleaders including Bagha Jatinalias Jatindra Nath Mukherjeewho were not arrested earlier, were arrested in 1910, in connection with the murder of Shamsul Alam. Thanks to Bagha Jatin's new policy of a decentralised federated action, most of the accused were released in 1911.
Delhi-Lahore conspiracy case
The Delhi Conspiracy case, also known as the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy,hatched in 1912, planned to assassinate the then
Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, on the occasion of transferring the capital of British Indiafrom Calcuttato New Delhi. Involving revolutionary underground in Bengaland headed by Rashbehari Bose, the conspiracy culminated on the attempted assassination on 23 December 1912when a homemade bomb was thrown into the Viceroys's Howdahwhen the ceremonial procession moved through the Chandni Chowksuburb of Delhi. The Viceroy escaped with his injuries, along with Lady Hardinge, although the Mahoutwas killed.
In the aftermath of the event, efforts were made to destroy the Bengali and Punabi revolutionary underground, which came under intense pressure for sometime. Rash Behari successfully evaded capture for nearly three years, becoming actively involved in the Ghadar conspiracy before it was uncovered, and fleeing to Japan in 1916.
The investigations in the aftermath of the assassination attempt led to the
Delhi Conspiracy trial. Although Basant Kumar Biswaswas convicted of having thrown the bomb and executed, along with Amir Chandand Avadh Beharifor their roles in the conspiracy, the true identity of the person who threw the bomb is not known to this day.
World War I
The Indo-German Conspiracy, also referred to as the Hindu-German Conspiracy or the Ghadar conspiracy (or Ghadr conspiracy), was formulated during
WW Ibetween Indian Nationalists in India, United Statesand Germany, the Irish Republicans, and the German Foreign office to initiate a Pan-Indian rebellion against The Rajwith German support between 1914 and 1917, during World War I.Harvnb|Plowman|2003|p=84] Harvnb|Hoover|1985|p=252] Harvnb|Brown|1948|p=300] The most famous amongst a number of plots planned to foment unrest and trigger a Pan-Indian mutiny in February 1915, in the British Indian Armyfrom Punjab to Singapore, to overthrow The Rajin the Indian subcontinent. This conspiracy was ultimately thwarted at the last moment as British intelligence successfully infiltrated the Ghadarite movement and arrested key figures. The failed Singapore mutiny remains a famous part of this plot while mutinies in other smaller units and garrisons within Indiawere also crushed. World War Ibegan with an unprecedented outpouring of loyalty and goodwill towards the United Kingdom from within the mainstream political leadership, contrary to initial British fears of an Indian revolt. India contributed massively to the British war effort by providing men and resources. About 1.3 million Indian soldiers and labourers served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while both the Indian government and the princes sent large supplies of food, money, and ammunition. However, Bengaland Punjab remained hotbeds of anti colonial activities. Terrorism in Bengal, increasingly closely linked with the unrests in Punjab, was significant enough to nearly paralyse the regional administration. With outlines of German links with the Indian revolutionary movement already in place as early as 1912, the main conspiracy was formulated between the Ghadar Partyin United States, the Berlin Committeein Germany, Indian revolutionary undergroundin India, Sinn Féinand the German Foreign Office through the consulate in San Franciscoat the beginning of World War I. A number of failed attempts were made at mutiny, among them the February mutiny plan and the Singapore mutiny. This movement was suppressed by means of a massive international counter-intelligence operation and draconian political acts (including the Defence of India act 1915) that lasted nearly ten years. Other notable events that formed a part of the conspiracy include the Annie Larsen arms plot, the Mission to Kabul that also attempted to rally Afghanistan against British India. The Mutiny of the Connaught Rangersin India, as well as by some accounts, the Black Tom explosionin 1916 are also considered minor events linked to the conspiracy.
The Indo-Irish-German alliance and the conspiracy were the target of a worldwide intelligence effort by the British intelligence agencies which was ultimately successful in preventing further attempts and plans, and in the aftermath of the
Annie Larsen affair, successfully directed the American intelligence agencies to arrest key figures at the time she entered World War Iin 1917. The conspiracy led to the Lahore conspiracy casein India and the Hindu German Conspiracy Trialin the USA, of which the latter at the time was one of the longest and most expensive trials in that country.Largely subdued and suppressed by the end of the war, the movement posed a significant threat to British India during World War Iand its aftermath, and was a major factor guiding The Raj's India policy.
Tehrek e Reshmi Rumal
During the war, the Pan-Islamist movement also attempted to overthrow the Raj, and came to form a close liaison with the Indo-German Conspiracy. Out of the
Deobandimovement arose the Tehrek-e-Reshmi Rumal. The Deobandi leaders attempted to begin a pan-Islamic insurrection in British Indiaduring World War Iby seeking support from Ottoman Turkey, Imperial Germany, Afghanistan. The plot was uncovered by Punjab CIDwith the capture of letters from Ubaidullah Sindhi, one of the Deobandi leaders then in Afghanistan, to Mahmud al Hasananother leaders then in Persia. The letters were written in Silkcloth, hence the name of the Silk Letter Conspiracy.Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics: A Study of the Khilafat Movement, 1918-1924.(Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia). M. Naeem Qureshi. pp. 79, 80, 81, 82.] [Sufi Saints and State Power: The Pirs of Sind, 1843-1947. Sarah F. D. Ansari, p. 82]
Between the wars
Chittagong armory raid
Surya Senled the attempt to raid the armoury of police and auxiliary forces in Chittagongon 18 April, 1930. Some attackers were soon killed or arrested in a gun-fight with the police. Pritilata Waddedarled the attack on Europran club in Chittagong in 1932. Surya Senwas arrested in 1933 and was hanged on 8 January 1934.
Central Assembly Bomb Case (1929)
Bhagat Singhand Batukeshwar Duttbombed in the assembly and threw leaflets stating their revolutionary philosophy. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdevand Rajguruwere hanged and several other faced the verdict of imprisonment.Batukeshwar Dutt outlived all his comrades and died in July 1965 in Delhi.All of them cremated in ferozpur,punjab,india.
Dalhousie Square Bomb Case
A bomb was thrown on the Calcutta Police Commissioner,
Charles Tegarton 25th August,1930.
Kakori train robbery
Chandrasekhar Azad, Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh ChatterjeeAshfaqullah Khan, Banwari lal and their accomplices participated in the robbery of treasury money that was being transported by train. The looting took place between Kakori station and Alamnagar, within convert|40|mi|km of Lucknowon 9th August,1925. Police started an intense man-hunt and arrested a large number of rebels and tried them in the Kakori case. Ashfaqullah Khan, Ramprasad Bismil, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Lahiriwere hanged, four others were sent to the Cellular Jailin Port Blair, Andamanfor life and seventeen others were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.
World War II
The scenario changed with the years. The British were thinking to quit India and religious politics came into play. The basic political background of revolutionary ideas seemed to evolve in a new direction. The organized revolutionary movements can be said to have nearly ceased by 1936, apart from some stray sparks, like the killing of Sir
Michael O'Dwyer, generally held responsible for the Amritsar Massacre, on 13 March 1940, by Udham Singhin London.
Quit India movementof 1942, several other activities took place in different parts of India. However, those were discrete occurrences and hardly any large scale planned terrorism took place that could shake the British administration. Meanwhile, Subhas Chandra Bosewas organising an Indian National Armyoutside India and leading the army towards India, while at the same time the Congress was negotiating with the British. Finally India was free on 15 August 1947, virtually by non-violence against the British but, unfortunately, with lots of bloodshed, rioting and violence among the fellow countrymen (and near-future neighbours) during the partition, which was quite shocking to the past revolutionaries and also, to Gandhi.
Many revolutionaries participated in mainstream politics and joined political parties like the Congress and, especially, the communist parties and took part in the parliamentary democracy that was India. On the other hand, many past revolutionaries, being released from captivity, led the lives of common men.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Barindra Kumar Ghosh
Basawon Singh (Sinha)
Bhupendra Kumar Datta
Bipin Behari Ganguli
Guran Ditt Kumar
Hem Chandra Das
Jatindra Nath Das
Pulin Behari Das
Trailokya Nath Chakraborty
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Provisional Government of India
* [http://www.andamancellularjail.org/Revolutionaries.htm Revolutionaries in Cellular Jail, Andaman]
* [http://www.andamancellularjail.org/ListOfRevolutionaries.htm List of Revolutionaries in Cellular Jail, Andaman]
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