The magic word for all
the freedom fighters of India.
SHEKHAR AZAD (1906-1931)
Pandit Sita Ram Tiwari, father
of Chandra Shekhar Azad, was a poor, orthodox Brahmin, who had to leave
his home village Badarka in U.P. in search of a livelihood. He served as
a, watchman in a State garden in Bhavra, a village formerly in Alirajpur
State and now in the Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh. It was here, in
a bamboo hut plastered with mud, that Jagrani Devi gave birth to Chandra
Shekhar Azad on July 23, 1906.
Chandra Shekhar Azad received
his early schooling in Bhavra. He was fond of wandering and hunting with
Bhil boys of his neighborhood, with bows and arrows. This was very much
disliked by his orthodox father. When Chandra Shekhar Azad was about 14
years old, he somehow reached Varanasi. There he entered a Sanskrit pathshala,
where he was provided free board and lodging. Till his death, he was unmarried
and lived the austere life of a `Brahmachari', which he began in this pathshala.
Those were the days of the
great national upsurge of non-violence non-cooperation movement of 1920-21
under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Young Chandra Shekhar Azad, along
with other students, was fascinated and drawn into it. By nature he loved
energetic activities more than passive studies. Very soon he became a favorite
of the local leaders like Shiva Prasad Gupta. When arrested, he was so
young that handcuffs were too big for his wrists. He was put on trial before
a magistrate who was notorious for his brutality towards freedom- fighters.
Chandra Shekhar Azad's attitude in the court was defiant. He gave his name
as `Azad', his father's name as `Swatantra' and his residence as `prison'.
The magistrate was provoked. He sentenced him to fifteen lashes of flogging.
Chandra Shekhar Azad's body was stripped and tied to the flogging triangle.
As lash after lash tore his skin, he shouted slogans: `Mahatma Gandhi Ki
Jai', `Vande- mataram' etc. his amazing endurance, courage and fortitude
were highly appreciated and he was publicly honored as `Azad'. The name
When the non-cooperation
movement was withdrawn, the revolutionary movement again flared up. Chandra
Shekhar Azad's natural aptitudes led him to contact Manmath Nath Gupta.
Through him he joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army where he
soon gained the admiration of its leaders. They lovingly called him `quick-
silver' for his restless energy. He took an active part in every armed
action of the party under the leadership of Ramprasad Bismil. He was involved
in the Kakori Conspiracy (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train
(1926) the Assembly Bomb Incident, the Delhi Conspiracy, the shooting of
Saunders at Lahore (1928) and the Second Lahore Conspiracy.
The parent contributor attended
a secret meeting with Chandra Shekhar Azad and Sukhdev Raj in the Alfred
Park, Allahabad, in February 1931, Azad was of the opinion that Hindustan
Socialist Republican Army had moved far ahead and that no purpose would
be served by asking individuals to take to armed action. The time had come
to pass on to mass revolutionary actions culminating in a socialist revolution.
To achieve that, it was necessary to make a thorough study of the methods
that were so successfully used by the Bolsheviks in Russia. For this purpose,
as a regular member of the H.S.R.Army, the present contributor was asked
to proceed to Russia on his own resources. The only help the party would
give him was an automatic pistol with a magazine of eleven cartridges.
The assignment was fulfilled in letter and spirits, but alas, Azad was
no more there to guide and instruct the group further.
As is believed by most of
the knowledgeable revolutionary comrades of the time, Azad was betrayed
by an associate who turned a traitor. On February 27, 1931, in the Alfred
Park, Allahabad, Azad was surrounded by a well- armed police party. For
quite some time he held them at bay, single- handed, with a small pistol
and a few cartridges. Even the enemy was all praise for his sharp shooting
skill and courageous composure, as he could hit quite a few of the assailants
who were firing at him from behind covers. Left with only one bullet, he
fired it at his own temple and lived up to his resolve that he would never
be arrested and dragged to the gallows to be hanged.
Bhagat Singh in comradely
jokes used to tease him, saying "Panditji, they shall need two ropes for
you, one for your neck and the other for your heavy belly". Azad used to
reply, "let your cherished hangman's noose be for your neck. So long as
this Bamtulbukara (this is what he called his pistol) is with me, nobody
can ever drag me tied in a rope, making me dance like a monkey, to the
gallows". On such occasions, he would fondly recite a Hindustani couplet,
his only poetic composition.
"Dushman ki goliyon ka
hum samna karenge. Azad hee rahe hain Azad hee rahenge".
It may be remembered that
when Azad fell fighting on February 27, 1931, Bhagat Singh was still waiting
for the hangman's noose and got his cherished martyrdom 24 days later,
on 23 March 1931.
Chandra Shekhar Azad was
born in abysmal penury and all sorts of superstition. He got no schooling
worth the name, still through his robust common sense- and learning while
struggling - he led the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army. Among those
who felt proud to be led by him were such illustrious martyrs as Bhagat
Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Bhagwati Charan, Saligram Shukla and such other
renowned revolutionaries as Batukeshwar Dutt, Bejoy Kumar Sinha, Shiv Varma,
Jayadev Kapur, Gaya Prasad, Sadashiva Rao and many others. Azad's revolutionary
career has become symbolic of the first steps of the poor, illiterate,
oppressed Indian masses along the revolutionary path towards socialist
equality, liberty and fraternity.
These are the few books
for the people who may be interested in knowing Azad's biography.
[J.C.Chatterjee - Indian
Revolutionaries in Conference; Manmath Nath Gupta - Chandra Shekhar Azad
ki kahani (Biography in Hindi); R.Toliwal (Ed.) - Bharatvarsh ke Bibhutiyan;
Devi Prasad Chavan - Chandra Shekhar Azad; B.Hardas - Armed Struggle for
Freedom; Ninety Years of Independence, 1857 to Subhas; Personal Knowledge
of the Contributor, a very close associate of Chandra Shekhar Azad]
The following are the few
links of the articles that are published.