Chandrashekhar Azad

 

Chandrasekhar Azad was born on July 23,1906 in Badarka (Unnao). Earlier he was Chandrasekhar Tiwari, but after a court incident he became famous as Azad. Chandrasekhar Azad's parents were Pandit Sita Ram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. He received his early schooling in Bhavra District Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh). For higher studies he went to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi. He was an ardent follower of Hanuman and disguised himself as a priest in a hanuman temple to escape the dragnet of British in pre-independence India.

Young Azad was one of the young generation of Indians when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement. But many were disillusioned with the suspension of the struggle in 1922 owing to the Chauri Chaura massacre of 22 policemen. Although Gandhi was appalled by the brutal violence, Azad did not feel that violence was unacceptable in the struggle, especially in view of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, where Army units killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and wounded thousands in Amritsar. Young Azad and contemporaries like Bhagat Singh were deeply and emotionally influenced by that tragedy.

As a revolutionary, he adopted the lastname Azad, which means "Free" in Urdu.There is an interesting story that while he adopted the name "Azad" he made a pledge that the Police will never capture him alive. Azad and others had committed themselves to absolute independence by any means. He was most famous for The Kakori Rail Dacoity in 1925 and the assassination of the assistant superintendent of Police John Poyantz Saunders in 1928. Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people, or for beating and torturing arrested freedom fighters.

Azad was also a believer in socialism as the basis for a future India, free of social and economic oppression and adversity.

Bhagat Singh joined Azad following the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, an Indian leader who was beaten to death by police officials. Azad trained Singh and others in covert activities, and the latter grew close to him after witnessing his resolve, patriotism and courage. Along with fellow patriots like Rajguru and Sukhdev, Azad and Singh formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, committed to complete Indian independence and socialist principles of for India's future progress.

Betrayed by an informer on 27 February 1931 Azad was encircled by British troops in the Alfred park, Allahabad. He kept on fighting till the last bullet. Finding no other alternative, except surrender, Azad shot himself in the temple

On the 27th of February, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades, the names of whom are highly disputed. However, most people belive that they were a Veer Bhadra and a Prithvi Raj Azad. Prithvi Raj claims that he was there along with Veer Bhadra for a briefing on his mission to Russia. The Revolutionaries of the HSRA or the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association were planning a revolution in India with the help of the Communists of Russia. He further states that Veer Bhadra excused himself saying he had an appointment and left. He had been behaving highly suspiciously for a few days. A few minutes later a brigade of policemen suddenly fired a shot and had the park surrounded. Azad asked Prithvi Raj to flee and said that he would continue the fight. He was injured in his leg. The superintendent asked him to raise his hands and come out. Next moment he fell to the ground in agony as a bullet ripped through his arm. The brigade opened merciless fire in the course of which Azad was badly injured. He himself had already shot at least three policemen dead and many more were injured. At Alfred Park, behind an ancient tree, Azad made his last stand, one which would characterise the Indian independence movement. Till his last breath the soldiers were terrified of his sharp shooting skills. And this was to be the final stage of a this movement, the final scene in his life as well as the end of the revolutionaries of the HSRA. Seeing no way out Azad loaded his last bullet into his Mauser pistol, it would be the last bullet he ever fired; he would be the last man he ever killed in the struggle for Indian Independence. Chandrashekhar Azad put the gun to his temple and shot himself. He had vowed to remain Azad, meaning free in Urdu, all his life. He said that as long as he had his bumtulbukara or his pistol no one would ever catch him alive. He said that he would never be taken to the gallows tied up the way monkeys are, and made to dance by the British. His favourite couplet and only known composition is as follows: "Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee raheinge!" Years of man hunt, terror, raids, assassinations and demonstrations had at last ended for the British Raj. With him all the revolutionaries were finished. The next time the British would face so grave a problem and so fierce an enemy would be 10 years later in 1941. There would be a much more developed and well organised army then lead by none other than the Netaji - Subhash Chandra Bose, an ardent supporter and sympathizer of Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.

 
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