Today is the birth anniversary of great revolutionary and freedom fighter Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad. His fierce patriotism and courage inspired others of his generation to enter freedom struggle.
Chandrasekhar Azad was the mentor of Bhagat Singh, another great freedom fighter, and along with Bhagat Singh he is considered as one of the greatest revolutionaries that India has produced.
Chandrashekhar Azad was involved in Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train (1926), and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpatrai.
Chandra Shekhar Azad was born on July 23,1906 in Badarka village of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi.Pandit Sitaram Tiwari was serving in erstwhile estate of Alirajpur (situated in present day Madhya Pradesh) and Chandra Shekhar Azad’s childhood was spent in the village Bhabra . On the insistence of her mother Jagrani Devi, Chandra Shekhar Azad went to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Benaras for studying Sanskrit.
Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, Chandrasekhar Azad actively participated in revolutionary activities. He received his first punishment at the age of 15. Chandra Shekhar was caught while indulging in revolutionary activities. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said “Azad” (meaning free), he gave father’s name as ‘Swatantrata’ (independent) and residence as ‘Jail’. From that day onward, having announced his name to be Azad in court, he was known as Chandrashekhar Azad among the people.
Chandrashekhar Azad was sentenced to 15 lashes. With each stroke of the whip the young Chandrasekhar shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
From then on Chandrashekhar Azad vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and would die as free man.
After the suspension of non-cooperation movement in 1922, Azad was attracted towards more aggressive and revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Chandrashekhar Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people and freedom fighters.
He met a young revolutionary, Pranvesh Chatterji, who introduced him to Ram Prasad Bismil who had formed the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) in 1924, a revolutionary organisation. Azad was impressed with the aim of HRA, i.e., an independent India with equal rights and opportunity to everyone without discrimination of caste, creed, religion or social status. On introduction, Bismil was impressed by Azad, when Azad reportedly put his hand over a lamp and did not remove it till his skin burnt.
Later in 1928, along with Bhagat Singh and other compatriots like Sukhdev and Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad reorganised HRA and formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HRSA). HRSA was committed to complete Indian independence and socialist principles for India’s future progress.
Chandrashekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. On February 27, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at the Alfred Park in Allahabad. He was betrayed by an informer who alerted the British police. The police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Chandrashekhar Azad fought alone valiantly and killed three policemen. But finding himself surrounded and seeing no route for escape, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself with the last. Thus he kept his pledge of not being caught alive and achieved martyrdom at age of 26.
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