Item Code: IDL066
by M.L. AhujaPaperback (Edition: 2008)
Rupa & Co.
Size: 8.7" X 5.5"
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was the result of decades of ethnic and culture differences between Indian soldiers and their British officers. The indifference of the British towards Indian like Mughals and ex-Peshwas and the annexation of Oudh were political factors that triggered dissent amongst Indians. Lord Dalhousie's policy of annexation, the doctrine of Laps, and the projected removal of the descendants of the Great Mughal from the ancestral palace to Qutub, near Delhi, also angered some people. The specific reason that triggered the rebellion was the rumoured use of cow and pig fat in their teeth before loading them into their rifles. Thus, the alleged introduction of cow and pig fat offended the Hindu and Muslims alike. In February 1857, Indian soldiers in the British army refused to use their new cartridges. In March 1857, Mangal Pandey, who attacked the British sergeant and wounded an adjutant, was hanged on 7 April.
The revolt spread throughput northern India - in Meerut, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow, etc. The least significant battle was fought in Gwalior on 20 June 1858 and Rani Lakshmi Bai became a martyr. Tantya Tope, the Rani of Jhansi, Kunwar Singh, the Rajput Chief of Jagadishpur in Bihar, Firuz Saha, a relative of the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah and others fought with Britishers at Nasidpur, Haryana.
However, apart from a few stray incidents, the armed rebellion against the British rulers was not organised before the beginning of the 20th century. The revolutionary philosophies and movement made their presence felt during the 1905 Partition of Bengal. The initial steps to organise the revolutionaries were taken by Aurobindo Ghosh, his brother Barin Ghosh, Bhupendranath Dutta, etc. when they formed the Yugantar Party in April 1906. Yugantar was created as an inner circle of the Anushilan Samiti which was present in Bengal mainly as a revolutionary society in the guise of a fitness club. The leaders of Yugantar Party initiated steps on making explosions. Anushilan Samiti and Yugantar set up several branches throughout Bengal and other parts of India and recruited young men and women to participate in the revolutionary activities. There were several lootings and murders. Many revolutionaries were captured, imprisoned and hanged. During the First World War, the revolutionaries planned to import arms and ammunitions from Germany and stage an armed revolution against the British. The Ghadar Party operated from abroad and cooperated with the revolutionaries in India.
In the 1920s, revolutionary activists began to reorganise. Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was formed under the leadership of Chandrasekhar Azad. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutta threw a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929 protesting against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged in 1931. Thereafter, there were several raids on armouries and attempts to murder.
On 13 March 1940, Udham Singh shot Michael O'Dwyer, generally held responsible for the Amritsar massacre, in London. A number of songs composed by patriots stirred the emotions of young men and women to participate in the freedom movement, and indulge in heroic deeds as well as revolutionary activities. After the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, a soul stirring Malayalam song rent the air.
Bhagavat Singhinte baliyude Amritasarasa kalayude paka veettum naam teerchayaai, paka paka naam!
Which means: Come, let us march forward! We will wreak vengeance for the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh, the inhuman murder at Amritsar! The Tamil film kappalottiya Tamizhan, depicted the life of patriot-revolutionary, V.O. Chhidembaram Pillai and presented in it the inspiring lives of Mahakavi Bharati, Subramania Sivam Vanchinathan, all of whom dedicated their lives at the altar of the Motherland, kindled great interest to study the life of patriots and revolutionaries. Yet the immortal song, Vande Mataram, inspired manliness and courage in our youth to fight against dictatorship and tyranny and fostered the spirit of patriotism and respected for our hoary culture and heritage. This mantra of Vande Mataram propounded by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee burst like a bombshell invigorating the whole nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and inspired the youth to sacrifice their precious lives at the altar of the Motherland. Echoing the voice of the revolutionaries, Sri Aruobindo said, 'Liberty is the fruit we seek from the sacrifice to the Motherland the goddess to whom we offer it.'
Vande Mataram glorified the Motherland as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Every patriot from Khudiram Bose to Bhagat Singh and Rajguru died with this mantra on his lips. It became spontaneously the national anthem adopted by the mass of our people.
Let the lives of all these great patriots and revolutionaries be not cast into oblivion and let their heroic deeds be remembered by the generations to come. This indeed is the objective of this small book illustrating the deeds of some of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to gain Independence for the succeeding generations.
In my efforts to present before you the lives and contributions of all such persons, I have consulted a number of books from various libraries, particularly that of Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. I am grateful to the University Librarian, Dr Gyas-ud-din Makdooni and his staff members for giving me access to the books. I would like to thank Rupa & Co for undertaking publication of the series of books on Eminent Indians. The current book is only one part. My wife, Mrs Asha Ahuja, also deserves my thanks for cooperating with me in my efforts to concentrate on this project. I also received continued encouragement from Mr Saurabh Bhagat, Dr Rahul Malhotra, Mrs Lovelina Bhagat and Dr Chetna Malhotra among my family members. My thanks are due to them. My thanks are also due to various other people who helped me in one way or the other in my endeavours.
Among the group of revolutionaries who intensified the freedom movement were Khudi Ram Bose who took up the task of spreading the gospel of Vande Mataram after visualising the image of Bharat Mata; Madan Lal Dhingra whose actions evoked the admiration and sympathy of even the Irish people; Mangal Randey whose initiative culminated in the 1857 Rebellion; Ram Prasad Bismil Whose poem 'Sar faroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai…' inspired people to brave through all kids of difficulties; Rash Behari Bose whose flawless disguise and machinations contributed significantly to the freedom movement; Bhagat Singh who smilingly embraced death while chanting 'Bharat Mata ki jai'; Sukhdev and Shivaram Rajguru, accomplices of Bhagat Singh, and Senapati Bapat who participated in both the armed and unarmed struggles, pioneering a movement for the eradication of untouchability.
This book, Eminent Indians: Revolutionaries, bring to focus the lives, passions and contributions of the brave soldiers of India. In this 150th anniversary of the First War of Indian Independence, the book will serve as a repository of information especially for the younger generation.
Recipient of Janseva Sadbhavana Award (2006) and Bharat Gaurav Award (2007), M.L. Ahuja, M.A., DLL, DCS, is the author of over twenty books. He is associated with book publishing as well as distribution of books and journals. He has travelled extensively both within and outside India and has presented a number of papers at several national and international seminars. He was also contributed a number of articles to journals and books, which are mostly on publishing or marketing of book and journals.
|Chandra Shekhar Azad||13|
|Ram Prasad Bismil||29|
|Rash Behari Bose||34|
|Madan Lal Dhingra||50|
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