A brave fighter! Remembering Chandrashekhar Azad’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter
When one remembers India’s brave freedom fighters, one fondly remembers Chandra Shekhar Azad. His undying love for the nation made him immortal in the history of our country.
However, his death was a blow to the country. 91 years ago he decided to take his own life as British police surrounded him in Allahabad’s Alfred Park in 1931. Chandrashekhar Azad’s sacrifice is forever etched in the minds of every Indian, contributing to the country’s eventual independence more than 15 years later in 1947.
For Chandra Shekhar Azad, India has always come first. By incorporating unconventional means of “making the deaf heard”, his fight defied the British Raj gave the country a reason to come together and join in the turmoil. Many may not know that “Azad” was not part of his birth name. He was born Chandra Shekhar Tiwari on July 23, 1906 in Bhabhra village of Madhya Pradesh. During that time, it was a part of a princely state called Alirajpur.
While his family wanted him to become a Sanskrit scholar, fate had other plans for Chandrashekhar. Hence, he was sent to Kashi Vidyapeeth to pursue the same. He was only 15 when he joined the non-cooperation movement in 1921, started by Mahatma Gandhi.
The movement was at its peak and continued to gain momentum when it was shut down on December 21. Presented before the magistrate, he declared his name to be ‘Azad’ (freedom in Urdu), ‘swatantrata’ being the name of his father and his residence. to be in jail. However, he was detained for 23 weeks, where he received 15 lashes a day as punishment.
Role in India’s freedom struggle
The infamous Chauri Chaura incident led to the culmination of the non-cooperation movement. Mahatma Gandhi’s decision caused many disappointments, which divided the struggle for independence. During this time, Chandrashekhar Azad met some revolutionaries who put him in touch with Ramprasad Bismil, founder of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).
Azad’s involvement came to the fore during the Kakori train robbery in 1925. Led by Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan, the group robbed a train bound for Lucknow which was carrying money for the British Treasury . The attack was twofold: to finance the association and to prevent Indian money from going into the hands of the imperialists.
After Ramprasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan were sentenced to death, Azad reorganized the HRA, becoming the Socialist Republican Association of Hindustan. Working closely with Bhagat Singh, they carried out activities to fight the British government, including shooting John P Saunders in Lahore to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.
Being a skilled fighter and marksman, Azad rarely missed his targets. Not only that, but he was also known as someone who would never be taken alive by the British. However, he came extremely close to it on February 27, 1931, when the Imperial Police found out where he was. Azad was meeting one of the HSRA members at Alfred Park when the British cornered him from all sides. He hid behind a tree and fought them bravely with his weapon. Towards the end, he only had one bullet left.
True to his words, he didn’t want the British to catch him alive. Therefore, he used the last bullet to commit suicide and became a martyr for the country. Even today, people remember his sacrifice.
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