Chandra Shekhar Azad, revolutionary freedom fighter

The people of India today paid a rich tribute to legendary freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad on his 113th birthday.

Chandra Shekhar Azad, popularly known by his self-proclaimed name Azad (“The Free”), was a revolutionary freedom fighter. He died young, at the age of 24, but left a strong legacy of courage among the Indians.

On his birthday, we present some facts about the fearless freedom fighter Azad, who never surrendered to British rule.

  • Azad was born on July 23, 1906 in Bhavra village in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh to Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi.
  • His mother Jagrani Devi wanted him to become a Sanskrit scholar but the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 affected him greatly and he chose to join the struggle for freedom.
  • Although a student, Azad joined Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement in December 1921 and was only 15 when he was arrested.
  • Azad became disillusioned with the national leadership when Mahatma Gandhi abruptly quashed the non-cooperation movement in 1922. He adopted violent methods to achieve Indian independence.
  • When Chandra Shekhar was arrested for participating in the non-cooperation movement and brought before a judge, he mentioned his name as Azad and his father’s name as Swatantrata (Independence).
  • The Indian revolutionary became hugely popular due to the Kakori Rail Dacoity in 1925 and the assassination of policeman John Poyantz Saunders in 1928.
  • Azad learned the art of archery from the tribal Bhils, which came in handy during the armed struggle against the British.
  • Bhagat Singh joined Azad after the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, after being beaten by policemen. Azad trained Singh and others in covert activities.
  • Azad died at Alfred Park in Allahabad, now Prayagraj, on February 27, 1931. The park was renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park to honor the incredible sacrifice of this legend. The police had surrounded him in the park after Virbhadra Tiwari (their former companion later turned traitor) informed them of his presence.
  • Azad was injured while defending himself and Sukhdev Raj and killed three policemen and injured others. His actions enabled Sukhdev Raj to escape. After a lengthy shootout, he succumbed to his injuries, his post-mortem reports revealed. Chandra Shekhar Azad’s Colt pistol is on display at the Prayagraj Museum.

Thelma J. Longworth