Tributes pour in for ‘fearless’ freedom fighter Khudiram Bose on his death anniversary


Khudiram Bose was born on December 3, 1889 in the district of Midnapore in West Bengal. (To file)

Khudiram Bose, the embodiment of fearlessness, was one of the youngest revolutionaries in India’s independence movement. Arrested for attempting to assassinate British judge Douglas Kingsford, he was executed on August 11, 1908 in Muzaffarpur prison in Bihar at the age of 18. Bose and his colleague Prafulla Chaki had plotted to kill the judge because his judgments were seen as biased, harsh and unfair to Indian nationalists. They had targeted the judge’s vehicle with a bomb but it was not inside and thus escaped the attack. On the contrary, two others died. Bose was arrested and sentenced to death while Chaki committed suicide before the police could arrest him.

Early life and influence

Bose was born on December 3, 1889 in the district of Midnapore in West Bengal. He was the youngest of four siblings. He lost his parents very early on and was brought up by his older sister. He showed a penchant for revolutionary activities after drawing inspiration from the public lectures of Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita in Midnapore in the early 1900s.

During the partition of Bengal in 1905, he participated in several demonstrations against the British. At 15, he will know how to make bombs and place them near police stations. Around the same time, he was first arrested for distributing literature against colonial rulers.

The historic trial

A watershed moment came in Bose’s life in 1908. He and Chaki were tasked with killing Judge Kingsford, who was transferred from Bengal to Muzaffarpur. In Bengal, his judgments against Indian freedom fighters had earned him the wrath of the nationalists. There had been several attempts to assassinate him, but he survived. Initially, Bose, Chaki and others had thought to target him with a bomb inside the courtroom, but the plan was scrapped to avoid injuring civilians.

Then it was finally agreed that the judge would be targeted when he is alone or out of court. On April 30, 1908, Bose threw a bomb at a vehicle he suspected of transporting the judge. But he wasn’t there. Two women traveling in the vehicle were killed.

A huge crowd had gathered at the Muzaffarpur police station to see Bose, who had been taken there in handcuffs. The trial began on May 21, 1908, in which Bose’s lawyer said his client was too young to be able to make bombs. However, there was evidence against him. On July 13 of the same year, Bose was sentenced to death. When he was hanged, reports claim that he went to the gallows with a smile and took the Bhagavad Gita with him.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tribute to Bose, said “he championed the cause of freedom and sacrificed his life at the age of just 18”.

The fact that Khudiram Bose was hanged at the age of 18 made him one of India’s youngest freedom fighters to sacrifice his life for the nation.



Thelma J. Longworth

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