This Day in History (27-Feb-1931) – Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself to avoid British police arrest at Alfred Park, Allahabad

Chandrashekhar Tiwari was drawn into the non-cooperation movement of 1920-21, at the age of 15, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. When arrested he gave his name as ‘Azad’, his father’s name as ‘Swatantra’ and his residence as ‘prison’. This annoyed the magistrate who sentenced him to fifteen lashes of flogging. The title of Azad stuck thereafter. Although Gandhiji was appalled by the brutal violence at Chauri chaura and suspended non-cooperation movement, Azad did not feel that violence was unacceptable in the struggle, especially in view of the Amritsar Massacre.

He got involved in revolutionary activities and joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organization formed by Ram Prasad Bismil . He trained the revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Rajguru.  He was involved in the Kakori Conspiracy where revolutionaries looted the Government treasury from train. He was also involved in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train, the Assembly bomb incident, the Delhi Conspiracy and the Second Lahore conspiracy. He was one of the three who were involved in the shooting of Saunders at Lahore.  Azad was also a believer in socialism as the basis for a future India, free of social and economic oppression and adversity. He was instrumental in transforming the HRA into the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928 so as to achieve their primary aim of an independent India based on socialist principle.

As a result of a friend’s betrayal, he was encircled by the police at Alfred Park in Allahabad on 27 February 1931 where he had gone to meet his colleague Sukhdev Raj. Surrounded by the police, he put up a good fight which made it possible for Raj to escape. When he was left with only one bullet, he fired it at his own temple and lived up to his resolve that he would never be arrested and be dragged to gallows to be hanged. After the independence, to commemorate Azad, Alfred Park was renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.freedomfirst.in/issue/articles.aspx?id=7804

http://www.liveindia.com/freedomfighters/chandrashekharazad.html

http://www.culturalindia.net/leaders/chandrasekhar-azad.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandra_Shekhar_Azad

This Day in History (20-Feb-1947) – Lord Mountbatten appointed as last viceroy of India

In October 1943, Lord Mountbatten became the supreme allied commander, South East Asia Command (SEAC), a position he held until 1946. He achieved the defeat of the Japanese offensive towards India and the reconquest of Burma. In September 1945, he received the Japanese surrender at Singapore. In 1947, Mountbatten was appointed as the Viceroy of India. He mainly administered the British withdrawal from India with minimal reputation damage and the transition from British India to independent states of India and Pakistan.

Mountbatten was fond of Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his liberal outlook for the country. Though Mountbatten emphasized on the united, independent India, he could not influence Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who demanded a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, despite being aware of the difficulties that would arise while meeting the demands.  Unable to sway away Jinnah from his modus operandi of a separate Muslim state, Mountbatten adapted himself to the changing situation and concluded that his vision for a united India was an unachievable dream. He then resigned himself to a plan for partition, creating the independent nations of India and Pakistan.

He worked towards setting a fixed date for the transfer of power from British India to the Indians. At the stroke of midnight on August 14-15, 1947, India and Pakistan attained independence. Mountbatten served as the country’s first Governor General for ten months until June 1948.

Mountbatten also developed a strong relationship with the Indian princes, who ruled those portions of India not directly under British rule. His intervention was decisive in persuading the vast majority of them to see advantages in opting to join the Indian Union. Thus the integration of the princely states can be viewed as one of the positive aspects of his legacy.

In 1953, Mountbatten returned to the Royal Navy, becoming commander of a new NATO Mediterranean command. Finally, he retired from the navy in 1965 as a Chief of the defence staff. In 1979, Mountbatten was murdered when IRA terrorists blew up his boat off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/february/20

http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/lord-mountbatten-15.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Mountbatten,_1st_Earl_Mountbatten_of_Burma

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mountbatten_lord_louis.shtml

This Day in History (8-Feb-1943) – Subhashchandra Bose started his journey to Japan from Germany in a submarine

Netaji Subhash Chadra Bose, once a colleague of Gandhi, was fighting against British in non Violent way. But when World War II broke out, Bose thought that it was the best opportunity for India to get freedom by armed revolution. His plan was to co-operate with Germany and attack British India. He was sure that Indian soldiers in British army will rebel against the British Government as soon as his army will attack India. British Government house arrested him, but he escaped and went to Afghanistan, and then to Germany in April 1941. In his 2 years stay in Germany, Bose realised that  Germany is not interested in India’s independence but only to rule the world. His meeting with Hitler was one sided affair where Hitler proudly reiterated his well known ugly racist chauvinism. Bose wanted Germany to withdraw from Russia while  Hitler boasted that for Germany, it is only possible to reach India over ‘the dead body of Russia’.

Meanwhile Japan had entered the world war and had advanced towards India against British. Bose realised that collaborating with Japan at this stage will yield the desired result than with Germany. He also wanted to be nearer home when Japan decided to invade India so that he could be physically available to offer leadership to the people and the prisoners of war of Indian origin in South East Asia. Bose planed to go to Japan. Hitler arranged a submarine for Bose. It was a U-180 German submarine.

On 8th February 1943, the submarine sailed from Keil, to travel towards Indian ocean. Abid Hassan, a personal assistant and a doctor of Subhash Chandra Bose was his fellow traveler in this journey. When it detoured south Africa and turned to east, a British tanker Corbis confronted. U-180 sank the British Tanker. Three days later, a Japanese submarine I-29 met with U-180 near Madagascar. Subhash Chandra boarded on Japanese submarine which successfully and safely reached to Japan. After reaching Japan, he met Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and discussed about future strategy and plans. Later Subhash Chandra Bose attacked British India from Eastern front with Indian National Army.

 

Reference:

http://jainismus.hubpages.com/hub/The-Submarine-Adventure-of-Subhash-Chandra-Bose

http://www.indianage.com/show.php

http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv7n1/Bose.htm

This Day in History (2-Jan-1947) – Lord Bevin commented that with half of the population of beggars and thieves, India is ungovernable Nation

At the conclusion of the Second World War, the Labour Party, under Prime Minister Clement Richard Attlee, came to power in Britain. The Labour Party was largely sympathetic towards Indian people for freedom. A Cabinet Mission was sent to India in March 1946, which after a careful study of the Indian political scenario, proposed the formation of an interim Government and convening of a Constituent Assembly comprising members elected by the provincial legislatures and nominees of the Indian states. A Constituent Assembly was formed in July 1946, to frame the Constitution of India and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. An interim Government was formed headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

On 2nd Jan 1947, Mahatma Gandhi met Lord Bevin, the personal emissary of British Prime Minister, in Delhi. Bevin is reported to have told the great man, ”Eighteen languages, 500 dialects, some 30 religions, a million Gods and Goddesses, 300 million individuals, an infinity of castes and sub castes, and a population (that is) practically illiterate and half of which (are) beggars or thieves… Good luck, sir! Such a nation is ungovernable! It’d take you centuries to get anywhere!”. Gandhiji wrapped his large, white shawl a little more closely around him, and modestly replied, ‘India has eternity before her’.

Bevin’s statement showed the challenges new born India would be facing. However, India – a developing nation, proved Bevin wrong over a period creating largest democracy in the world.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://knowindia.gov.in/knowindia/culture_heritage.php?id=7

This Day in History (29-Dec-1930) – Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s presidential address in Allahabad introduces the two-nation theory

Sir Muhammad Iqbal remains in India both a controversial and revered figure. To nationalists he is the misguided intellectual progenitor of Pakistan; but to many lovers of poetry he is one of India’s greatest 20th century poets, perhaps next only to Rabindranath Tagore. Though he wrote in both Urdu and Persian, it is mainly upon his Urdu poetry that his fame rests. In India he is also remembered as the author of the popular song Tarana-i-Hindi  – ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha’. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title “Sir”.

Having pursued higher studies in Lahore, by 1905 he was off to England. Prior to his departure, he had already become famous as a poet for such nationalist poems as Naya Shivala- ‘The New Temple’ and Tarana-i-Hindi. Western society and German vitalist philosophy had a major impact on him. He envisaged that if Muslims could recreate the Islam for modern-times, they could offer a model for the East and to the world in general. He believed that a polity created by Muslims in India could serve as a rallying point for Muslims throughout the world and the beginning step towards a global brotherhood. This is the background to his 1930 speech at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League where the first geographic outlines of this state were demarcated.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered the presidential address at the 21st Session of the All India Muslim League held from 29-30 December, 1930, in which he declared: “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluschistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North West India”. Largely due to the course of the political events that ensued, Iqbal has ended up becoming the poet-patriot of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan, nine years after Iqbal’s death, Jinnah and other League politicians would publicly credit Iqbal as one of the visionaries and founders of the new state. The Pakistan government officially named him a “national poet”. His birthday ‘Iqbal Day’ is a public holiday in Pakistan.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_29

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/aproct09/7.htm

https://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/British/Iqbal.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Muhammad_Iqbal

http://www.poemhunter.com/allama-muhammad-iqbal/biography/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Iqbal

This Day in History (28-Dec-1885) – The Indian National Congress was founded

At the close of the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, the British government established an imperial headquarters on the subcontinent at Kolkata. Over the next twenty-plus years, administrators set out to engage the natives in order to avoid the rebellions which forced the East India Company to relinquish control in the first place. By 1883, the responsibility for developing this coalition became the personal mission of a retired district officer named Allan Octavian Hume. Capitalizing on the simmering desire amongst Indians for independence, he composed an open letter for a carefully-chosen group of graduates from the University of Calcutta explaining they would have to “make a resolute struggle to secure greater freedom for yourselves and your country.”

The idea of the Congress took concrete shape during a meeting of the Theosophical Convention in Madras in December 1884. In March 1885 a notice was issued convening a meeting at Pune in December of the same year, but due to a severe plague outbreak there, the meeting was later shifted to Bombay. Granted permission by the governor, the Viceroy understood Hume’s intention — coupled with that of natives like Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee and others — to be the creation of a single point of contact for the varying concerns locals might bring to the colonial government.

On December 28, 1885, a group of 72 delegates gathered at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Mumbai to form the Indian National Congress (INC) with W.C. Bannerjee in the chair and Hume assuming office as the General Secretary. Other important delegates included Dadabhai Naoroji, Justice Ranade, Pherozeshah Mehta, K.T. Telang and Dinshaw Wacha. Defining the objective of the Congress, the president spoke of the “promotion of personal intimacy and friendship among all the more earnest workers in our country’s cause in the parts of the empire and eradication of race, creed or provincial prejudice and fuller development of national unity”.

Subsequently, the Congress led India to Independence in 1947 after a long but remarkably peaceful struggle.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/december-28-1885-the-indian-national-congress-is-founded-in-mumbai-

http://www.indianetzone.com/41/history_indian_national_congress.htm

This Day in History (26-Dec-1907) – In 23rd session of INC at Surat, Congress split into two groups named ‘Extremists’ and ‘Moderates’

In December 1905, at the Benaras session of the Indian National Congress, the Extremists wanted to extend the Boycott and Swadeshi Movement to regions outside Bengal and also to include all forms of associations within the boycott programme and thus start a nationwide mass movement. The Moderates, on the other hand, advocated strictly constitutional methods to protest against the partition of Bengal. At the Calcutta session of the Congress in December 1906, as a concession to the militants, the goal of the Indian National Congress was defined as ‘swarajya’ or self-government. The word swaraj was mentioned for the first time, but its connotation was not spelt out.

The Extremists, emboldened by the proceedings at the Calcutta session, gave a call for wide passive resistance and boycott of schools, colleges, legislative councils, municipalities, law courts, etc. The Moderates, encouraged by the news that council reforms were on the anvil, decided to tone down the Calcutta programme. The Extremists thought that the people had been aroused and the battle for freedom had begun. The Moderates saw in the council reforms an opportunity to realise their dream of Indian participation in the administration.

By 1907 session in Surat, Both sides adopted rigid positions, leaving no room for compromise. The split became inevitable, and the Congress was now dominated by the Moderates who lost no time in reiterating Congress commitment to the goal of self- government within the British Empire and to constitutional methods only to achieve this goal. The Government launched a massive attack on the Extremists. Between 1907 and 1911, five new laws were enforced to check anti-government activity. Tilak, the main Extremist leader, was sent to Mandalay (Burma) jail for six years. Aurobindo and B.C. Pal retired from active politics. Lajpat Rai left for abroad. The Extremists were not able to organise an effective alternative party to sustain the movement. The Moderates were left with no popular base or support, especially as the youth rallied behind the Extremists. After 1908, the national movement as a whole declined for a time. In 1914, Tilak was released and he picked up the threads of the movement.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/history/major-causes-of-moderate-extremist-split-at-surat-1907/23240/