This Day in History (23-Dec-1912) – In Delhi, agitation continues as British Viceroy Lord Hardinge is wounded by a bomb explosion

At a revolutionary conclave in Chandan Nagar, the suggestion for an attack on Hardinge emanated from Shreesh Ghosh, a dare-devil friend of Rash Behari. Rash Behari informed that he was ready and resolute but laid two conditions – that he should be supplied with powerful bombs and that he should have a young man of unimpeachable revolutionary character. Both were obtained and the first rehearsal was made on Diwali of 1911, amidst sound of crackers all round.

The young man who came from Chandan Nagar was one Basant Biswas, a handsome boy of 16 years. He could easily be dressed up as a girl and get mixed up with other women sitting on the spacious terrace of a building in Chandni Chowk. All were eagerly waiting for the procession on occasion of shifting India’s capital from culcutta to Delhi. The bombs had to be hurled by Basant on the target. He had actually practised it for months in the garden of Raja PN Tagore at Dehradun. On the previous day Rash Behari took his young ‘girl friend’ in a Tonga and had a ride through the roads of Chandni Chowk, which was to be the venue the next day.

It was the 23rd December 1912. The Viceroy couple was on the elephant back. Ladies were excitedly waiting for the procession to arrive. Basant (dressed as a girl) was one amongst them. The point chosen was the Clock-tower in Chandni Chowk, near the Punjab National Bank. Awadh Bihari was standing just opposite, to throw the bombs if Basant somehow failed. The atmosphere was electrifying, when it just occurred to Rash Behari that the practice of bomb throwing in cigarette tins at Dehrudun would be of no avail. It was from the ground to the imaginary height of the target on an elephant back. He just rushed in and asked Basant to enter the bathroom and quickly change his Sari to male clothes which he was carrying. He came down and got mixed up with the crowd on the foot path. But the bombs were not thrown by him but probably by Awadh Bihari. The Viceroy was seriously injured and was taken to a famous doctor, A.C. Sen, nearby. Awadh Bihari was later hanged but Rash Behari could not be touched. He returned to Dehradun by the night train and joined the office the next day as though nothing had happened.