Chandra Shekhar Azad
|Chandra Shekhar Azad|
Chandra Shekhar Tiwari
23 July 1906
Bhavra, Alirajpur, Central India Agency
27 February 1931
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Occupation||Revolutionary leader, freedom fighter, political activist|
|Organization||Hindustan Republican Association (later on Hindustan Socialist Republican Association)|
|Movement||Indian Independence Movement|
Chandra Shekhar Azad ( ; 23 July 1906 – 27 February 1931), popularly known as Azad ("The Free"), was an Hindustan Republican Association under the new name of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) after the death of its founder, Ram Prasad Bismil, and three other prominent party leaders, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqulla Khan. He is considered to be the mentor of Bhagat Singh and chief strategist of the HSRA.
- Early life 1.1
- Revolutionary life 1.2
- Activities in Jhansi 1.3
- With Bhagat Singh 1.4
- Death 1.5
- Popular culture 2
- See also 3
- References 4
- Further reading 5
- External links 6
Azad was born Chandra Shekhar Tiwari on 23 July 1906 in Bhavra village, in the present-day Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. His forefathers were from Badarka village near Kanpur (in present-day Unnao District). His mother, Jagrani Devi, was the third wife of Sitaram Tiwari, whose previous wives had died young. After the birth of their first son, Sukhdev, in Badarka, the family moved to Alirajpur State.
His mother wanted her son to be a great Sanskrit scholar and persuaded his father to send him to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras, to study. In December 1921, when Mohandas K. Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, Chandra Shekhar, then a 15-year-old student, joined. As a result, he was arrested. On being produced before a magistrate, he gave his name as "Azad" (The Free), his father's name as "Swatantrata" (Independent) and his residence as "Jail". From that day he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad among the people.
After suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 by Gandhi, Azad became more aggressive. He committed himself to achieve complete independence by any means. Azad also believed that India's future lay in socialism. He met a young revolutionary, Pranvesh Chatterji, who introduced him to Ram Prasad Bismil who had formed the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organisation. Azad was impressed with the aim of HRA, i.e., an independent India with equal rights and opportunity to everyone without discrimination of caste, creed, religion or social status. On introduction, Bismil was impressed by Azad, when Azad reportedly put his hand over a lamp and did not remove it till his skin burnt. He then became an active member of the HRA and started to collect funds for HRA. Most of the fund collection was through robberies of government property. He also wanted to build a new India based on socialist principles. Azad and his compatriots also planned and executed several acts of violence against the British. Most of his revolutionary activities were planned and executed from Shahjahanpur which was also the hometown of Ram Prasad. He was involved in the ((Kakori Train Robbery)) of 1925, in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train in 1926, and at last the shooting of J.P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
Despite being a member of Congress, Motilal Nehru regularly gave money in support of Azad.
Activities in Jhansi
Azad made Orchha, situated 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Jhansi, as a site for shooting practice and, being an expert marksman, he trained other members of his group. Near the forest he built a hut near to a Hanuman Temple on the banks of the Satar River. He lived there under the alias of Pandit Harishankar Brahmachari for a long period, and started teaching children from the nearby village of Dhimarpura. In this way he managed to establish good rapport with the local residents. The village Dhimarpura was renamed as Azadpura by the Madhya Pradesh government.
While living in Jhansi, he also learned to drive a car at Bundelkhand Motor Garage in Sadar Bazar. Sadashivrao Malkapurkar, Vishwanath Vaishampayan and Bhagwan Das Mahaur came in close contact with him and became an integral part of his revolutionary group. The then congress leaders from Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar and Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat were also close to Azad. He also stayed for sometime in the house of Rudra Narayan Singh at Nai Basti, as well as Bhagwat's house in Nagra.
With Bhagat Singh
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed by Bismil, Chatterji, Bhagwati Charan Vohra who along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru, helped him to transform the HRA into the HSRA in 1928 so as to achieve their primary aim of an independent India based on socialist principle.
Azad died at Alfred Park in Allahabad on 27 February 1931 when he was returning from Anand Bhawan and as some records have that he met Jawahar Lal Nehru and had a verbal fight with him after which he left for Alfred Park to meet his other revolutionary friend Sukhdev Raj. The police surround him in the park citing information from an informer. He was wounded in the process of defending himself and Sukhdev Raj and killed three policemen and wounded some others. His actions made it possible for Sukhdev Raj to escape. After a long shootout, holding true to his pledge to never be captured alive, he shot himself dead with his last bullet.The file related to Azad is preserved in C.I.D. Headquarters, 1, Gokhale Marg, Lucknow. The Colt pistol of Chandra Shekhar Azad is displayed at the Allahabad Museum.
The body was sent to Rasulabad Ghat for cremation without informing general public. As it came to light, people surrounded the park where the incident had taken place. They chanted slogans against the British rule and praised Azad.
Alfred Park, where he became "Shaheed", has been renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park. Several schools, colleges, roads and other public institutions across India are also named after him.
Starting from Manoj Kumar's 1965 film Shaheed, many films have featured the character of Azad. Sunny Deol portrayed Azad in the movie 23rd March 1931: Shaheed. In the movie The Legend of Bhagat Singh, starring Ajay Devgan, Azad was portrayed by Akhilendra Mishra.
The lives of Azad, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Bismil and Ashfaq were depicted in the 2006 film Rang De Basanti, with Aamir Khan portraying Azad. The movie, which draws parallels between the lives of young revolutionaries such as Azad and Bhagat Singh, and today's youth, also dwells upon the lack of appreciation among today's Indian youth for the sacrifices made by these men.
- Chandra Shekhar Azad (1906-1931)
- Bhawan Singh Rana (1 January 2005). Chandra Shekhar Azad (An Immortal Revolutionary Of India). Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 10.
- The Calcutta review. University of Calcutta. Dept. of English. 1958. p. 44. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Catherine B. Asher, ed. (June 1994). India 2001: reference encyclopedia. South Asia Publications. p. 131.
- Rana, Bhawan Singh (2005). Chandra Shekhar Azad (An Immortal Revolutionary of India). Diamond Pocket Books. pp. 22–24.
- Mittal, S. K.; Habib, Irfan (June 1982). "The Congress and the Revolutionaries in the 1920s". Social Scientist 10 (6): 20–37. (subscription required)
- Bhattacherje, S. B. (1 May 2009). Encyclopaedia of Indian Events & Dates. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. pp. B–19. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Khatri, Ram Krishna (1983). Shaheedon Ki Chhaya Mein. Nagpur: Vishwabharati Prakashan. pp. 138–139.
- (Hindi) Brahmdutt, Chandramani. Krant Ki Laptain. ISBN 81-88167-30-4
- (Kannada) Krishnamurthy, Babu. Ajeya ("Unconquered"). Biography of Azad