Independent India was the dream of each and every Indian who lived under the British rule in India.Every individual, during the British rule, fought in some or other way having a common aim of abolishing the British and various other colonial authorities ruling over different parts of India.
Indian Freedom Fighters had fought against the British Empire and continued the Indian freedom struggle with their undying spirit and bravery. The courageous Freedom Fighters of India sacrificed their lives to achieve independence for the nation.The Indian freedom fighters faced several tortures, hardships and exploitations to earn national freedom.
Freedom fighters took two routes to fight the British rule in India during the freedom movement.
One was that of diplomacy, nonviolence, negotiations, deliberations and countless meetings between the Indian leaders and their British counterparts.
Another was the revolutionary one where a group of young and highly motivated Indian youth wanted the British out, diplomacy. And they were the groups believing in armed revolution against British.
They wanted to answer all the atrocities the British committed with equal gusto. “Fire for fire, Blood for blood”.
Chandra Shekhar Azad was one of them.Chandra Shekhar Azad was born as Chandra Shekhar Tiwari. He was amongst the most significant Indian freedom fighters, the mentor of Bhagat Singh, produced one of the greatest revolutionaries against the British Government during the Pre-Independence era in India. Azad was amongst the young generation of Indians who brought more passion and inspiration into the Indian freedom struggle, particularly when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement. Azad and his other followers had committed themselves to absolute independence by any means. He was among the most sought after revolutionaries by British police.
The young Chandra Shekhar was intensely disturbed by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919. After two years in 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, young Chandra Shekhar Azad actively participated in the revolutionary activities.
Chandra Shekhar Azad was attracted towards more aggressive and revolutionary ideals after non-cooperation movement’s suspension. He was the first to start the revolutionary struggle with arms against the oppressive British rulers.
Here are some of his famous escapades which show his daring, courage, sacrifice,hard work towards freedom.
- He titled himself the name “Azad” when he was just 15 and received first punishment for the same:
When Chandra Shekhar was just 15, he was caught while indulging in revolutionary activities and was presented before the district magistrate.
When the district magistrate asked for his name, Chandra Shekhar proudly proclaimed his name as Azad. When asked for his father’s name he said proudly, “Swatantra”. He was sentenced to 15 lashings, which he tolerated with pride.With each stroke of the whip the young Chandrasekhar shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
- He was the mastermind in the famous Kakori train robbery:
You cannot wage a revolutionary war without money, and after Azad joined Revolutionary Party in India, he was tasked with the looting of a train that at Kakori in 1926.
Under his leadership, 10 revolutionaries looted the train successfully, taking all the money bags that were kept in the iron safe. They held the British soldiers at gunpoint and made off with the money.
- He crossed the Vindhya mountains and jungles on foot after escaping British clutches:
The money that was looted was not a small amount, and also, it belonged to the British treasury. The British fiercely hunted down the revolutionary members and even caught 5 of them, sentencing them to death on the spot.
But Azad escaped courageously. He trekked through the treacherous mountain jungles of Vindhya on foot and made it to Kanpur where he started mentoring new revolutionaries.
- He also attempted to blow up the Viceroy’s train:
He had also planned to blow up the special train in which the Viceroy Lord Irwin was travelling. Intention was to prevent meeting between Irwin and Congress. They went ahead and planted many bombs under the tracks in Delhi. Azad personally did reconnaissance in the disguise of a sadhu.
But when the Viceroy’s train passed over the bombs, the detonation was delayed by a second and the Viceroy was saved.
- Great escape from Police:
After attempted to blow up the viceroy’s train, police were hell bent to catch the revolutionaries.
But magically Azad escaped from police. He was the master of disguise. He sometimes was an English Babu, sometimes a Muslim Dervish; and sometime he was the priest at a Temple.
- He shot Saunders to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai’s :
We all know the story where Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally lathi-charged while protesting against the Simon Commission.
The assistant police superintendent John Saunders who had ordered the police to lathi-charge the people who were protesting against the Simon Commission, which resulted in the death of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai
Azad swore revenge against the officer who ordered the lathi-charge. Azad, with the core team members of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Jaigopal travelled all the way to Lahore to hunt down Saunders.They shot him dead as soon as he stepped out of the police station, thus avenging Lalaji’s death.
- Another great escape again:
After the attack on Saunders, the Azad along with other revolutionaries managed to escape and evade the police. It was not easy to escape from police after killing top officers.
But Azad still was as slippery as they came. Always on his guard, the British could never catch him. He was an expert of disguises and blended very well into the crowd, with help from other revolutionaries.
- Cornered and caught, he only killed British sepoys even when his own countrymen were hell-bent to kill him
Chandra Shekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive.
On February 27, 1931 Chandra Shekhar Azad met two of his comrades at the Alfred Park Allah bad. He was betrayed by an informer who had informed the British police. The police surrounded the park and ordered Azad to surrender.
Chandra Shekhar Azad fought alone valiantly and killed three policemen. Azad had a pistol which he used to shoot at only British sepoys, refusing to kill the Indian sepoys who were shooting at him.But finding himself surrounded and seeing no route for escape, Azad preferred killing himself and dying with pride rather than being captured by the British. Thus Chandra Shekhar Azad shot himself. Thus he kept his pledge of not being caught alive.
His motto was,
‘Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge,
Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee rahenge’ –And he lived and died by it!!…