Chandrashekhar Azad, born as Chandrashekhar Tiwari was one of the greatest revolutionaries of Indian freedom struggle. Azad’s name marks the beginning of a new revolutionary era within the Indian National Movement. He was the only one to survive from Kakori Train Robbery. Colonial government either arrested or executed almost all of Azad’s comrades. Including stalwarts like Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri of Hindustan Republic Association. After the martyrdom of towering figures Azad had the responsibility to reorganize the entire secret revolutionary organisation on his shoulders. He undoubtedly did it successfully and prepared great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh who willingly sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their motherland from oppressive British Rule.
Revolutionary Activities and childhood
Azad was born on 23rd July 1906 in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur District. He spent his childhood in Bhabra village which was a tribal-dominated area. Azad also mastered to use bow and arrow with Tribals here, who knew one day that skill would contribute in the defeat of one of the strongest imperialist empires in history. Azad’s mother mother wanted Azad to be a master in Sanskrit. For this she sent him to Kashi Vidyapeeth in Banaras. Nationalism in India was rising with anti colonial struggles. Congress, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi had launched Non Cooperation Movement. Azad was approximately of 15 years of age when he actively participated in the movement. Colonial police soon arrested Azad and presented him in front of the magistrate.
Usually in every revolutionary’s life there is a turning point and many believe that this was the turning point in Azad’s life. When an officer asked his name, he retorted Azad! (Independent). When the officer asked about his father’s name he said Swatantrata! (Independence). And eventually when he questioned about his residential address he replied Jail. He earned the name of Chandrashekhar Azad after this incident.
Mahatma Gandhi called off the non cooperation movement due to instances of violence. Azad believed in aggressive politics to uproot British Empire in India. Manmath Nath Gupta, a young revolutionary arranged his meeting with Ram Prasad Bismil. Bismil was the founding member of Hindustan Republican Association. In no time Azad started to participate in HRA’s activities.
Kakori Train Robbery
The famous Kakori Train Robbery was executed by the revolutionary’s of HRA on9th of August 1925. Number 8 down train was travelling from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow. Some of the revolutionary’s were in the third class cabin while few were in the second class component. Suddenly a revolutionary pulled the chain of 8 down train and revolutionaries appeared on scene. They wanted to rob the treasury which was to be transferred to the British Government. And they successfully did it. But they left behind some traces unfortunately. Despite it’s flaws the Kakori Train Robbery was a tight slap on the face of oppressive British Raj.
Azad was at Alfred Park, Allahabad (Present day Prayagraj) with his friend Sukhdev Raj. Veerbhadra Tiwari, an old comrade of Azad betrayed him and informed Britishers about Azad’s presence. Subsequently CID’s SSP Babur arrived there in jeep. Police followed him in large numbers from Colonelganj police station. Azad received heroism in fierce firing from both sides. On the 27th of February 1931 Azad attained martyrdom and was recorded in history forever. Azad along with other bravehearts of HSRA are still considered as the symbol of nationalism, selflessness and bravery by countless Indians and historians.