Khudiram Bose: one of the youngest martyrs of India’s freedom struggle
Attempted to assassinate Magistrate Douglas Kingsford
Khudiram, along with PrafullaChaki, attempted to assassinate a British judge, Magistrate Douglas Kingsford, by throwing bombs on the carriage as they suspected the man was in.
Magistrate Kingsford, however, was seated in a different carriage, and the throwing of bombs resulted in the deaths of two British women.
Prafulla committed suicide before the arrest. Khudiram was arrested and trialed for the murder of the two women, ultimately being sentenced to death.
Gandhi: Double Game of Non-Violence
As usual, Basard Gandhi like always denounced the violence, sorrowing the deaths of the two innocent women. He stated “that the Indian people will not win their freedom through these methods”.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his newspaper Kesari, defended the two young men and called for immediate Swaraj. This was followed by the immediate arrest of Tilak by the British on charges of sedition.
Khudiram Bose: Life Details
Khudiram Bose was born on 3 December 1889 in a village near Midnapore, he lost both his parents when he was 7 & was looked after by elder sister, Aparoopa Roy
In 1902 and 1903, Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita visited Midnapore. They held a series of public lectures and private session with the existing revolutionary groups for freedom. Khudiram, a teenager, was an active participant in the discussions about the revolution.
Apparently, he joined AnushilanSamiti, and came into contact with the network of Barindra Kumar Ghosh of Calcutta. He became a volunteer at the age of 15, and was arrested for distributing pamphlets against the British rule in India.
At the young age of 16, Khudiram took part in planting bombs near the police stations and targeted government officials.
Planing to Assualt Kingsford:
Kingsford was the Chief Magistrate of the Presidency Court of Alipore, he had overseen the trials of Bhupendranath Dutta and other editors of Jugantar, sentencing them to rigorous imprisonment.
Kingsford also earned notoriety among nationalists when he ordered the whipping of a young Bengali boy, Sushil Sen, for participating in the protests that followed the Jugantar trial. Kingsford became unpopular for passing harsh and cruel sentences on young political workers. He also inflicted corporal punishments on such workers.
So, a plan was hatched to kill the British terrorist.
Hemachandra learnt bomb making at Paris & was back to Bharat, Barindra & Hemchandra planned an assassination in March 1908 but failed when Kingsford got transferred.
Undeterred, they planned again this time with Prafulla Chaki. It was April and Hemchandra provided the bomb, which was composed of 6 ounces of dynamite, a detonator, and a black powder fuse. Prafulla Chaki returned to Muzaffarpur with a new boy, Khudiram Bose.
The Calcutta police became aware of the plans on Kingsford’s life, meantime, Khudiram & Chaki adopted the name of Haren Sarkar & Dinesh Chandra Roy respectively and took up residence in a Dharamshala run by Kishorimohan Bandyopadhyay. In the ensuing days, the duo monitored the activities and daily routine of their target. The two revolutionaries successfully hide their identities for over three weeks.
On the evening of 29 April, Khudiram and Prafulla were in place to execute their plans. Pretending to be schoolboys, they surveyed the Muzaffarpur park situated opposite The British Club, frequented by Kingsford.
On that fateful night, Kingsford and his wife were playing bridge with the daughter and wife of Pringle Kennedy, a British barrister. They decided to head home around 8.30 PM. Kingsford and his wife were in a carriage identical to the one carrying Kennedy and his family.
As their carriage reached the eastern gate of the compound of the European Club, Khudiram and Prafulla ran towards the carriage and threw the bombs into the carriage. A loud explosion ensued and the carriage was taken to Kingsford’s house.
The carriage was destroyed and Miss Kennedy died within an hour and Mr. Kennedy died on 2 may of sustained injuries.
Both had planned an escape route & parted ways after bombing, but by midnight entire town & nearby places knew about Bombings happened.
Khudiram walked 25 kms & reached Waini, there he was caught by 2 havaldars out of suspicion & detained. When checked, Khudiram had 37 rounds of ammunition, Rs. 30 in cash, a railway map and a page of the rail timetable.
Prafulla was travelling in a train & a sub-inspector, Nandalal Bannerjee, was travelling in the same compartment. He struck a conversation and realized Prafulla to be the other revolutionary.
Prafulla Chakki accept VEERA MARANA instead of Surrendour
When Prafulla got down at the Shipwright station to drink water, Bannerjee sent a telegram to the Muzaffarpur police station. Banerjee tried to apprehend Prafulla at the Mokamaghat station. Prafulla tried to fight his way through with his revolver but in the end, down to his last bullet, he shot himself in the mouth.(VEERA MARANA)
On 1 May, the handcuffed Khudiram was brought from to Muzaffarpur.
The entire town descended at the police station to take a look at the teenage boy. The English daily, @TheStatesman, wrote on the following day, 2 May 1908
The Railway station was crowded to see the boy. A mere boy of 18 or 19 years old, who looked quite determined. He came out of a first-class compartment and walked all the way to the phaeton, kept for him outside, like a cheerful boy who knows no anxiety…..on taking his seat the boy lustily cried ‘Vandemataram’.
Khudiram had to give a statement or declaration to the magistrate. He took full responsibility for the assassination, unknown that Prafulla was dead.
Only after Khudiram finished giving his statement, the body of Prafulla reached Muzaffarpur. Khudiram realized that lying would go in vain. He identified the body of Prafulla and the British also received details from the encounter with sub-inspector Bannerjee.
Death sentence for Khudiram
Instead of believing Khudiram, the British thought it more proper to cut off the head from the body and send it to Kolkata for better confirmation.
The trial started on 21 May 1908, lawyers representing Khudiram asked judge to consider the age but to their disappointment, the Judge Woodman pronounced the death sentence for Khudiram.
Khudiram’s immediate and spontaneous response was to smile. The judge, surprised, asked Khudiram whether he had understood the meaning of the pronounced sentence.
Khudiram replied that he surely had. When the judge asked him again whether he had anything to say, in front of a packed audience, Khudiram replied with the same smile that if he could be given some time, he could teach the judge the skill of bomb-making.
As per legal system, Khudiram had 7 days to appeal, his lawyers persuaded & Khudiram filed an appeal for high court for lighter sentence….
(Just saying not only Savarkar, but almost all freedom fighters wrote mercy petitions as per customs).
The High Court hearing took place on 8 July 1908. Narendrakumar Basu came to Khudiram’s defence and concentrated all his legal skills and experience in this case to save a boy who had overnight become a wonder and a hero for the whole country. He challenged the verdict of the session court by saying that the judging was not according to law and was flawed.
Narendra Kumar gave 3 evidences of flaws & bias by Judge Woodman, the 2 British judges at HC reserved judgement for 13th July.
As Khudiram was the only of the two alive, his lone statement of a two-man team was the foundation for the entire case. Since all the legal arguments put forth by Narendrakumar Basu were believed to be technically correct, it was hoped that for the sake of the law—about which the British prided themselves ad infinitum — Khudiram’s life would, at least, be spared. But, on a historical day, the British judges confirmed the conviction and sentence and dismissed the appeal.
On 11 August, the region around the prison became packed with a swelling crowd before the scheduled time, 6 AM. People holding flower garlands filled up the front rows of the crowd. Upendranath Sen, the lawyer-journalist of the Bengali news daily “Bengalee“, who was close to Khudiram, reports having reached the venue by 5 AM, in a car with all the necessary funerary arrangements and clothes. After the hanging, the funeral procession went through the city, with police guards holding back the crowd all along the central artery street. The people kept throwing their flowers on the body as the carriage passed by.
The Amrita Bazar Patrika, carried the story of the hanging the next day, on 12 August. Under the headline “Khudiram’s End: Died cheerful and smiling” the newspaper wrote
“Khudiram’s execution took place at 6 a.m. this morning. He walked to the gallows firmly and cheerfully and even smiled when the cap was drawn over his head.”
The Kesari, Marathi newspaper of Tilak, observed on 26 May 1908
“Neither the Jubilee murder of 1897, nor the reported tampering of the Sikh regiments had produced so much commotion, and the English public opinion seems inclined to regard birth of the bomb in India as the most extraordinary event since the mutiny at 1857”.
(This is the difference between Nerveless Gandhi Nehru & Nationalist)
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