Ram Prasad Bismil was born on 11 June 1897 at Shahjahanpur, a historical city of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) in a religious Hindu family of Murlidhar and Moolmati. His father Murlidhar decided to educate Ram through Urdu medium and he was admitted in Islamia School of Shahjahanpur. As he grew up, he associated with bad students and read romantic poetry books and cheap novels that undermined his academic work. When he failed twice in 7th standard of Urdu, he was admitted to an English school of the city. After passing 8th standard from Mission School in First Division, he was admitted to the Government School in Shahjahanpur. While studying in this school, he kept his pen-name as 'Bismil' and started writing patriotic poetry. He became popular by the name Bismil amongst his class mates.
When he was a student of 9th standard, he read the news about the death sentence of Bhai Parmanand, a famous scholar and companion of Lala Har Dayal. Bismil was 18 years old at that time. In those days he used to go to the Arya Samaj Temple of Shahjahanpur daily, where Swami Somdev, a friend of Bhai Paramanand, was staying. A revengeful anger had burst out in the mind of Bismil through this incident. He composed a poem in Hindi titled mera janm (My Birth) and showed it to Swami Somdev. In that poem he showed his commitment to root out the British Empire from India. Swami Somdev read the poem and said- "Ram Prasad! I know that you are very much hurt by heart and accordingly you have chosen your pen name as 'Bismil'. Your poem is also full of patriotic feelings and your views are very clear but, my dear child! It is not so easy to fulfill the commitment until a solid determination does not sustain in your heart and mind." In spite of arguments and counter-arguments from the Swami, Bismil did not deviate from his commitment. When Swami Somdev saw a burning flame of revolution in his eyes, he advised him to prepare himself politically and go to Lucknow to participate actively in the next Indian National Congress of 1916.
Next year Bismil left his school and went to Lucknow with his friends. The Liberal group was not prepared to allow Moderate group for any type of welcome in the city. Bismil and a senior student of M.A. led the overwhelming procession of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in whole of the city. Bismil was highlighted there and so many youths from all over India became his fans. They organised a group of youths and decided to publish a book in Hindi on the history of American independence, America Ki Swatantrata Ka Itihas, with the consent of Swami Somdev. This book was published with a fictitious name of Babu Harivans Sahai, B.A. and its publisher's name was given as Somdev Siddhgopal Shukla. As soon as the book was published, the then U.P. Government prohibited it to be sold anywhere in the state.