Arrests and Martyrdom

The incident shook the very roots of British imperialism. It created a great upheaval in British India. The retribution was severe when more than 40 revolutionaries were arrested from all over India. As per official record of the British Government, a criminal conspiracy case was filed against 28 active members of HRA by the Special Magistrate Ainuddin after a long time. 21 persons were presented before Session Court of Special Judge A. Hamilton on 21 May 1926. Abbas Salim Khan, Banvari Lal Bhargava, Gyan Chattarji and Mohd. Ayuf were the assessors (legal advisers) of the Judge.

Court's verdict was published in 115 pages and the charges were proved in such a manner that no body could escape the punishment.

Another supplementary case was filed against Ashfaqulla Khan and Shachindra Nath Bakshi in the court of Special Sessions Judge J.R.W. Bennett. An appeal was filed in the then Chief Court of Oudh (now in U.P.) on 18 July 1927. A very senior advocate Pt. Jagat Narayan Mulla pleaded the case as public prosecutor on behalf of the Government whereas Ram Prasad Bismil defended his case himself. He did not take any help from the Government.

On 22 August 1927 the Chief Court endorsed the original judgement with an exception of one or two punishments. A mercy appeal was filed in due course before the Provincial Governor of U.P. by the members of legislative council which was dismissed. Bismil wrote a letter to Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya on 9 September 1927 from the Gorakhpur Jail.

Malviya sent a memorandum to the then Viceroy and Governor General of India Edward Fredrick Lindley Wood with the signatures of 78 Members of Central Legislature, which was also turned down. On 16 September 1927 the final mercy appeal was forwarded to Privy Council at London and to the King Emperor through a famous lawyer of England S.L. Polak but the British Government, who had already decided to hang them, sent their final decision to the India office of Viceroy that all the four condemned prisoners are now to be hanged till death by 19 December 1927 positively.

In an 18-month long drawn case, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death under section 121(A), 120(B), 302 and 396 of Indian Penal Code. Bismil was hanged by the British authorities on 19 December 1927 in the morning at Gorakhpur Jail, Ashfaqulla Khan at the Faizabad Jail and Thakur Roshan Singh at Naini Allahabad Jail whereas fourth Rajendra Nath Lahiri was hanged on 17 December 1927 (two days before the scheduled date) at Gonda Jail; all located in the present Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

On 19 December 1927 Bismil woke up at 3.30 a.m. as usual in the morning, did his formal duties of daily routine, meditated for half an hour, bore new dhoti-kurta and sat in the waiting of his long awaited beloved death. At the appropriate time the Magistrate came along with the jailor, unlocked the condemned cell and asked Bismil to get ready. The Magistrate was astonished to see him smiling. Bismil rose up immediately and said - "Let us move!"

He went cheerfully up to the gallows saying his last good bye to whomsoever met in the way. He stood up at the altar of gallows, kissed the noose and spoke very loudly his last wish - "I wish the downfall of British Empire!" Then he whispered the vedic prayer "Om vishvaani dev savitur duritaani paraasuv, yad bhadram tann aasuv." (O God of all creature! let the ill will be removed and the good prevail in our souls.) and put the noose around his neck like a garland.

The hangman pulled the lever of gallows and the body of Bismil hanged in the open air. For half an hour he was kept hanging to safeguard the certainty of death. In this way a daredevil son of Mother India departed for the common cause of every Indian's freedom.

Looking into the huge rush at the main gate of the jail authorities broke open the wall in front of gallows, the dead body was brought out and handed over to his parents Murlidhar and Moolmati. A huge rush of about 1.5 lakh people had gathered from all over the country. They took the dead body of Ram Prasad and carried it to the bank of Rapti under a grand procession.

The dead body of Bismil was kept at Ghantaghar of Gorakhpur for the last view of the public in the City. From there it was taken to the Rapti river where the last funeral of this great martyr was performed under the proper Vedic Cremation System on the bank of the river.

Sankalp Unit