The forgotten hero: Chandrashekhar Azad

Stars often fall, heroes go unsung and martyrs most certainly die too young : Joan C Baez February 27th. The significance of this date lies in the fact that today in the year 1931 a valiant patriot by the name of Chandrashekhar Azad attained martyrdom while fighting the British so that we Indians could rejoice in freedom. He joined Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement but the violence perpetrated by the British infuriated him to such an extent that he turned a revolutionary. He joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) as a freedom fighter and later became its leader. Azad was involved in the Kakori train robbery, the Central Legislative Assembly bomb incident, the Delhi conspiracy and the shooting of British Police Superintendent Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai. In one of the pamphlets, to explain the true meaning of revolutionary rebellion and to answer critics, who misinterpreted the revolutionaries struggle as violence, it was stated that unlike violence which could be sheer brute force, theirs was not just that. Comparing it to the non-violent movement, the pamphlet stated that while non-violence was the application of soul-force, revolutionaries believed in the coupling together of soul force with physical force. On February 27, 1931 he shot himself dead while bravely fighting the British. He was betrayed by an Indian. He lived upto his self-pride in not surrendering and in not succumbing to the enemy's bullets. His fearlessness is signified by the fact that he continued fighting an army of British soldiers for several hours before sacrificing his own life when there was no way out, thus setting a rare example of courage and devotion to the country. He was truly a One-Man Army. The question that we all need to ask ourselves today is whether or not we are protecting the freedom that is soaked with the blood of revolutionaries like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and the list goes on an on. How easily do we take this independence for granted and become happily oblivious to the fact that we would still have been slaves had it not been for brave young men like Azad. It is different that we are still besieged by evils. Salutations to us Indians as we are indeed living upto being Indians!

Sankalp Unit