11 Aug 2010 by Sonvir Singh Attri
Chandrashekhar Azad, often called, Panditji was a revolutionary. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he was the first among many Indian revolutionaries to use arms in their fight for independence against the British rulers. A devout Brahmin, he believed that it was his “dharma” (duty) to fight for others. He also believed that a soldier never relinquishes his weapon.
Chandrashekhar Azad was born on 23 July 1906 in village Bhavra in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh(Myth :Unnao dist- Badarka uttar pradesh).His father was Pt. Sitaram Tiwari and his mother was Jagrani Devi.Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation movement, he actively participated in the protest movement. He was arrested and received his first punishment at the age of fifteen for this act of civil disobedience. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said “Azad” (meaning free). For this, he was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip, young Chandrasekhar shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”[“Hail The Motherland!”]. From that point onwards, Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to be known as Chandrashekhar Azad.
After suspension of the non-cooperation movement, Azad was attracted by more aggressive and violent revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Towards this end, he formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and was mentor to revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Rajguru. HSRA’s goal was full Indian independence and wanted to build a new India based on socialist principles. Azad and his compatriots also planned and executed several acts of violence against the British. He was involved in numerous such activities like the Kakori Train Robbery (1925), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train (1926), and the shooting of John Poyantz Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
On February 27, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at Alfred Park, Allahabad. He was recognised by a police, the police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Azad fought alone and killed three policemen but was shot in the thigh. After nearly exhausting his ammunition and foreseeing no means of escape, he shot himself in the head with his last bullet.
He used to fondly recite a Hindustani couplet, his only poetic composition:
‘Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge,
Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee rahenge’