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Indian Freedom Struggle: Revolutionaries That Lacked Mass Base And Relied On Individual Acts Of Heroism

Some instances where revolutionaries were mostly based on individual acts of heroism

The growth of revolutionary terrorism in Indian politics throughout the first decade of the twentieth century was accompanied by strong involvement from extremists within the Congress. The revolutionaries were more concerned with getting things done quickly than with the efficacy of persuasion. The revolutionary terrorists wanted to depose the British from power in India. They were influenced by Irish terrorists and Russian nihilists, and adopted their strategy of trying to assassinate corrupted and despised authorities.

They also participated in Swadeshi dacoities to raise revenue for the procurement of weaponry and other items. The revolutionary terrorists were active in Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, and other parts of India, as well as in other nations. Many terrorist youth secret groups arose as a result of this.

The Bhadralok class is credited with starting revolutionary activity in Bengal. Pramotha Mitra in Calcutta and Pulin Das in Dacca founded secret societies such as the Anushilan Samiti. Similar societies included the Swadeshi Bandana and the Sadhana Samaj.

B.Ghose and Bhupindra Nath Datta founded Yugantar, a weekly, in 1908. In 1908, Bengal revolutionaries Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki detonated explosives on the wagon of Kingsford, a despised Muzzafarpur magistrate.

The Chapekar brothers, Damodarand Balkrishna, executed the first political assassination of a European in Maharashtra, at Poona. V.D. Savarkar founded the Mitra Mala in 1904, which subsequently evolved into the Abhinav Bharat, a secret organisation modelled after Mazzini's Young Italy.

Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh spearheaded the revolutionary struggle in Punjab. Rash Behari Bose and Sachindranath Sanyal detonated a bomb upon an English official.[1]

The Ghadar Revolution

Sohan Singh Bhakna formed the Ghadar Movement in the United States, which Hardayal acknowledged. Rehmat Ali Shah, Mohammed Barkatullah, Ram Chandra, Bhai Paramanand, and others were among its important leaders. It published a weekly named Ghadar with the aim of getting an armed insurrection to India.[2]

The Ghadar party, led by Lala Hardayal, operated out of Germany and established an Indian Independence Committee in Berlin. The Committee intended to mobilize Indian residents overseas, deploy troops to India to encourage revolt among the army, supply improvised explosives to Indian revolutionaries, and even prepare an expedition of British India to free the nation.

In response to the revolutionaries' efforts, the authorities took harsh steps against them. Many laws were created to put a stop to the revolutionaries' actions.[3]

Revolutionary Militants

The rise of militant nationalism in India resulted in the emergence of revolutionary terrorism as a corollary. As a result of the Swadeshi and boycott movements, it took on a more activist tone. In 1902, Jnanendranath Basu established the very first revolutionary organisations in Midnapore, and Promotha Mitter and Barindra Kumar Ghosh created the Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta.

The revolutionaries used many ways to spread revolutionary ideals, such as forming secret organisations in India and overseas, publishing pamphlets, books, and magazines, organizing military conspiracies, assassinating tyrannical and unpopular leaders, and so on. In Muzaffarnagar, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose tossed an explosive at a wagon transporting Judge Kingsford in 1908.

Barrah Dacoity was founded in 1908 by Dacca Anushilan and Pulin Das. In 1912, Vicerory Hardinge was the target of a sensational explosives attack planned by Rasbehari Bose and Sachin Sanyal. The Chapekar Bros, Damodar and Balkrishna, assassinated the Poona plague commissioner, Rand, and one Lt. Ayerst in the state of Maharashtra in the year 1897. Mitra Mela, a secret club founded by Savarkar and his brother in 1899, amalgamated with Abhinav Bharat in the year 1904. Curzon Wyllie was killed by Madan Lai Dhingra in 1909.

It was in the year 1915, while the first world war was still going on, that a committee known as Berlin committee for the purpose of Indian Independence was established by Virendranath Chattopadhyay and others including Hardayal. Bhaga Jatin was a Bengali rebel who was killed in a battle in Balasore. It was only after the noncooperation movement withdrew abruptly, that the revolutionary terrorism was resurrected.

Revolution that took place in Russia in the year 1917 along with the journals like Atmasakti and Bijoli, including books and novels such as PatherDabi authored by Sarat Chandra and Bandi Jivan authored by Sachin Sanyal were something that greatly influenced Indian revolutionaries.

In the year 1924, Sachin Sanyal, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, established an arrmy known as Hindustan Republican Army (HRA) in Kanpur to plan an armed revolt to topple the colonial administration. The main activity of HRA was indeed the Kakori Robbery, where legitimate railway revenue was stolen.[4]

In the year 1928, Chandrasekhar Azad organized a Hindustan Socialist Republican association at Delhi. And in December of that same year, Bhagat Singh along with Rajguru and Azad shot a police official named Saunders for issuing Lathi charge on their freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai in the city of Lahore.

Since a bill for Public safety and Commercial disputes were about to be launched in the central assembly in the year 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were called upon to launch an explosive on the central assembly for preventing them from passing the legislative bill. While Azad was assassinated at an Allahabad Police meeting held in February of 1931, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were executed by hanging on 23rd of March, 1931. [5]

Strategies utilized by the revolutionaries:
  • They revolutionaries aimed at terrorizing the authorities and wished to Assassinate British officers they believed were extremely exploitative
  • They worked to spread the Patriotic sentiments among the masses.
  • One of their objective was to encourage youths and adolescent people for bravery and inspire them to be heroes who fight for the country.
  • And eliminate the dread of the British Government from the hearts and minds of people of India.
  • Though, they originally emphasized individual acts of bravery they subsequently saw the prospect of mass revolution.[6]

Reasons for failure of the revolutionaries:
  • The revolutionaries were mostly from the urban middle class, who were disconnected from the peasants and labourers. The revolutionaries did not succeed in mobilizing the common masses and failed to motivate the people. In reality, they had no support among the general public. Individual heroism was something they believed in. The revolutionaries were unable to achieve their goals and earn the favour of India's common folk, and this became one of the main reason behind untimely and inevitable fall.
  • They lacked sufficient and necessary unified strategy and centralized command, while the he British administration pursued them with a vicious and oppressive tactics to suppress their revolutionary movements.
  • Gandhiji's innovative non-violent and peaceful campaign was much more widespread and efficient than others.
  • The revolutionary movement of the revolutionaries did not succeed in achieving its goal of freedom and independent nation. The revolutionary campaign in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar happened to come to an abrupt end with the killing of Chandrasekhar Azad in a gunfire incident in a common park in Allahabad in the month February 1931.
  • The martyrdom of Surya Sen also sealed the fate and marked the end of terrorist activity in the state of Bengal.[7
  • The revolutionaries did not even attempt to mobilize a large armed revolt in their stages of commencing revolutionary movements.
  • They emphasized on specific acts of bravery and aimed at liberating the nation through such acts.
  • As they were disorganised, they lacked an effective communication to appropriately manage amongst all the leaders.
  • Their actions were inspired by Russian nihilists who were only interested in short-term gains. This was intended to induce fright in the minds of British people, but it did not succeed in instilling nationalism.
  • Because their approach and indoctrination were restricted, they were unable to gain widespread support and backing.
  • Their actions had a religious aspect to them, and they regularly evoked religious oaths.
  • They reflected youth dissatisfaction with the inactive operations of significant political parties such as the Indian National Congress and Muslim League.
  • They instilled the notion of fighting the British with arms.[8]
  • Tilak's thoughts and tactics influenced early revolutionary movement greatly. Tilak had previously initiated the Shivaji and Ganesh festivals as a strategy to bring the elite and the uneducated masses closer together. Tilak positioned himself as a defender of Hindus religious practices, and through his publications, he expressed vocal encouragement for revolutionary activists. Aurobindo invited him to Bengal in 1906 to commemorate the Shivaji celebration, which was tied to the Bhawani worship. Thus, in the formative days of the motion, the utilization of Hindu imperialist ideology, Hindu vernacular, religious symbols, and ceremonies repelled Muslims and prevented them from joining in revolutionary movements.

The British's severe and brutal actions upon India's commanders were too much for the revolutionary movement to withstand. Furthermore, their employment of violence as a political apparatus justified the British to respond back by committing even more violence. Nonetheless, rebels like Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen, Chandrasekhar Azad, and thousands of all others won unrivalled reputation among the people as a result of their noble and heroic sacrifice. Though some might criticize their methods for achieving national liberation, but no one can question or criticize their aims.[9]

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Amartya Shivam

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