Chandra Shekhar Tiwari or Chandrashekhar Azad as he was lovingly known as was born on 23rd July, 1906 in Bhavra, Madhya Pradesh. He was the son of Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and his third wife Jagran Devi. His mother wanted him to be a great Snaskrit scholar and persuaded his father to send him to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 had rattled Azad to an extent that he believed in the usage of any means to get rid of the British and free his nation.
At the age of 15 while a student, Chandra Shekhar Azad joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. He was arrested for the same and was produced before the magistrate. This was the first time when asked he gave his name as Azad (free), his father’s name as Swatantrata (Independence) and declared jail as his home. Since that very day, the name Azad stuck with him. He was given a punishment of 15 whiplashes for his participation in Mahatma Gandhi’s movement. By 1922, Gandhi pulled the non cooperation movement citing the chauri chaura incident, this further angered him and his extremist approach to acquiring independence was further intensified.
Revolution in his Blood
After the non cooperation movement was pulled off, there was no stopping him. Chandra Shekhar Azad met Pranvesh Chatterji who introduced him to Ram Prasad Bismil who had founded the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). HRA was a revolutionary organisation that had the sole vision of a free India. Azad became an active part of HRA which later came to be known as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. His job was to collect funds for further utilization in revolutionary agenda of the group. The fund collection was mainly done through robberies and hijacking of government offices and treasures. The most famous amongst them was the Kakori train robbery of 1925 where Azad and his men looted the British treasures being transported near Lucknow on 7th August 1925. Chandra Shekhar Azad was a very firm logistics manager and kept a strict eye on every penny that was collected for HSRA. He believed that every penny should be spent for the country and not otherwise.
Ram Prasad Bismil and other important leaders of HRA were all arrested within an year of this incident leaving HRA in shambles. Azad then stepped up and reorganised HRA and renamed it as HSRA as mentioned earlier. It was during this time he met the likes of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and mentored them. The last major incident that he was a part of was the shooting of General Saunders in order to avenge the death of another freedom fighter, Lala Lajpat Rai. Lala Lajpat Rai had succumbed to his injuries whigh were sustained during the lathi charge while opposing Simon.
87 years ago on this very day of 27th February 1931, Azad along with an associate Sukhdev Raj was present at Alfred Park in Allahabad. He had been betrayed by one of his own. The police surrounded him and his associated from all sides. That was the day his habit of always carrying a mauser and ammunition came in handy. He opened fire on the forces and killed 3 policemen during the crossfire. He also helped Sukhdev escape. Chandra Shekhar Azad while he had taken the name also had taken an oath, ” Dushman Ki Goliyo Ka Samna Hum Karenge, Azad Hain, Azad Hi Rahenge” which means ” We will face the enemies bullets, we are free and are meant to be free.” He had vowed never to be captured alive and kept his promise by shooting himself when he was left with the last bullet. Such was his terror amongst the British that no one dared to go near his body after two hours of the shootout. Precautionary rounds were fired onto his dead body to confirm his death.
Unfortunately, the words of Jawaharlal Nehru in his biography terms Chandra Shekhar Azad’s actions as those of a terrorist. As far as being an Indian is considered Azad for any citizen of India was and will always be one of the bravest men to have been born of our soil. Being in power does not give anyone the right to belittle a hero’s contribution. Jai Hind
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