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Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna: Remembering the firebrand revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil

By Deepika
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    In the history of India's struggle for freedom, the revolutionary movement which gained momentum during the 1920's has a very special place. Brave young men openly revolted against the British rule with no fear whatsoever of being sent to the gallows. These young men shook the consciousness of the nation and in way awakened the senses of those who used to think that fighting for freedom was meant only for revolutionaries. Among them, the name of Ram Prasad Bismil has a very special place.

    Ram Prasad Bismil

    Born on 11 June 1897 in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Ram Prasad Bismil was a brave revolutionary who gave up his life smilingly for the sake of the Motherland.

    He was persecuted by an enraged British government, hunted by the police and betrayed by follow workers.

    And yet he lit the fire of revolution to push India on the road to freedom. He led the famous Kakori rail dacoity conspiracy. His poetry is also a lamp lighted at the altar of Motherland.

    Bismil has inspired many by his bravery and poems. He was the founding member of 'Hindustan Republican Association' which had popular revolutionary members like Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan and Bhagat Singh.

    The organisation's name was later changed to 'Hindustan Socialist Republican Association' in 1928 as Bhagat Singh gained more influence.

    Bismil is the man who popularized these immortal lines:

    "Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai, dekhna ki zor kitna
    baazu-e-qatil mein hai"

    ( The desire for revolution is in our hearts, we shall see how much
    strength lies in the arms of the murderer").

    Kakori conspiracy

    Bismil executed a meticulous plan for looting the government treasury carried in a train at Kakori, near Lucknow in U.P. This historical event happened on 9 August 1925 and is known as the Kakori conspiracy.

    Ten revolutionaries stopped the 8 Down Saharanpur-Lucknow passenger train at Kakori - a station just before the Lucknow Railway Junction. German-made Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistols were used in this action.

    Ashfaqulla Khan, the lieutenant of the HRA Chief Ram Prasad Bismil gave away his Mauser to Manmath Nath Gupta and engaged himself to break open the cash chest.

    The idea behind the Kakori conspiracy was securing money belonging to the government. Later, it was accepted and the Kakori conspiracy took place.

    There was no bloodshed, except for one passenger killed accidentally.

    Soon the government cracked down on the Kakori conspirators, and arrest warrants were issued. While Chandrasekhar Azad managed to evade the crackdown, Ram Prasad was arrested along with Ashfaqullah Khan, his close associate.

    After a long trial that lasted for a year-and-a-half, Ram Prasad, along with Ashfaqullah, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri were sentenced to death. In spite of massive public outcry against the sentence and appeals from many Congress leaders, the government did not relent.

    It was during his stay in prison that Ram Prasad wrote his autobiography, which is considered one of the finest works in Hindi literature.

    'Bismil' was his pen name and his poems were often imbibed with revolutionary fervour and spirit.

    A fact about Bismil many do not know is that he had written an autobiography while he was in Gorakhpur prison. He completed it just two days before he was executed. It was published by renowned journalist Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1928.

    Oh Lord! Thy will be done. You are unique. Neither my tears nor I will endure. Grant me this boon, that to my last breath and the last drop of my blood, I may think of you and be immersed in your work.

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