Skip to main content

Recalling Hindu-Muslim martyrdom of December 19, 1927 in times of CAA, NRC

By Shamsul Islam*
The Kakori conspiracy (or Kakori train robbery or Kakori case) was a train robbery that took place between Kakori and, near Lucknow, on 9 august 1925. This 'robbery' was organised by the Hindustan Republican Association (later was named as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association). It was executed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rrajendra Lahiri, Roshan Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sachindra Bakshi, Keshab Chakravarty, Manmathnath Gupta, Murari Lal Gupta, Mukundi Lal and Banwari Lal.
The British rulers secured the death penalty for Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rrajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh courtesy a kangaroo court trial on July 18, 1927. Three of them, Roshan Singh (at Naini Jail, Allahabad), Ashfaqullah Khan (at Faizabad Jail) and Ram Prasad Bismil (at Gorakhpur Jail) were hanged on the same day, December 19,1927. Rajendra Lahiri was hanged at Gonda Jail on December 17, 1927, two days before the scheduled date.
The British government and its Indian lackeys propagated that these martyrs and their comrades who took possession of the British Government treasury being transported in Kakori Mail, near Kakori on August 9, 1925 were simply romantic, hot-headed, adventure loving young men who loved guns and fire-arms. They were referred to as terrorists. It is far from truth.
On the contrary, these revolutionaries were highly politicized and aware of the fact that the goal of overthrowing the British imperialist rule in India could not be achieved till the people of India discarding their religious bickering did not unite. They were led by a genuine urge to liberate India from the repressive colonial rule but with mass involvement. Unfortunately, generations after Independence, we remain ignorant of their writings and ideological stands.
Let's know what the contemporary documents tell us about these young men who laid down their lives for the liberation of India.

British treasury robbed for establishing printing press for literature

This revolutionary group waylaid the British government treasury at Kakori and captured the same not for purchasing/manufacturing arms and ammunition but for publishing socialist literature to be circulated among youth, peasantry and workers so that they are politicized and rise in revolt. It shows this group had passed the stage of terrorism and matured into a revolutionary political group which believed in involving larger masses in the struggle to overthrow British rule.
They knew that to overthrow the British rule was a serious task and needed ideological clarity. With this aim they worked tirelessly and formed Hindustan Republican Association/Army (HRA) whose manifesto 'Revolutionary' was produced as a proof by the prosecution in the Kakori Case.
Even after the martyrdom of these revolutionaries in 1927, other revolutionary leaders like Bhagat Singh and Chandershekhar Azad continued with this effort. The conversion of HRA into Hindustan Socialist Republican Army in a secret meeting at Ferozshah Kotla on September 8-9, 1928 gave a clear-cut Communist direction to the revolutionary movement.
Ashfaqullah Khan's message  expressed collective opinion regarding game communal forces in league with British masters
In fact this direction was quite notable in Ashfaqullah Khan's ‘Message to Countrymen’ which he smuggled out of Faizabad Jail few days prior to his martyrdom on December 19, 1927. He made his socialist commitment very clear when addressing to the Communists of India he wrote:
“I am greatly in agreement with you and want to tell you that my heart always weeps for the poor peasants and helpless workers. While on the run I stayed with them and after seeing their condition I often wept…This is absolutely true that whatever they grow or produce, they have no share, they always remain sad and in bad shape. I do agree that for all these things our white Masters and their agents are responsible…
“I have deep regards for you in my heart and while dying, I fully agree with your political aims. I want that kind of freedom for Hindustan where poor should live happily and with ease. I pray to God that after my death, that day should come at the earliest when Abdullah mechanic of loco workshop, Dhaniya cobbler and common peasants are seen sitting on chairs in front of Mr. Khaliq-uz-Zaman, Jagat Narain Mulla and Raja Saheb Mehmoodabad in Lucknow’s Chhaatter Manzil.
“My comrades, my revolutionary brothers—what I can tell you and what I can write to you, it will be a matter of great pride to you when you will hear that one of your brothers went to the gallows smiling and was happy while dying. I know very well about the spirit which your group has and I was proud of it, and now I am more proud that I am dying as a true revolutionary.”

Dividing people on religious lines

The Kakori martyrs were highly concerned about the damage communal polarization was going to cause to the anti-British struggle. It was their firm opinion that communal divide will only help the British rulers. Ashfaqullah Khan's Message to Countrymen, in fact, expressed their collective opinion regarding the game communal forces were playing in league with the British masters, he wrote:
“Oh! How can we appreciate the present day life when our political leadership is going through internal strife? If one is fond of Tableegh (the propagation of Islam) the other believes that dying for Shuddhi only will lead to emancipation. Government secret service agents finance the spread of religious propaganda. Their aim is not to defend religion or help it to flourish but to create obstacles in the path of the moving train (of the freedom struggle).”
While pouring out his heart for his countrymen both Hindus and Muslims he went on to warn them:
“Brothers! Your civil war, your internal bickering will not be useful for any of you. This is impossible that 7 crores Muslims can be converted to Hinduism (through Shuddhi) and likewise it is futile to believe that 22 crores Hindus can be turned into Muslims. However, (if they continue fighting with each other) it is easy and very easy that all of them together will continue to be in chains.”
The Kakori martyrs belonging to different religions and regions expressed these words of wisdom when foreign rulers had India under their iron heel. They could rule India by putting one religious community against the other; institutionalized as divide and rule.
Sadly, almost seven decades after the birth of a democratic-secular India, the polity has been taken over by RSS/BJP rulers who are using every evil tool in the armoury of the Hindutva fascism to divide India on religious lines. The new Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) and war cries for introducing National Register of Citizens (NRC) will put to shame even the British masters who ruled India once. 
All those who want to save India from the Hindutva juggernaut must come out on streets, holding photographs of these martyrs in hands and their words of caution and unity on the lips.
---
*Formerly with Delhi University, Prof Islam's writings and video interviews/debates can be accessed here. Twitter: @shamsforjustice. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/. Contact: notoinjustice@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.