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

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.