Freedom Fighter Khudiram Bose: An Orphan at 7 to Hanging by British at Age 18
Ekbaar biday de ma ghure ashi
Hasi hasi porbo phnashi dekhbe bharatbasi…
Dosh mash dosh din pore
Jonmo nebo mashir ghore Ma go
Tokhon jodi na chinte paris
Dekhbi golay phnashi
Mother bid me farewell once, I will be back soon.
Whole of India will watch me While I wear the noose smiling….
10 months and 10 days from now
I shall be born to my maternal aunt O Mother
If you don’t recognize me
Look for the noose around my neck.
This was the song I grew up with, the haunting lines that fetched lumps in my throat, gave me goose bumps, and brought tears to my eyes. My father narrated to us siblings, neighbors, and relatives the valorous historical saga of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose and his martyrdom for Maa Bharti. The echo of this song is ingrained in my brain like the graphic outline of my heart’s movement! This was the song 18 year old Khudiram sang when he was about to be hanged to death by the British. He was asking his mother (Mother India) to bid him goodbye. This song was composed in first person narrative in honor of Khudiram Bose by Pitambar Das.
18 years, 8 months, 8 days! This was his age when he was hanged to death by the British. One of the youngest freedom fighters of Maa Bharti from Bengal! It is but unfortunate that stories of many of our brave freedom fighters have been wiped away from the pages of History, especially History text books.
About Khudiram Bose at a Glance
*Birthday: December 3, 1889
*Birthplace: Habibpur village under Keshpur Police Station in Midnapore district of Bengal
*Parents: Trailokyanath Bose and Lakshmipriya Devi
* Schooling: Tamluk Hamilton High School (established in 1852), the second oldest school in Midnapore (West Medinipur) and Midnapore Collegiate School.
Do you know Khudiram Bose was the only son of his parents? He had three sisters. Two elder brothers were born, but both of them died in toddlerhood. Soon after Khudiram was born, his parents followed a ritual that was believed to save a child from dying at an early age. They sold him symbolically to their eldest daughter Aparupa in exchange of three handfuls of khud (a form of crushed rice). And hence his name Khudiram!
An Orphan at 7
When Khudiram Bose was 6 years old, he lost his mother. A year later, i.e. at the age of 7, he lost his father. Symbolically, Aparupa Roy, his eldest sister, was his mother, as he was sold to her at birth. She was married to Amritalal Roy. The couple brought Khudiram Bose to their home at Hatgachha village in West Medinipur district. They brought him up as their own son.
Freedom Movement Activities from Age 13
At the age of 13, Khudiram Bose happened to attend the public lectures of Aurobindo Ghosh and Sister Nivedita in West Medinipur. It was the year 1902. Aurobindo Ghosh moved from place to place to instill the spirit of nationalism in the youth through lectures so that they rise to fight against the British and free Mother India. He helped establish a series of youth clubs in Bengal and other regions of India. One club worth mentioning was the Anushilan Samiti established in 1902. Khudiram Bose joined the Anushilan Samiti at the age of 13 and got involved in secret planning sessions directed towards attacking the British. Thereby, he came in touch with Barindra Kumar Ghosh, younger brother of Sri Aurobindo. He became a volunteer at the age of 15.
Do you know Khudiram Bose was first arrested by the British at the age of 15? He was arrested for distributing pamphlets against the British. In 1905, he planted bombs near police stations, targeting British government officials.
What Led to Khudiram Bose’s Martyrdom
Anushilan Samiti youth club had been actively involved in various patriotic activities. One was the club’s attempt of killing Douglas Kingsford, the Chief Magistrate of the Presidency court of Alipore. Kingsford had sentenced many young freedom fighters of the region with harsh punishments besides inflicting on them corporal punishment. He was famed for notoriety amongst the Indians but was in the good books of the British administration. Anushilan Samiti’s first attempt of assassinating Kingsford failed. Meanwhile, Kingsford was promoted to District Judge and transferred to Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were entrusted for another attempt to assassinate Douglas Kingsford in Muzaffarpur. To execute this task, the two arrived in Muzaffarpur. Hem Chandra Kanungo Das, who learnt the art of bomb making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile in Paris, provided them a bomb. This bomb, made by Hem, was composed of 6 ounces of dynamite, a detonator and a black powder fuse.
At Muzaffarpur, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki stayed in a dharamshala under the names of Haren Sarkar and Dinesh Chandra Roy respectively. For three weeks, they closely observed the routine activities of Douglas Kingsford. On the day of the execution, they surveyed the Muzaffarpur Park, disguised as school boys. This park was located opposite The British Club where Kingsford regularly visited. It was 29th April 1908. As they were noticed by a constable in suspicion, they chose the next day for the task.
A day later, i.e. on the dark night of 30th April, before the clock struck 9, Khudiram Bose threw the bomb at a carriage he believed to be carrying Kingsford. A loud explosion followed. The carriage, which looked similar to the one that carried Kingsford, was then right outside the British club. Unfortunately, it was occupied by the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy, a leading pleader of Muzaffarpur Bar. They later succumbed to their injuries.
In a little while, the entire city was in chaos and the news spread far and wide. Police were deployed everywhere and every passenger embarking or disembarking in railway stations in/near Muzaffarpur were thoroughly checked and interrogated.
Khudiram Bose parted ways with Prafulla Chaki and walked from one village to another non-stop barefooted the whole night. After walking for around 25 miles, he reached a station called Waini (later named Khudiram Bose Pusa Station) the next morning, i.e. on May 1, 1908. At the railway station, two constables saw an exhausted and perspiring Khudiram Bose asking for a glass of water at a tea stall. His extremely dusty feet further gave them reasons to suspect the more. They confronted him and arrested him. Do you know the two armed constables who arrested him were Indians working under British? Had they and many others employed by British sided for the cause of Mother India, History would have been different. Perhaps India would have gained independence much earlier!
Meanwhile, Prafulla Chaki was intercepted by the police too. Knowing that his arrest was for certain, he shot himself dead before he could be further questioned, jailed or sentenced by the British.
The handcuffed Khudiram Bose was brought to Muzaffarpur. He was unaware that Prafulla Chaki had attained martyrdom. Hence, when interrogated by district magistrate Mr. Woodman, he took complete responsibility of his actions. He didn’t give in to tortures when asked about the co-conspirators of the incident. Such was his love for the motherland at such a young age! After he gave his statement, the body of Prafulla Chaki was brought to the same spot. Khudiram’s effort to save his friend turned vain.
Khudiram Bose was eventually hanged to death on 11 August 1908. He died smiling, as reported by the Anandabazar Patrika. Salute to Bose and all brave sons and daughters of the soil who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Maa Bharati.
Key Source: midnapore.in
Featured image courtesy: Wikipedia.