The 63 Day Fast of Freedom Fighter Jatin Das at Lahore Jail
Jatin Das
The sixty-three day fast of Jatin Das, also known as Jatindra Nath Das, at Lahore Jail was the talk of the town. The fasting commenced on 13.07.29. Doctors saw blood oozing on 20th. On 25th, forcible feeding started amidst stiff and successful resistance.
He was tied to bed as doctors inserted long rubber pipes through his nostrils. The pipes travelled all the way to the stomach as doctors forcefully tried pumping milk. Das was coughing repeatedly in a successful attempt to thwart the effort. Then they inserted a much larger tube through his mouth. This time he held his breath and went unconscious, forcing the doctors to retreat. His conscience prevented him from accepting even a drop of water.
On 26th July, he developed pneumonia. The health condition of Jatin Das became extremely critical on 31st and weight fell from 132 to 112 lbs.
Fifth August onwards, he became immobile, even in bed. On the tenth of September, the authorities decided to call his family. After a couple of days, he called it quits.
The funeral procession of Jatin Das was no less talked about. News of his passing away spread like wildfire. He was at that time recognized as one of the greatest martyr and unprecedented scenes were witnessed at almost all the railway stations, right from Lahore to Howrah. The compartment carrying him was easily identifiable at the sight of a big black flag. Mr JM Sengputa, Lord Mayor of Calcutta then, Subhas Bose, Dr PC Ray and others entered the compartment first to pay their tributes.
A procession was then formed and the coffin was shouldered by students of Bangabasi college and headed by the Bengal Volunteer Guards playing the Dead March all the time. The coffin now proceeded towards the Howrah Town Hall via Buckland Bridge.
Exactly at quarter past seven amidst deafening sounds of Bande Mataram and Veer Jatindranath ki Jai, the mortal remains were lifted by students, leaders and host of dignitaries and reached the cremation ghat after six hours. All through several placards bearing the mottoes ‘You are the modern Dadichi’, ‘Jatin – the Martyr’, etc. were hung on doors and trees. Ladies numbering around a thousand squatted on the staircase of the Calcutta University as the body passed by. Many Europeans en route took off their hats as a mark of respect.
The procession reached the Corporation building at 10.30 AM where the Corporation officials laid wreaths on the bier. And as the procession entered his locality, Bhawanipore, not a single shop was found open.
The dead body with due respects was placed on the Keoratala Ghat and Subhas Chandra Bose representing the Bengal Volunteers did most of the honours along with brother Kiran Das who set fire to the pyre.
According to Jatin’s last wish, his remains were cremated by the side of his mother and sister.
Asked why he refused to perform the funeral rights, father Bankim Babu said, “I don’t want to see Jatindra’s face which I am told it has been somewhat disfigured. I should like to remember for the few days that is left to me, the smiling face with which he left me at the time of going to Lahore.”
This followed a chorus of condolences.
Mary Macswiney of the Irish Terrance Mcswiney family wrote, “Family of Terrance Mcswiney unites patriotic India in grief and pride on death of Jatin Das. Freedom will come”.
Eamon De Valera, the champion of Irish Freedom had the following cable gram sent to the Mayor, “Jatin Das has not died in vain. He is the Indian Macswiney. Freedom is Certain”.
Mohandas Gandhi: “I preferred to be silent over Jatindra Nath Das’s selfimmolation because any expression of my opinion at this juncture is likely to do more harm than good to the country’s cause.”
Jatin Das bid adieu to this world on 13th September in 1929 after successfully defending a sixty-three hunger strike.
Freedom fighter Jatin Das was a member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, an organization that gave shape to many freedom struggle activities. He was actively involved to drive the British out of India for which he was imprisoned for several times. He also learned how to make bombs. In 1929, he was caught and tried under the supplementary Lahore Conspiracy Case. It was a series of trials held in Lahore in the aftermath of the Ghadar Mutiny. 
Fasting for achieving the ultimate is a well laid out process that has stood the test of time. Two of the notable fasters in our country go by the name of M K Gandhi and Anna Hazare. In every occasion however they willingly broke their fast. But Jatin Das did not. Freedom fighter Jatin Das fasted unto death. 
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Parthiv Dhar

Parthiv Dhar is a passionate Netaji follower, based at Guwahati. He often researches and writes on Netaji. He works for Indian Oil Corp Limited.
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