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Saturday, March 27, 2010



                                   Sukhdev Thapar (1907-1931)

Sukhdev Thapar was an extraordinary Indian freedom fighter who lived for less than 24 years from 15 May 1907 to March 23, 1931. He is best known as one who along with Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru participated with unsurpassed courage in the assassination of a British police officer J.P. Saunders in Lahore in December 1928 in order to take revenge against him for having caused the death of veteran national leader Lala Lajpat Rai following a brutal police lathi charge in Lahore in November 1928.

All the three young revolutionary heroes --- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru --- were hanged in Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931 in the evening at 7.33 PM against all known civilized norms of execution by hanging. The dead bodies were secretly taken away by breaking the back-side walls of the jail and were secretly burnt on the banks of River Satluj at Hussainiwala about 50 miles away from Lahore. The bodies were barbarously cut into pieces to accelerate the pace of completion of funeral formalities.


Sukhdev Thapar was born on May 15, 1907 in Naughara in Ludhiana. Ever since his childhood days, he had witnessed the brutal behaviour of British authorities towards the native Indians and grew up with a firm resolve and an earnest desire to set India free from British colonial domination. His ancestral house was in Naughara Mohalla of Ludhiana city, Punjab, India. His father's name was Ram Lal.

Early in his youth, Sukhdev became an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, and soon became one of its most senior leaders. He is known to have started study circles at National College, (Lahore) in order to delve deep into India's past as well as to scrutinize the finer aspects of the history of the world with focus on revolutionary freedom movements. Along with Bhagat Singh, Comrade Ram Chandra and Bhagwati Charan Vohra, he started the Naujawan Bharat Sabha at Lahore. The main aims of this organization were to attract and organize youth so as to make them fit for participation in our freedom struggle, by inculcating a rational scientific attitude.

Sukhdev was deeply and radically influenced by Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil (1897-1927, also hanged),


and Chandrashekhar Azad (1906-1931, shot dead while fighting) who were great revolutionaries. Sukhdev himself took an active part in several revolutionary activities like the 'Prison hunger strike' in Lahore Jail in 1929.


Sukhdev would always be remembered in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement for his daring and courageous attack on the British Police officer J.P. Saunders, at Lahore on 17th December, 1928. J.P Saunders was killed by Sukhdev and his colleagues on the same day. They mistook him for J A Scott, the Superintendent of Police who had ordered the savage lathicharge against Lala Lajpat Rai when he was leading the procession against the Simon Commission in November 1928.

I have presented above a copy of the historically very interesting notice issued by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army, belonging to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), on 18 December 1928.

Thanks to the Congress Party after independence and its advocacy of nervous and stupid non-violence only for the Hindus of India (Muslims of India alone have a separate Shariat Civil Code as per law, and a separate Informal Charter of Minority Civil Rights granting full State freedom to the Muslims to let loose unabashed violence against the Hindus of India), most people may not even be aware of the role played by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in the history of India’s freedom movement!!!

Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), known as the Hindustan Republican Association until 1928, was a revolutionary Indian organization which was committed to the philosophy of armed struggle in order to throw the British out of India.

The Non-cooperation movement of 1920 had resulted in the large scale mobilization of Indian population against the British rule. Though Gandhi intended it as a nonviolent resistance movement, it soon turned violent. After the Chauri Chaura incident on 22 February 1922, Gandhi “The Great Dictator” of the Congress suspended the Non-Cooperation Movement in protest against what he viewed essentially as an act of Hindu violence against the alien usurpers.

Gandhi always expected the Hindus to be cowards and wanted to see them behave that way in a meek and submissive manner, not responding effectively to any violation of their fundamental human rights by their alien British Colonial oppressors. Any behaviour to the contrary earned the wrath of the ever-moralizing Gandhi . Starting from the Khilafat Movement onwards from 1921, Gandhi extended this savage right of blatant violation of fundemental Hindu Human Rights to the Muslims of India as well for nearly 26 years till 1947! The suspension of the Non-Co-operation Movement in 1922 disillusioned the Hindu Nationalists who felt the suspension was premature and totally unwarranted and self-defeating. The political vacuum created by the suspension of the Non-Co-operation Movement led to the formation of revolutionary movements by the more radical elements amongst those who sought to overthrow British rule.

The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was established at a meeting in 1924, in the village of Bholachang, Brahamabaria subdivision, East Bengal. Present at the founding meeting were Pratul Ganguly, Narendra Mohan Sen and Sachindra Nath Sanyal. It emerged as an offshoot of the Anushilan Samiti. The name was suggestive of the violent Irish Republican Army. Sanyal, the leading light of the new movement, wrote the organisation's manifesto titled The Revolutionary.

The stated objective of the HRA was establishment of a “Federated Republic of the United States of India by an organised and armed revolution”. Armed struggle, terrorism and retaliatory strikes were the favored tactics in the attempt to defeat the British Empire. Its Manifesto declared

“The Official terrorism is surely to be met by counter terrorism. A spirit of utter helplessness pervades every strata of our society and terrorism is an effective means of restoring the proper spirits in the society...this revolutionary party has deliberately abstained itself from entering into this terrorist campaign at the present moment...because the party is waiting to deliver the final blow. But when expediency will demand it the Party will unhesitatingly enter into a desperate campaign of terrorism, when the life of every officer and individual helping the foreign government will be made intolerable ... The Indian revolutionaries are neither terrorists nor anarchists ... They do not believe terrorism alone can bring independence and do not want terrorism for terrorism's sake.”

We have to contrast the above words with the ever wicked words of Gandhi that Hindus are cowards and their revolutionary leaders are nothing short of terrorists! By the same token he held consistently that the Moplah marauders--murderers, armed dacoits, rapists--were all brave and fearless freedom fighters, apart from being exemplary men of Islamic compassion radiating the message of Islamic brotherhood.

From 1924 to 1925, the HRA grew in numbers with the influx of new members like Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Sukhdev and Ram Prasad Bismil. The Kakori train robbery was the first well known armed action against the State. On 9 August, 1925 the members of the group looted government money that was being transferred in a train. The Kakori conspiracy case led to the hanging of Ashfaqullah Khan, Ramprasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri. Sanyal and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Kakori arrests decimated the leadership of the HRA and dealt a major blow to its activities. Of the original conspirators, only Azad and Kundan Lal Gupta escaped. During this period the HRA splintered into various factions based in Kanpur, Lahore and Bengal. In 1927 a new group of revolutionaries like Jatindra nath Sanyal (brother of Sachindra), Phanindra Nath Ghosh and Bhirendra Nath Bhattacharjee emerged as active members. Ghosh was behind the attempted assassination of Rao Bahadur JN Banerjee in Benares in 1928. BN Bhattacharjee was the prime accused in the Deogarh Conspiracy Case.

In September 1928, the Lahore faction (Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev) and Kanpur faction (Azad, Kundan Lal Gugta) of the HRA merged with the Bengali revolutionary faction led by Phanindra Nath Ghosh to form the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association(HSRA). This amalgamation came into existence at a meeting of the various factions at Feroz Shah Kotla grounds in Delhi. Chandrashekhar Azad was appointed as the Commander-in-chief and Bhagat Singh placed in charge of ideology. The HSRA's Manifesto titled ‘Philosophy of the Bomb’ was written by Bhagawathi Charan Vohra.

Bhagawathi Charan Vohra

Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru were all whole time activists of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). The killing of J.P Saunders in December 1928 shook the very foundations of the British Government in India. As we have noted earlier above, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru were sentenced to death and later hanged in Lahore Jail on 23rd March 1931.


Sukhdev’s letter to Gandhi written just prior to his hanging, protesting against the latter's disapproval of revolutionary tactics, throws light on the vast differences in ideological perceptions between the political philosophy of Gandhi and that of the armed revolutionaries sacrificing their lives and fighting for the freedom of the people of India.

One traitor to the national cause called Hansraj Vohra --- the man who gave the clinching testimony that resulted in the hanging of the revolutionary trio --- later had the temerity to make a false claim that Sukhdev himself had turned an approver. If Sukhdev had indeed turned approver then why was he hanged at all? The traitor Vohra rats on the freedom fighter and martyr Sukhdev leading to the latter’s judicial murder and then calls him names! If only this traitor Hansraj Vohra were alive today, he would be an automatic choice for the Union Cabinet Ministership in the evangelical and anti-National Sonia Congress Government headed by a doormat Prime Minister!!!

The HSRA's methods were diametrically opposite to that of Gandhi's Nonviolent resistance movement. The revolutionaries and their methods were severely criticized by Gandhi. Responding to the attack on Lord Irwin's train on 23 December 1929, Gandhi wrote a harsh critique of the HSRA titled “The Cult of the Bomb” (Young India, 2 January 1930). In it he declared that bomb throwing was nothing but froth coming to the surface in an agitated liquid. He condemned the HSRA and it's actions as "cowards" and "dastardly". According to Gandhi, the HSRA's violent struggle had its hazards. Based on a wholly twisted and convoluted logic, Gandhi concluded that this kind of violence only led to more reprisals and suffering and it would turn inward as it was an easy natural step from violence done to the foreign ruler to violence to our own people. As an article of faith, Gandhi earnestly believed that only the British Government and the Muslims of India had all the authority and moral sanction in the world to let loose any kind of violence against the Hindus of India, whom he considered to be listless cowards! The HSRA responded to Gandhi’s criticism of violent methods to win freedom with its own Manifesto, ‘The Philosophy of the Bomb’, in which they defended their violent methods as being complementary to Gandhi's non violent methods. To conclude, Gandhi’s foolish and dictatorial insistence on undiluted non-violence had an emasculating impact upon the Hindu masses of India.

Let me now come to Shivaram Hari Rajguru (1908 - 1931) who was also hanged with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in Lahore Jail on 23 March 1931. It is a matter of deep anguish for me that I have not been successful in locating the photograph of Shivaram Hari Rajguru, a very great martyr.

Rajguru is best known as a revolutionary colleague of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in the act of revenge killing of a British police officer J.P. Saunders at Lahore on December 17, 1928. He was also a sharp and accurate shooter and was regarded as the gunman of HSRA.

When the police were looking for him after the killing of Saunders in December 1928, Rajguru escaped to Nagpur. There he was hiding in the house of a RSS worker where he met Dr. K. B. Hedgewar, the founder of RSS. But after some days he went to Pune and there he was arrested by the Police. He totally believed that violence against oppression of British Rule would be far more effective than the nonviolent ways of Mahatma Gandhi.

Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru was born in an average middle-class Hindu Brahmin family at Khed in Poona district on August 24, 1908. Khed was later renamed as Rajgurunagar in his honor. Rajguru came to Varanasi at a very early age where he learnt Sanskrit and read the Hindu religious scriptures. He had a good memory and learnt by heart the Laghu Siddhant Kaumudi. He had great admiration for Shivaji and his guerilla tactics.

At Varanasi, he came into contact with revolutionaries. He joined the movement and became an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (H.S.R.A). He was known in the party under the pseudonym of Raghunath. Rajguru was a man of fearless spirit and indomitable courage. The only object of his adoration and worship was his motherland for whose liberation he considered no sacrifice too great. He was a close associate of Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sardar Bhagat Singh and Jatin Das and his field of activity was U.P and Punjab, with Kanpur, Agra and Lahore as his headquarters.

After the murder of police officer Saunders in December 1928, Bhagat Singh was arrested in 1929 with the help of approvers Jai Gopal, Phanindra Nath and Hansraj Vohra. Rajguru was arrested at Poona on 30 September 1929 and a revolver with fourteen cartridges was recovered from him. The Government prosecuted him along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and 16 others and this case is known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case. Judgment was delivered in this case on 7 October 1930. Sardar Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to death and the other accused were awarded various terms of imprisonment. The whole nation was awakened by this inhuman judicial verdict and the names of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev became as popular as that of Mahatma Gandhi. Meetings, processions and representations were made with out any success for the commutation of their death sentence. Rajguru was hanged in Lahore Jail on 23 March 1931. At the time of his martyrdom, Rajguru was hardly twenty- three years of age.

I am presenting below a statement which would serve as a ready reckoner for those who are interested to know more about these selfless and fearless revolutionaries:

Sachindra Nath Sanyal Kakori train robbery (1926) Sentenced to life in Andaman Cellular Jail; Died in prison (1942)

Bhagat Singh JP Saunders assassination (1928),

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to Life in Assembly Bomb Case; Sentenced to death in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case; Hanged in 1931

Chandrashekar Azad Kakori train robbery(1926),

JP Saunders assassination (1928) Killed himself with his last bullet instead of surrendering in a shootout with police(1931)

Ram Prasad Bismil Kakori train robbery(1926) Sentenced to Death in Kakori Case, Hanged in 1927

Ashfaqullah Khan Kakori train robbery(1926) Sentenced to Death in Kakori Case, Hanged in 1927

Rajendra Lahiri Kakori train robbery(1926) Sentenced to Death in Kakori Case, Hanged in 1927

Roshan Singh Kakori train robbery(1926) Sentenced to Death in Kakori Case, Hanged in 1927

Shachindra Nath Bakshi Kakori train robbery(1926) Sentenced to Life in Kakori Case; Released in 1937

Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee

Kakori train robbery(1926)

Sentenced to Life in Kakori Case; Became a Member of Parliament after independence

Manmath Nath Gupta

Kakori train robbery(1926)

Sentenced to Life in Kakori Case; Became a journalist after independence

Govind Charan Kar

Kakori train robbery(1926)

Sentenced to Life in Kakori Case

Sukhdev Thapar

JP Saunders assassination (1928) Sentenced to death in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case; Hanged in 1931

Batukeshwar Dutt

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to Life in Central Assembly Bomb Case; Released in 1937

Bhagavathi Charan Vohra

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Killed in bomb blast (1930)

Kailash Pati

Gadodia Store Robbery (1929) Arrested in 1930. Turned Approver

Phanindra Nath Ghosh

Leader of Bengali faction Arrested in 1930. Turned Approver; Killed in retaliation (1931)


Viceroy train bombing (1929) Arrested in 1932. Sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment; Became a Award winning novelist

Jaidev Kapur

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to life in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case;

Sheo Varma

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to life in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case;

Bejoy Kumar Sinha

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to life in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case;

Gaya Prasad

Central Assembly bombing (1929) Sentenced to life in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case;

Lala Har Dayal (1884-1939)

These great revolutionaries had an unshakeable and indivisible faith in the moral power of the bomb. All of them derived their inspiration from the following immortal message of another great revolutionary Lala Har Dayal (1884-1939): “Who can describe the moral power of the bomb? It is concentrated moral dynamite. When the strong and cunning in the pride of their power parade their glory before their helpless victims, when the rich and naughty set themselves on a pedestal and ask their slaves to fall down before them and worship them, when the wicked ones on the Earth seem exalted to the sky and nothing appears to withstand their might, then in that dark hour, for the glory of humanity comes the bomb, which lays the tyrant in the dust. It tells all the cowering slaves that he who sits enthroned as God, is a mere man like them. Then, in that hour of shame, a bomb preaches the eternal truth of human equality and sends proud superiors and Viceroys from the palace and the howdah to the grave and the hospital. Then, in that tense moment, when human nature is ashamed of itself, the bomb declares the vanity of power and pomp and redeems us from our own baseness. HOW GREAT WE FEEL WHEN SOMEONE DOES THE HEROIC DEED? WE SHARE IN HIS MORAL POWER. WE REJOICE IN HIS ASSERTION OF HUMAN EQUALITY AND DIGNITY. (In his Yugantar Circular).”