Revolutionary Terrorism During the 1920s
Emergence of Revolutionary Terrorism during the 1920s
- The revolutionary terrorists were severely suppressed during World War I, with most of the leaders in jail or absconding.
- In order to create a more harmonious atmosphere for the Montague-Chelmsford reforms, the Government released most of them under a general amnesty in early 1920.
- Soon after, Non cooperation movement was launched.
- On persuasion of Gandhiji and other Leaders most of the revolutionary terrorists either joined the movement or suspended their own activities in order to give the movement a chance.
- But, the sudden withdrawal of Non-cooperation movement left most of them disillusioned.
- Many young people began to question the very basic strategy of the national leadership and its emphasis on non violence and began to look for alternatives.
- They were not attracted by the parliamentary politics of the Swarajists or the patient and undramatic constructive work of the no-changers.
- Many were drawn to the idea that violent methods alone would free India.
- Revolutionary terrorism again became attractive.
- Nearly all major new leaders of the revolutionary politics like Surya Sen, Jatin Das, Azad, Bhagat Singh etc. had been enthusiastic participants in the non-violent Non-Cooperation Movement.
- Gradually two separate strands of revolutionary terrorism developed — one in Punjab, U.P. and Bihar and the other in Bengal.
- The upsurge of working class trade unionism after the war
- Russian Revolution and the success of the young Socialist State in consolidating itself
- the newly sprouting Communist groups with their emphasis on Marxism and Socialism
- Novel and Books such as Bandi Jiwan by Sachin Sanyal and Pather Dabi by Sharatchandra
- Journals publishing memoirs and articles glorifying the self-sacrifice of revolutionaries
Revolutionary Terrorism in Punjab-UP-Bihar
- The revolutionary terrorist activity in this region was dominated by the Hindustan Republican Association/Army or HRA (Later renamed Hindustan Socialist Republican Association or HSRA)
- The HRA was founded in October 1924 in Kanpur by Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee and Sachin Sanyal
- Its aim was to organise an armed revolution to overthrow the colonial government and
- To establish in its place a Federal Republic of United States of India whose basic principle would be adult franchise
Kakori Robbery (August 1925)
- The most important “action” of the HRA was the Kakori train robbery.
- The men held up the 8-Down train at Kakori, an obscure village near Lucknow, and looted its official railway cash.
- Government crackdown after the Kakori robbery led to arrests of many, Of whom 17 were jailed, four transported for life and four— Bismil, Ashfaqullah, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri—were hanged.
- Kakori proved to be a setback.
Saunders’ Murder (Lahore, December 1928)
- The, death of Lala Lajpat Rai due to lathi blows received during a lathi-charge on an anti-Simon Commission procession (October 1928) angered the revolutionaries who were beginning to move away from individual heroic action
- Once again they resorted to individual assassination
- Consequently, Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguru shot dead Saunders, the police official responsible for the lathicharge in Lahore.
- The HSRA leadership now decided to let the people know about its changed objectives and the need for a revolution by the masses.
- Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were asked to throw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly on April 8, 1929 against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and Trade Disputes Bill
- The bombs had been deliberately made harmless and were aimed at making ‘the deaf hear’.
- The objective was to get arrested and to use the trial court as a forum for propaganda so that people would become familiar with their movement and ideology.
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were tried in the Lahore conspiracy case.
- Many other revolutionaries were tried in several other cases
- In jail, these revolutionaries protested against the horrible conditions through a fast, and demanded honourable and decent treatment as political prisoners.
- Jatin Das became the first martyr on the 64th day of his fast.
- Azad was killed in a police encounter in a park in Allahabad in February 1931.
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on March 23, 1931.
Revolutionary Terrorism in Bengal
- During the 1920s, many revolutionary groups reorganized their underground activities, while many continued working under congress
- Many cooperated with C. R. Das in his Swarajist work.
- After Das’s death (1925), the Bengal Congress broke up into two factions
- One led by J. M. Sengupta (Anushilan group joined forces with him) and the other led by Subhash Bose (Yugantar group backed him)
- Actions of the reorganised groups included an assassination attempt on the notorious Calcutta Police Commissioner, Charles Tegart (another man named Day got killed) by Gopinath Saha in 1924.
- Government, armed with a new ordinance, came down heavily on revolutionaries.
- Many including Subhash Bose were arrested. Gopinath Saha was hanged.
Chittagong Armoury Raid (April 1930)
- Surya Sen decided to organise an armed rebellion along with his associates to show that it was possible to challenge the armed might of the mighty British Empire.
- They had planned to occupy two main armouries in Chittagong to seize and supply arms to the revolutionaries,
- They also aimed to destroy telephone and telegraph lines and to dislocate the railway link of Chittagong with the rest of Bengal.
- The raid was conducted in April 1930 and involved 65 activists under the banner of Indian Republican Army— Chittagong Branch.
- The raid was quite successful; Sen hoisted the national flag, took salute and proclaimed a provisional revolutionary government.
- Later, they dispersed into neighbouring villages and raided government targets.
- Surya Sen was arrested in February 1933 and hanged in January 1934
- But, the Chittagong raid fired the imagination of the revolutionary-minded youth and recruits poured into the revolutionary terrorist groups in a steady stream.
Participation of Women in Revolutionary Terrorism in Bengal
- There was a large scale participation of women especially under Surya Sen
- These women provided shelter, carried messages and fought with guns in hand
- Prominent women revolutionaries in Bengal during this phase included:-
- Pritilata Waddedar who died while conducting a raid
- Kalpana Dutt who was arrested and tried along with Surya Sen and given a life sentence
- Shanti Ghosh and Suniti Chanderi, school girls of Comilla, who shot dead the district magistrate (December 1931)
- Bina Das who fired point blank at the governor while receiving her degree at the convocation (February, 1932)
- There was panic at first and then severe government repression
- Armed with 20 repressive Acts, the government let loose the police on the revolutionaries
- In, Chittagong, several villages were burned and punitive fines imposed on many others
- In1933, Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested for sedition and given two years sentence because he had condemned imperialism and praised the heroism of the revolutionaries.
|Montague-Chalmers Reforms and Government of India Act, 1919||Gandhi-Irwin Pact|
|Rowaltt Act||Evaluation of Civil Disobedience Movement|
|Emergence of Gandhi||Karachi Congress Session—1931|
|Gandhi in India||Second RTC and Second Civil Disobedience Movement|
|Gains from Champaran, Ahmadabad and kheda||Communal Award and Poona Pact|
|Satyagraha Against the Rowlatt Act - First Mass Strike||Gandhi’s Harijan Campaign|
|Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 13,1919)||Strategic Debate|
|Khilafat and Non - Cooperation Movement||The First Stage Debate|
|Swarajists and No-Changers||Government of India Act, 1935|
|Revolutionary Terrorism During the 1920s||The Second Stage Debate|
|Growth of Communalism||28 Months of Congress Rule in Provinces|
|Anti-Simon Commission Upsurge||Freedom Struggle in the Princely states|
|Nehru Report||Role of Women in the Indian nationalist Movement|
|Civil Disobedience Movement||Role of Indian Capitalists in the National Movement|
|First Round Table Conference (November 1930-January 1931)|