Remembering Khudiram Bose, the ‘terrorist’ who ignited India’s freedom struggle

The teenage revolutionary who threw the first bomb against the British, and went to the gallows.

 |  3-minute read |   11-08-2016
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Just sacrificing one's life doesn't leave the message of greatness.

The cause of the sacrifice matters a lot in any context. History shows that this "cause" acts as the benchmark for deciding villains and heroes.

Multiple episodes of the Indian freedom movement have offered us a chilling glimpse into the sagas of valiant heroes who risked their lives for the cause of freedom.

The month of August, every year, reminds me about a young hero who had ignited the fiery age of India's freedom movement.

The young Bengali revolutionary, named Khudiram Bose, sacrificed his life at the altar of his motherland for a great cause.

At the time of hanging, on August 11, 1908, he was just 18 years, seven months and 11 days old. So what inspired him to give up his life at this tender age?

khudiram-bose-embed_081116020306.jpg At the time of hanging, on August 11, 1908, Khudiram Bose was just 18 years, seven months and 11 days old.

It was never a misadventure of an immature boy caught in the imaginations of a revolution.

The quest for freedom and the desire to release his fellow humans from the clutches of imperialism made Khudiram a hero.

For history, he may be the "terrorist" who had thrown the first bomb against the British in India.

The theory of political evolution makes it clear that the act of violence is totally relative, it may be good or bad; the political and social circumstances define its character, hence the so-called terrorists of British India are not villains for us, but real heroes who practised violence to suppress the unjust act of violence.

The undiluted dedication Khudiram showed to save his motherland made him one of the early posterchilds of nationalism.

He embraced the gallows with the Bhagavad Gita in his hands and Vande Mataram on his lips, making him the hero of pure nationalists, electrifying their thoughts.

Also read: 'Revolutionary', not 'terrorist' Bhagat Singh scares the right-wing

West Bengal, the breeding ground of aggressive nationalists during the freedom movement, gave us Khudiram on December 3, 1889.  

The boy from Habibpur village in the state's Midnapore district was shaped by the thoughts of Aurobindo Ghosh, Sister Nivedita, and eminent nationalist teacher Satyendranath Bose.

Sister Nivedita's public lectures on Hindu nationalism had a profound impact on young Khudiram, helped in realising the virtue of his motherland and the immediate need to fight the British.

This brought him to Jugantar, a secret revolutionary organisation in Bengal which tried to unleash the power of youth in the struggle for a free India.

The Muzaffarpur killing

Khudiram quickly acquired the skills required to make and plant bombs in his teenage days. The incident that made him a boy-martyr took place on the evening of April 30, 1908.

Khudiram, along with another revolutionary Prafulla Chaki, decided to kill Kingsford, the magistrate of Muzaffarpur, in Bihar, who was notorious for taking inhuman measures to curb the activities of young revolutionaries.

They hurled bombs at the carriage of Kingsford, but instead of the magistrate, the carriage was occupied by the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy, a leading pleader of Muzaffarpur Bar. Both were killed in the explosion.

Also read: How 275 years ago an Indian prince defeated the Dutch East India Company

Even though Khudiram failed to hit the target, his ground-breaking attempt, along with Chaki, marked the beginning of Agni-Yuga or the fiery age, an era of armed revolution against the British in India.

After a historical trial which started on May 21, 1908, the court pronounced the death sentence for Khudiram.

On August 11, 1908, the young boy went to the gallows in a peaceful manner by praising his motherland.

There is power in self-sacrifice. Khudiram's great saga motivated thousands of teens to offer their lives for the India's future generations.


Dipin Damodharan Dipin Damodharan @dipinbharath

The writer is co-founder of EduQuest and Ex-Editorial Head, DC Media, DC Books.

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