India@75 | Young freedom fighters of India

Portrait of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose

Paying respect to all the fearless spirits whose courage and bravery led us to what this country is today, Democratic and Independent. Here are the unheard stories of young freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives fighting the British.

Khudiram Bose

Portrait of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose

Born on the 3rd of December, Khudiram Bose lost his parents at a young age. Inspired by the speeches of Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita, he became a volunteer in the freedom movement when he was fifteen. Bose first got arrested for distributing pamphlets against British Rule in India. A year later, he indulged in revolutionary activities by planting bombs in police stations and targeting government officials. Douglas H Kingsford, the chief presidency magistrate of Calcutta, known for his harsh treatment of freedom fighters, became a target for assassination.

Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Kumar Chaki were appointed to carry out the mission. The plan was etched to bomb the carriage carrying Kingsford. However, the wife and daughter of a barrister were in the carriage. Kingsford escaped the attack, and the police were in search of the two men. Prafulla committed suicide before getting caught. However, Khudiram got arrested at a station named Waini. After trials and hearings, Bose was sentenced to death and martyred at the age of 18.

Kanaklata Barua

Portrait of freedom fighter Kanaklata Barua

Shaheed and Birbala, meaning martyr and brave woman, were the titles given to her.

A small girl from Assam, born on 22nd December, belonged to a conservative family called ‘Dolakasharia’. She lost her mother at a tender age and later her father too. Taken care of by her stepmother and growing up with her sisters and step-siblings, she bore responsibilities in her teen years. Meanwhile, in the country, the Quit India movement was gaining momentum. She was determined to join. Though her grandfather was against it, she convinced her stepmother and joined the revolutionaries. She led the members of 'Mrityu Bahini', a peaceful mission to hoist the Indian flag at the Gohpur police station. As the march approached the station, though warned by the officer-in-charge to stop,  Rebati Mahan Som, Kanklata, who was eighteen years old, was shot as she continued to march.

Hemu Kalani

Portrait of freedom fighter Hemu Kalani

On the 23rd, Hemu was born to a Sindhi family. Hemu took after his uncle, a congressman, and a freedom fighter. When Mahatma Gandhi declared the Quit India Movement in 1942, Hemu joined Swaraj Sena and became its leading member. They held secretive meetings to plan revolutionary deeds against the British. The Revolutionary Group received information that a train carrying troops of the European Batallion was being sent to end the uprising in Sindh. On hearing this, Hemu and two other companions planned to derail the train. While doing so, the noise did not escape the stationed guards, and Hemu was caught hold of while the other two escaped. Hemu was imprisoned and tortured to reveal the names of his co-conspirators. As he refused to do so, he was given a death sentence, just two days before his 20th birthday.

Anant Laxman Kanhere

Portrait of freedom fighter Anant Laxman Kanhere

He was born on 7th January 1891. After completing his primary education, he moved to Aurangabad where he met people who worked in a secret revolutionary group. Anant joined the Abhinav Bharat organization as he believed only the armed forces could end the British regime. The brutality against the freedom fighters was growing stemming the feelings of revenge and hatred. The then district collector of Nasik, Jackson was the primary target for the revolutionaries, as he was responsible for the prosecution of Baba Savarkar. Jackson hiding a heinous crime and the crime doer triggered the revolutionaries. He was given a promotion and a transfer to ensure the matter was hushed up. During a public event, Anant shot Jackson, and before he could shoot himself, he was caught and arrested. He proudly owned his act and was executed at the age of 19.

Baji Rout

Portrait of freedom fighter Baji Rout

Baji Rout was born on 5th October 1926, in the state of Dhenkanal, and was the youngest son of a boatman on the Brahmini river. He lost his father at a young age, his mother was the bread earner of the family. Baji as a child witnessed the cruelty and injustice of the police and government officials in his village. He and the entire villagers were members of the Prajamandal Committee. To put an end to the movement, the European Troop swooped into many Dhenkanal settlements. The armed police attacked the locals, looted their belongings, and raped the women. Village Bhuban was the centre of the movement. By dawn, there was a rift between the villagers and the police as they tried to snatch the boats. A dozen villagers held back and refused a ride across the river. The police fired gunshots killing six of them, including Baji Rout. His bravery was rewarded with a bullet when he was just 12.

Saluting these revolutionaries who lit the candle of hope of freedom that we are embracing today, let us promise ourselves to make their sacrifice worth it.

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