Ninety-six years ago, in December 1927, four key figures of the Indian independence movement faced execution. These revolutionaries, associated with the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), were hanged for their involvement in the Kakori Train Action, a daring act where a train transporting funds to the British treasury was looted. Their sacrifice stands as a poignant reminder of their bravery and pivotal roles in shaping India’s fight for freedom, reigniting reflections on their enduring legacy.
GS I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and Its Evolution into Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA)
- Kakori Train Action Incident: HRA’s Pioneering Revolutionary Act
Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and Its Evolution into Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA)
Non-Cooperation Movement and Chauri Chaura Incident:
- Initiated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920, the Non-Cooperation Movement advocated non-violence and withdrawal of support from British activities in India.
- The movement took a turn after the Chauri Chaura Incident in 1922, marked by police firing leading to protester deaths and subsequent mob violence resulting in the death of policemen.
- Gandhi, facing internal dissent within the Indian National Congress (INC), abruptly halted the Non-Cooperation Movement.
Formation of Hindustan Republican Association (HRA):
- Disillusioned by the sudden halt of the Non-Cooperation Movement, a group of young men founded the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).
- Founders included Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Sachindra Nath Bakshi, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, and later, Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
Manifesto and Revolutionary Ideals:
- The manifesto, titled “Krantikari” (Revolutionary), was released on January 1, 1925.
- Aimed to establish a federal Republic of the United States of India through organized, armed revolution.
- Rejecting terrorism for its own sake, they considered it a potent retaliatory measure when necessary.
Vision for the Republic:
- Envisioned a republic based on universal suffrage and socialist principles.
- Prioritized abolishing systems enabling human exploitation.
Transformation into HSRA:
- In 1928, the HRA evolved into the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
- Shifted its focus from political independence to encompass socio-economic equality, aligning with socialist ideologies.
Leadership and Altered Trajectory:
- Led by figures like Bhagat Singh, the HSRA merged nationalist aspirations with socialist principles.
- This alteration marked a significant shift in the trajectory of India’s freedom struggle, broadening its scope to include socio-economic reforms alongside political independence.
Kakori Train Action Incident: HRA’s Pioneering Revolutionary Act
Train Robbery at Kakori:
- The Kakori Train Action incident occurred in August 1925 and marked the Hindustan Republican Association’s (HRA) first major revolutionary action.
- The targeted train, Number 8 Down, operated between Shahjahanpur and Lucknow.
Execution of the Robbery:
- As the train approached Kakori, a revolutionary named Rajendranath Lahiri pulled the emergency chain, halting the train.
- Lahiri overpowered the guard, and the revolutionaries aimed to seize treasury bags containing government funds destined for the British treasury in Lucknow.
- The motive behind the robbery was to fund the HRA’s activities and draw public attention to their cause.
British Crackdown and Arrests:
- The British authorities responded with a harsh crackdown, resulting in the arrest of numerous HRA members involved in the Kakori Train Action.
- Among the forty individuals arrested, four received death sentences: Rajendranath Lahiri on December 17th, and Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Thakur Roshan Singh on December 19th.
Objective and Public Attention:
- The objective of the Kakori Train Action was dual: to financially support the HRA and attract public attention to their mission and revolutionary activities.
- Rajendranath Lahiri and others faced severe legal consequences, with four individuals receiving death sentences.
- Chandrashekhar Azad was the only prominent HRA leader who managed to evade capture during the subsequent crackdown.
Impact on the HRA:
- The Kakori Train Action had a profound impact on the HRA, shaping its trajectory and leaving a significant mark on the history of India’s struggle for independence.
-Source: Indian Express