“ मैं ऐसे धर्म को मानता हूं, जो स्वतंत्रता, समानता और भाईचारा सिखाता है “
Chandra Shekhar Azad was an exemplary firebrand revolutionary who fiercely yearned for independence for India. He was one of the bravest and awe-inspiring figures of Indian armed revolution. His actions were no less heroic. He inspired his contemporaries and the future generation, who wholeheartedly dedicated their lives to the freedom struggle.
“ भले ही मेरा प्रारम्भिक जीवन आदिवासी इलाके में बीता है, लेकिन मेरे दिल में मातृभूमि ही बसती है ”
He was Born as Chandrashekhar Tiwari to Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and his third wife Jagrani Devi, in Bhavra village, in the present-day Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. His mother wanted her son to be a great Sanskrit scholar so the young lad was sent to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras, for higher studies. Young Chandra Shekhar was fascinated and drawn to the great national upsurge of the non-cooperation movement of 1920-21 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. In December 1921, Chandra Shekhar rode this wave and participated in the various organized protests with much avidity. At the age of sixteen, Chandra Shekhar was arrested in one of these demonstrations.
On being produced before a magistrate, he gave his name as “Azad”, his father’s name as “Swatantrata” and his residence as “Jail”.
“ मेरा नाम आजाद, मेरे पिता का नाम स्वाधीन, और मेरा घर जेल है ”
He came to be revered as Chandra Shekhar Azad from then on. The suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 by Gandhi came as a blow to him and he became more aggressive in its aftermath. Meanwhile, he met a young revolutionary, Manmathnath Gupta, who introduced him to Ram Prasad Bismil, the founder of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organization.
” एक विमान जब तक जमीन पर है वह सुरक्षित रहेगा , लेकिन विमान जमीन पर रखने के लिए नहीं बनाया जाता , बल्कि ये हमेशा महान ऊंचाइयों को हासिल करने के लिए , जीवन में कुछ सार्थक जोखिम लेने बनाया जाता है “
He became an active member of the HRA and started carrying out HRA’s most dangerous missions. He concentrated his efforts on collecting funds for the association mainly through robberies of government property. He was involved in the Kakori Train Robbery of 1925, in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy of India’s train in 1926, and at last the shooting of J. P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai. After these incidents, the British clamped down on revolutionary activities. Despite the British intensifying their search operations, he evaded British capture and they were never able to catch the slippery revolutionary. Azad made Jhansi his organization’s hub for some time. He used the forest of Orchha, situated 15 kilometers from Jhansi, as a site for shooting practice and, being an expert marksman, trained other members of his group too. Interestingly, Azad was a master of disguises. He built a hut near to a Hanuman temple on the banks of the Satar River and lived there under the alias of Pandit Harishankar Brahmachari for a long period. He taught children from the nearby village of Dhimarpura and thus managed to establish a good rapport with the local residents. At that time only, Azad, together with Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Rajguru, secretly transformed the HRA as the HSRA ( Hindustan Socialist Republican Association), to achieve their primary aim of an independent India based on socialist principle.
“हम दुश्मन की गोलियों का सामना करेंगे,आजाद ही रहे हैं, आजाद रहेंगे।“
On February 27, 1931, police set up a barrier with a troop of 80 sepoys to surround the Alfred park to arrest the cornered Revolutionary after being tipped by an informant about his meeting with his friend Sukhdev Raj. But Azad and his friend refused to surrender and opened fire, taking refuge behind a tree. He was wounded in the process of defending himself and Sukhdev Raj. Undaunted, he engaged the police in another fierce bout of firing that helped his friend escape, killing three policemen and wounding several others. After a long shootout, holding true to his pledge to never be captured alive, he shot himself dead with the last bullet in his colt pistol. He was only 24. Chandra Shekhar Azad’s true legacy lies in his invincible desire to remain free forever. The tales of his heroic escape evading capture is the stuff of legends. His agility, restlessness and ever-present enthusiasm for new ideas, set on fire a fierce sense of nationalism in the hearts of Indians.
He was an epitome of deep love and dedication towards one’s nation. For as he himself had said:
“ अभी भी जिसका खून ना खौला, वो खून नहीं पानी है; जो देश के काम ना आए, वो बेकार जवानी है “