The Chittagong Uprising : The Forgotten Valour Of The Indian Revolutionaries
Do and Die, The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34, is a thoroughly researched book about the most audacious attack on the British Raj by the brave revolutionaries of India.
So, how many of you have heard the name of Surya Sen, Ananta Singh, Ganesh Ghosh, Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar.
If you know about these brave men and women then it’s really good. If not then we’ll discuss about them and their supreme love for their motherland.
When it comes to India, Majority of the people are aware about Mahatma Gandhi and his creed of non-violence. In fact, we were taught since our childhood that because of ahimsa (Or non-violence) India has gained her freedom.
Although, that’s not the complete truth. There were many brave sons and daughters of mother India who had sacrificed their lives for this country and they believed in the cult of violence. Like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Rajguru, Sukhdev and many more like them.
And also because of their revolutionaries acts that the British were forced to leave their jewel of the crown ‘India’.
Non-violence and Violence both played a pivotal role during the Indian independence.
The Chittagong uprising was one of the many heroic deeds committeed by those revolutionaries who were forgotten by the people of Hindustan.
What was Chittagong Uprising?
On the night of 18 April 1930, some sixty-four brave souls under the leadership of Masterda Surya Sen attacked the T.O. (Telegraph Office), V.B. (Volunteer Barracks i.e The AFI armoury), P.B (Police barracks) and the C.H (Club house, or The European club building) in the remote district of Bengal, Chittagong and proclaimed the formation of a ‘Provisional Revolutionary Government’.
The Chittagong armoury raid was the first direct attack on the British Raj since the first war of independence in 1857, or the sepoy mutiny.
Could you imagine a small band of young men attacked so ferociously the mighty British Raj.
Although, these brave Revolutionaries couldn’t fulfilled their aim and some of them martyred while fighting the British armed forces. But, the Chittagong uprising had lit the fire which engulfed the whole province of Bengal throughout the 1930s.
Who was Surya Sen?
Surya Sen aka Masterda was the leader of the Chittagong uprising 1930-34.
He was born and brought up in Chittagong (Now in Bangladesh) where he started teaching as a school teacher. In fact, he was famous by his nickname, Masterda, because he used to teach young students.
Surya Sen and the Chittagong group were inspired by the deeds of the ‘Irish Revolutionaries’, especially the The Easter Rising which they tried to emulate in Chittagong.
Although, Masterda’s comrades died while fighting and some of them later caught by the British Raj. But, he remained elusive for several years until he was caught and hanged till death.
In fact, the so-called epitome of civilization the British were so scared of him that instead of handing his dead body to his friends and family they thrown out the body in the Bay of Bengal.
Although, Masterda Surya Sen sacrificed his life to free India from the yoke of British imperialism. But, it’s really unfortunate that he and his fellow Revolutionaries were not only forgotten by the people of India but they were also systematically removed from the history of India. Ironic.
This was Masterda’s last message to his comrades –
This is the time for preparation to embrace death as a friend and this is the time to recall lights of other days as well. At such a solemn moment, what shall I leave behind for you? Only one thing – the dream of Free India. How auspicious a moment it was when I first saw it! Throughout my life, most passionately and untiringly, I pursued it like a lunatic…. Onward my comrades, onward- never fall back. The day of bondage is disappearing and the dawn of freedom is ushering in.
These words tells us that how brave these people were. They were ready to die anytime for their motherland.
In fact, people like them are the real Patriots, unlike those fake people who give certificates of nationalism because you don’t adhere to their ideology.
Who was Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar?
Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar were the brave revolutionaries of India who were second to none when it comes to sacrifice and bravery. Like their male counterparts they also played a significant role in the Chittagong uprising, 1930-34.
Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar were part of the Chittagong Group, but none of them participated in the Chittagong armoury raid. But, both of them were part of the underground movement.
Albeit, Pritilata Waddedar martyred while leading a group of men while attacking the British. But, Kalpana Dutta saw the new dawn of India’s independence only to be forgotten like the rest of her comrades.
This is the problem with the people of India. That we are a nation of forgetters. Sons and daughters of so and so are enjoying the perks and privileges while the common people are forced to believe in the propaganda.
This is what Pritilata Waddedar said about the women revolutionaries –
Females are determined that they will no more lag behind and will stand side by side with their brothers in any activities however dangerous or difficult. I earnestly hope that my sisters will no more think themselves weaker and will get themselves ready to face all dangers and difficulties and join the revolutionary movement in their thousands.
Women like them are the real heroines of India, unlike those people who use social media to show their pseudo bravery by spitting venom either against a particular community or against an individual.
The Charkha and The Gun –
During the India’s struggle for independence not a single leader of a stature like Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sarojini Naidu, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad never ever said that the Indian Revolutionaries were anti-nationals.
They all respected their heroism and bravery for their motherland. They had ideological differences with them but they all believed in the principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’.
In fact, during the Non-cooperation and Khilafat movement of 1920-21, Revolutionaries like Surya Sen and people like him participated in the movement. And supported it through thick and thin.
It was only when Gandhiji abruptly called off the Non-cooperation movement in February 1922 because of the violence at Chauri-chaura that the Revolutionaries like Surya Sen became disillusioned with the Mahatma’s creed of non-violence and decided to teach the British Raj the lesson in the language which they understood better.
If Gandhi’s Charka symbolise the creed of non-violence then the Gun of our brave revolutionaries epitomizes the courage of multitude who had laid down their lives for the freedom of India.
During the ‘Quit India’ movement of 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave the slogan, Do or Die. And the Revolutionaries of India belived in the deed of Do and Die. This is the basic difference between the ideology of Gandhiji and the Indian Revolutionaries.
Gandhiji said this about the Revolutionaries of India –
We have in our midst, I know, a school of violence also. I have endeavoured, as several others of my co-workers have endeavoured, to win them from what we hold is an error; but, at the same time, I know that there is a common cause, even between them and ourselves. They are burning to attain the freedom to which India is entitled, which is India’s birthright.
If you’ve read carefully what the father of the nation said about our brave revolutionaries then you should have realised the importance of unity.
Because, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
I’ll conclude with these words of the author –
‘No single leader or movement or ideology can take sole credit for gaining India her freedom’.
I hope you like this, Thanks for Reading, Jai Hind.
My Ratings : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)
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At the very outset I would like to admit that amongst all the names that you mentioned I have known only Master da Surya Sen, rest were new to me but I am glad that through this article I now know about these bravehearts of India. We indeed forget easily and take this hard earned independence for granted. This event however is very important and despite 2 Hindi movies made on it we hardly know about it.
Master da’s last message made me emotional and I could only imagine what it would have felt like.
You have done justice with the essence of the book by keeping it informative and appealing. KEEP IT UP
We are a nation of forgetters. That’s the sad reality of India. Surya Sen, Kalpana Dutta, Pritilata Waddedar and many more like them are forgotten slowly and steadily by the people of the Indian subcontinent.
And thanks, Aishwarya for this beautiful comment. Happy that you have learnt something new and found it worth reading.
It was really fascinating…
It is perfectly said: We are a nation of forgetters..!!
Afterall , सो जायेगी लिपटकर तिरंगे के साथ अलमारी में!!
ये देश भक्ति है साहब,
कुछ तारीखो पर ही जगती है!!
There has always been a long drawn debate of end v/s means..
Here the end goal was India’s freedom..
And means were violence as well as non violence..
There have always been factions may be within the Congress only i.e.
Moderates or extremists
Swarajists or No Changers who were divided on the idea on council entry.
And lot of other times when idea of one was not the solution according to others..
Disagreements have always been there.
But most importantly a common VISION i.e. vision of FREE INDIA.
While everyone has contributed their due parts and command equal respect but unfortunately People donot remember many of them barring a few.
May be problem lies with the education system or may be people are way more ignorant.
Afterall the freedom has been served to us on platter and it’s so difficult to empathise with those who laid down their lives and fought courageously.
We are indebted to them and always should be.
And this is a beautiful piece of writing.
U are always coming up with great topics.
And yes continue to #be the light to spread the light.
Keep doing the good work.
Thanks for an enlightening article.👏👏👏
Once upon a time the Indian National Congress (INC) was an Ocean of different ideologies. But,slowly and steadily it became extinct, and only a particular kind of philosophy they followed through thick and thin. That’s why those brave sons and daughters of mother India who believed in a different kind of creed and had sacrificed their lives for this country had been systematically removed from the history of post independence India. Masterda Surya Sen, Pritilata Waddedar and many more like them were part of this group.
And Shukriya, Ritika for this enlightening comment. Readers will also get some knowledge after reading this.
That was such a good read. Gandhi really needs to stop being glorified so much when the real heroes and heroines are people like these.
Thanks, Namita. Glad that you liked it.
Once again well written brother….carry on….if you take my advice then write an article on kakori conspiracy and the Nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…
Shukriya, Prabal for going through this article and giving ur precious time. Glad that you liked it and found it worth reading. I’ll cover the topics which you’ve mentioned.
At first thanks for ur all articles then special thanks for this article. I really like this article and also happy that you have shared this article about Bangladesh related history. I hope we will get new articles related Bangladesh history soon….Keep it up🙂
Shukriya, Oishi for giving ur time and going through this article. Glad that you liked it. I’ll cover issues related to Bangladesh too in the near future.
wow to tell the truth I didn’t know about all the names mentioned here except Suya sen…Some new information ill always come in use thank you soo much ….
Thanks, Manasvi for your comment. Glad that you liked it and learnt something new.
I am a relative of Saroj Guha of Chittagong, who killed Dhaka Dist magistrate. But his story is still untold
Thanks, Dr Sircar for sharing your views. But, I am not aware about the person you are talking about. Maybe, someday he’ll get the attention which uncountable number of forgotten revolutionaries of India deserves.