India remembers poet and revolutionary Shaheed Ram Prasad Bismil on his birth anniversary

New Delhi, June 11: With the Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav underway in the run-up for celebrating India’s 75 years of freedom on August 15 next year, the nation is paying homage to those who sacrificed their life for the country’s struggle against the British. Shaheed Ram Prasad Bismil whose birth anniversary falls today (June 11), was a freedom struggle hero who went gallantly to the gallows in the Kakori case and is also famous as a poet for penning the cult song Mera rang de Basanti chola.

Pandit Bismil immortalised Bismil Azimabadi’s poem Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna by adopting it as a war cry during the freedom movement.

As part of the Mahotsav celebrations, the Ministry of Culture will hold a special ceremony at Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh where Bismil was born on June 11, 1897 to Murlidhar and Moolmati.

The Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel will offer floral tributes to Shaheed Ram Prasad Bismil, Shaheed Ashfaq Ullah Khan and Shaheed Roshan Singh at a special event being organized by the Ministry at Shahjahanpur’s Shaheed Udayan.

Taking to pen to express his patriotism

Bismil wrote powerful patriotic poems in Urdu and Hindi from the age of 19. He wrote under the pen names of ‘Bismil’, ‘Ram’ and ‘Agyat’. What triggered in him the passion for the country and its freedom was when he read about the death sentence passed on Bhai Parmanand, who was a noted Indian nationalist and Arya Samaj missionary. Bismil’s pen became his tool to vent out his anger and he wrote the Mera Janm. This was when he was just 18.

Revolutionary activities

It was the Mainpuri conspiracy of 1918 that shot Bismil into prominence. He along with a school teacher from Auraiya, Genda Lal Dixit, organised youth from Etahwah, Mainpuri, Agra and Shahjahanpur districts. This was done to strengthen their organisations, ‘Matrivedi’ and ‘Shivaji Samiti’.

Further Bismil went on to publish a pamphlet titled Deshwasiyon ke Naam and distributed it along with his poem Mainpuri ki Pratigya on January 28, 1918. In order to keep their struggle going, they needed to collect funds and hence they looted Government coffers.

Bismil’s ideals stood in complete contrast to that of the Congress as he is reportedly believed to have said, ‘independence would not be achieved by means of non-violence’.

To chart his own path to make India free of the colonial yoke, Bismil formed the Hindustan Republic Association which was soon joined by the likes of other great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad.

Again on August 9, 1925, Bismil along with close associates Ashfaqulla Khan and several others looted a train at Kakori near Lucknow. After stopping the 8-Down Saharanpur Lucknow passenger train at Kakori, they took the cash meant for the treasury.

After Bismil’s arrest with other revolutionaries and a court case, he along with Ashfaqulla Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death.

Bismil was hanged on December 19, 1927 at Gorakhpur Jail, Ashfaqulla Khan at the Faizabad Jail and Roshan Singh at Naini Allahabad Jail. Lahiri had been hanged two days earlier at Gonda Jail. His body was taken to the Rapti river for a Hindu cremation, and the site became known as Rajghat.

Literary works and patriotic songs

During the time he spent in the Lucknow Central Jail, Bismil wrote his autobiography. It is considered as one of the finest works in Hindi literature and was published under the cover title of Kakori ke shaheed by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1928 from Pratap Press, Cawnpore.

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