There was a time when revolutionaries who resorted to violence in India took great pains to make sure that no innocent was hurt. Even when someone was as young as 19 years old passionate nationalist.
Khudiram Bose is unique in Indian Independence struggle. Someone as young as him – all of 19 – was hanged today on Aug 11, 1908. He was born on December 3, 1889. A product of the turn of the century and witness to the tyranny of the British. He saw how they had partitioned Bengal which led to misery in that area and sowed the seed for future partition of people.
There was a Judge Kingsford who was particularly prejudiced and terrible in his sentences against the Indians. So, Khudiram along with Prafulla Chaki planned to kill Kingsford. They observed his daily routine for many days trying to find a spot where he would be alone so their action wouldn’t hurt any innocent.
Finally they chose to act when Kingsford’s carriage came out the gate of the European Club. They had pistols as back up and bombs. As the carriage came out, they threw the bombs which killed the two people in the carriage – daughter and wife of Barrister Pringle Kennedy.
As they ran away from the scene, they didn’t realize their mistake that instead of Kingsford, two innocent women had been killed. Prafulla committed suicide, but Khudiram was hanged.
On August 12, Amar Bazaar Patrika has the headline: Kshudiram’s End: Died cheerful and smiling
“Kshudiram’s execution took place at 6 a.m. this morning. He walked to the gallows firmly and cheerfully and even smiled when the cap was drawn over his head.”
While an English daily, Empire had – “Kshudiram Bose was executed this morning…It is alleged that he mounted the scaffold with his body erect. He was cheerful and smiling.”
His smile wasn’t on the achievement of killing two women, but having retaliated. It was his passion to fight against the British that he wanted to transfer to the youth of that day. Which he did. Many young kids in Bengal were inspired by Bose to take to the road of Independence Struggle.
Today when one looks at Bengal of today and indeed India itself, one feels there is a need for many Khudirams who could inspire people. Not necessarily by bombing people but by struggling with all their might and becoming an example. The youth and citizens of today’s India have taken their freedom for granted. We do not realize at what cost this was achieved. Looking at a 19 year old who gave up his life so that his fellow beings could live in freedom of their own rule decided by their cultural ethos, drove him to sacrifice his life. He didn’t aim for any after life rewards.. nor anything for his parents or other family members. His action was selfless, and as it turned out after Independence – even thankless!