The Restless Gemini

Έν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα --- Hen oida hoti ouden oida

November 13, 2005

Khudiram Bose

Years ago, I had read in "Young World" of The Hindu newspaper about an Indian revolutionary named Khudiram Bose who was hanged at the age of 19. I was somehow suddenly reminded of him today and Googled to find this link.

He is credited as the Hero who threw the first bomb against the Britishers. From a very young age, Khudiram Bose had a patriotic fervour, so much so that he gave up his studies and joined revolutionaries who were fighting against the British, for freedom. In 1908, the revolutionaries planned to kill Magistrate Kingsford, who was very cruel against any uprising against the British and had got many revolutionaries killed. Khudiram Bose and his friend Profulla Chaki were entrusted with the job of killing Kingsford. The plan was to throw a bomb at Kingsford's Coach and kill him. Unfortunately, the bomb killed three other people as Kingsford was not travelling in that coach.

Profulla to prevent himself from getting caught by the British shot himself dead. Khudiram was arrested after a long chase. Afterwards a case was filed against Khudiram. There were two lawyers on the Government's side. There was no one at Muzaffarpur, whom Khudiram could call his own. Then a senior advocate Kalidas Bose by name came forward to argue for him.

The pretence of a trial took two months. In the end, the Magistrate read his judgment sentencing Khudiram to death. Even when the judgment was being read, Khudiram did not show even a faint trace of fear.
The judge was surprised that a boy of nineteen years accepted death so calmly. "Do you know what this judgment means?" he asked.

Khudiram replied with a smile "I know its meaning better than you."

The judge asked, "Have you anything to say?"

"Yes. I have to explain a few things about making bombs."

The judge was now nervous that Khudiram might make a statement explaining how to make bombs and thus teach everyone in the court. Hence he did not allow the boy to make a statement.

Khudiram had not expected justice in a British court. But Kalidas Bose yearned to save Khudiram. He appealed to the Calcutta High Court on behalf of Khudiram. The judge of the High Court also under- stood Khudiram's nature. The fearless eyes and the determined face of the boy filled him, too, with wonder. He confirmed the death sentence given by the lower court. But he postponed the date of the execution from August 6, 1908 to August 19.

"Do you wish to say anything?" the judge asked.

Khudiram said, "Like the heroic Rajput women, I wish to die for the freedom of my country. The thought of the gallows does not make me unhappy in the least. My only regret is that Kingsford could not be punished for his crimes."

Even in prison, he was not at all worried. As death approached his face grew brighter. He thought that the sooner he sacrificed his life, the sooner he could be born again and fights for the freedom of his Motherland. This is not mere legend. Khudiram put on two pounds in the jail!


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