Ram Prasad Bismil

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Ram Prasad Bismil  pronunciation  (11 June 1897 – 19 December 1927) was an Indian revolutionary who participated in Mainpuri Conspiracy of 1918, and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925, both against British Empire. As well as being a freedom fighter, he was also a patriotic poet and wrote in Hindi and Urdu using the pen names Ram, Agyat and Bismil. But, he became popular with the last name "Bismil" only. He was associated with Arya Samaj where he got inspiration from Satyarth Prakash, a book written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
 
He also had a confidential connection with Lala Har Dayal through his guru Swami Somdev, a preacher of Arya Samaj. Bismil was one of the founder members of the revolutionary organisation Hindustan Republican Association. Shaheed Bhagat Singh praised him[1][2] as a great poet-writer of Urdu and Hindi, who had also translated the books Catherine from English and Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot from Bengali. Several inspiring patriotic verses are attributed to him. The poem Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna is also popularly attributed to him, although some writers say that "Bismil" Azimabadi actually wrote the poem and Ram Prasad Bismil immortalised it.

Early life

Ram Prasad Bismil was born on 11 June 1897 to Murlidhar and Moolmati at Shahjahanpur, in Uttar Pradesh.[3]

Contact with Somdev

As an 18-year old student, Bismil read of the death sentence passed on Bhai Parmanand, a scholar and companion of Lala Har Dayal. At that time he was regularly attending the Arya Samaj Temple at Shahjahanpur daily, where Swami Somdev, a friend of Paramanand, was staying. Angered by the sentence, Bismil composed a poem in Hindi titled Mera Janm (en: My Birth), which he showed to Somdev. This poem demonstrated a commitment to remove the British control over India.[3]

Lucknow Congress

Bismil left school in the following year and travelled to Lucknow with some friends. The Naram Dal (of the Indian National Congress) was not prepared to allow the Garam Dal to stage a grand welcome of Tilak in the city.[3] They organised a group of youths and decided to publish a book in Hindi on the history of American independence, America Ki Swatantrata Ka Itihas, with the consent of Somdev. This book was published under the authorship of the fictitious Babu Harivans Sahai and its publisher's name was given as Somdev Siddhgopal Shukla. As soon as the book was published, the government of Uttar Pradesh proscribed its circulation within the state.

Mainpuri Conspiracy

Bismil formed a revolutionary organisation called Matrivedi (Altar of Motherland) and contacted Pt. Genda Lal Dixit, a school teacher at Auraiya. Som Dev arranged this, knowing that Bismil could be more effective in his mission if he had experienced people to support him. Dixit had contacts with some powerful dacoits of the state.[3]Dixit wanted to utilise their power in the armed struggle against the British rulers. Like Bismil, Dixit had also formed an armed organisation of youths called Shivaji Samiti (named after Shivaji). The pair organised youths from the Etawah, Mainpuri, Agra and Shahjahanpur districts of United Province (now Uttar Pradesh) to strengthen their organisations.
 
On 28 January 1918, Bismil published a pamphlet titled Deshvasiyon Ke Nam Sandesh (A Message to Countrymen), which he distributed along with his poem Mainpuri Ki Pratigya (Vow of Mainpuri). To collect funds for the party looting was undertaken on three occasions in 1918. Police searched for them in and around Mainpuri while they were selling books proscribed by the U.P. Government in the Delhi Congress of 1918. When police found them, Bismil absconded with the books unsold. When he was planning another looting between Delhi and Agra, a police team arrived and firing started from both the sides. Bismil jumped into the Yamuna and swam underwater. The police and his companions thought that he had died in the encounter. Dixit was arrested along with his other companions and was kept in Agra fort. From here, he fled to Delhi and lived in hiding. A criminal case was filed against them. The incident is known as the "Mainpuri Conspiracy" against the British King Emperor. On 1 November 1919 the Judiciary Magistrate of Mainpuri B.S. Chris announced the judgement against all accused and declared Dixit and Bismil as absconders.

Underground activities

From 1919 to 1920 Bismil remained inconspicuous, moving around various villages in Uttar Pradesh and producing several books. Among these was a collection of poems written by him and others, entitled Man Ki Lahar, while he also translated two works from Bengali (Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot and Yogik Sadhan) and fabricated Catherine or Swadhinta Ki Devi from an English text.[3]He got all these books published through his own resources under Sushilmala – a series of publications except one Yogik Sadhan which was given to a publisher who absconded and could not be traced. These books have since been found. Another of Bismil's books, Kranti Geetanjali, was published in 1929 after his death and was proscribed by British Raj in 1931.

Formation of Hindustan Republican Association

In February 1920, when all the prisoners in the Mainpuri conspiracy case were freed, Bismil returned home to Shahjahanpur, where he agreed with the official authorities that he would not participate in revolutionary activities. This statement of Ram Prasad was also recorded in vernacular before the court. In 1921, Bismil was among the many people from Shahjahanpur who attended the Ahmedabad Congress. He had a seat on the dias, along with the senior congressman Prem Krishna Khanna, and the revolutionary Ashfaqulla Khan. Bismil played an active role in the Congress with Maulana Hasrat Mohani and got the most debated proposal of Poorna Swaraj passed in the General Body meeting of Congress. Mohandas K. Gandhi, who was not in the favour of this proposal became quite helpless before the overwhelming demand of youths.
 
He returned to Shahjahanpur and mobilised the youths of United Province for non-co-operation with the Government. The people of U.P. were so much influenced by the furious speeches and verses of Bismil that they became hostile against British Raj. As per statement of Banarsi Lal (approver)[4] made in the court – "Ram Prasad used to say that independence would not be achieved by means of non-violence."In February 1922 some agitating farmers were killed in Chauri Chaura by the police. The police station of Chauri Chaura was attacked by the people and 22 policemen were burnt alive. Gandhi, without ascertaining the facts behind this incident, declared an immediate stop the non-co-operation movement without consulting any executive committee member of the Congress. Bismil and his group of youths strongly opposed Gandhi in the Gaya session of Indian National Congress (1922). When Gandhi refused to rescind his decision, its then president Chittranjan Das resigned and the Indian National Congress was divided into two groups – the Naram Dal and the Garam Dal. In January 1923, the rich group of party formed a new Swaraj Party under the joint leadership of Pt. Moti Lal Nehru and Chittranjan Das, and the youth group formed a revolutionary party under the leadership of Bismil.

Yellow Paper constitution

With the consent of Lala Har Dayal, Bismil went to Allahabad where he drafted the constitution of the party in 1923 with the help of Sachindra Nath Sanyal and another revolutionary of Bengal, Dr. Jadugopal Mukherjee. The basic name and aims of the organisation were typed on a Yellow Paper[5] and later on a subsequent Constitutional Committee Meeting was conducted on 3 October 1924 at Kanpur in U.P. under the Chairmanship of Sachindra Nath Sanyal. This meeting decided the name of the party would be the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). After a long discussion from others Bismil was declared there the District Organiser of Shahjahanpur and Chief of Arms Division. An additional responsibility of Provincial Organiser of United Province (Agra and Oudh) was also entrusted to him. Sachindra Nath Sanyal, was unanimously nominated as National Organiser and another senior member Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, was given the responsibility of Coordinator, Anushilan Samiti. After attending the meeting in Kanpur, both Sanyal and Chatterjee left the U.P. and proceeded to Bengal for further extension of the organisation.

Manifesto of H.R.A.  

A pamphlet entitled as The Revolutionary was distributed throughout the United Province in India about the end of January 1925. Copies of this leaflet, referred to in the evidence as the "White Leaflet", were also found with some other alleged conspirators of Kakori Conspiracy as per judgement of the Chief Court of Oudh. A typed copy of this manifesto was found with Manmath Nath Gupta.[6] It was nothing but the Manifesto of H.R.A. in the form of a four paged printed pamphlet on white paper which was circulated secretly by post and by hands in most of the districts of United Province and other parts of India. This pamphlet bore no name of the printing press. The heading of the pamphlet was: "The Revolutionary" (An Organ of the Revolutionary Party of India). It was given 1st number and 1st issue of the publication. The date of its publication was given as 1 January 1925.[7]
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