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Bismil Allahabadi
Poet/Writer
--: Biography of Bismil Allahabadi :--

 

Ram Prasad Bismil was an Indianrevolutionary who participated in Mainpuri Shadyantra (English: Mainpuri Conspiracy) of 1918 and the Kakori conspiracy case of 1925, both against British Empire. Ram, Agyat and Bismil were known as his pen names which he used in Urdu and Hindi poetry. But he became popular with the last name "Bismil" only. He was associated with Arya Samaj, Shahjahanpur, 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, who was a renowned preacher of Arya Samaj.
 
Bismil was one of the founder members of the Hindustan Republican Association, a historical revolutionary organisation known for its ideology and constitution. According to Bhagat Singh he was a great poet-writer of Urdu and Hindi  who had also translated the books Catherine from English and Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot from Bangla. Several inspiring patriotic verses are attributed to him. The famous poem "Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna" is also popularly attributed to him, although some progressive writers have remarked that 'Bismil' Azimabadi actually wrote the poem and Ram Prasad Bismil immortalized it.  But their remarks have no proof . A book entitled Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna (four volumes) published in the "Bismil Centenary Year-1997" from India is now available in many libraries.
 
Ram Prasad Bismil was born on 11 June 1897 at Shahjahanpur, a historical city of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) in a religious Hindu family of Murlidhar and Moolmati.
 
His grandfather Narayan Lal was migrated from his ancestral village Barbai and settled at a very distant place Shahjahanpur in U.P. Barbai was situated on the bank of river Chambal in Tomardhar region of the then estate of Gwalior in the British period. This village is now in the Murena district of Madhya Pradesh.
 
His father, Murlidhar, was living in Khirni Bag Mohalla of Shahjahanpur city, where Ram was born. In childhood, Ram was sent to a local primary school but he was very much adamant to learn Hindi because of an Hindi alphabet "u" which was taught as 'u' for 'owl'.
 
When his father Murlidhar could not make him learn "u" in spite of every effort, he decided to educate Ram through Urdu medium and he was admitted in Islamia School of Shahjahanpur. As he grew up, he associated with bad students and read romantic poetry books and cheap novels that undermined his academic work.
 
When he failed twice in 7th standard of Urdu, he was admitted to an English school called Mission School of the city. After passing 8th standard from Mission School in First Division, he was admitted to the Government School in Shahjahanpur. While studying in this school, he kept his pen-name as 'Bismil' and continued writing patriotic poetry. He became popular by the name Bismil amongst his class mates.
 
When he was a student of 9th class, he read in newspaper a news about the death sentence of Bhai Parmanand, a famous scholar and companion of Lala Har Dayal. Bismil was 18 years old at that time. In those days he used to go to the Arya Samaj Temple of Shahjahanpur daily, where Swami Somdev, a friend of Bhai Paramanand, was staying. A revengeful anger had burst out in the mind of Bismil through this incident. He composed a poem in Hindi titled "My Birth" (hi. mera janm) and showed it to Swami Somdev. In that poem he showed his commitment to root out the British Empire from India.
 
Swami Somdev read the poem and said- "Ram Prasad! I know that you are very much hurt by heart and accordingly you have chosen your pen name as 'Bismil'. Your poem is also full of patriotic feelings and your views are very clear but, my dear child! it is not so easy to fulfill the commitment until a solid determination does not sustain in your heart and mind." In spite of arguments and counter-arguments from the Swami, Bismil did not deviate from his commitment. When Swami Somdev saw a burning flame of revolution in his eyes, he advised him to prepare himself politically and go to Lucknow to participate actively in the next Indian National Congress of 1916.
 
Next year Bismil left the school and went to Lucknow with his friends. The Liberal group was not prepared to allow Moderate group for any type of welcome of Tilak in the city. Bismil and a senior student of M.A. laid down the car of Tilak and lead the overwhelming procession of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in whole of the city. Bismil was highlighted there and so many youths from all over India became his fans. 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 Swami Somdev. This book was published with a fictitious name of Babu Harivans Sahai, B.A. and its publisher's name was given as Somdev Siddhgopal Shukla. As soon as the book was published, the then U.P. Government proscribed it to be sold anywhere in the state
 
Bismil formed a revolutionary organization in the name of Matrivedi (en.Altar of Motherland) and contacted Pt. Genda Lal Dixit who was a school teacher atAuraiya. Reference of Dixit was given to him by his mentor Som Dev.
 
Till then Bismil had collected some weapons also. Som Dev knew that Bismil could be more offensive in his mission if a matured and experienced person supported him. Genda Lal had contacts with some powerful decoits of the state.
 
He wanted to utilize their power in the armed struggle against the British rulers. Like Bismil, Dixit had also formed an armed organisation of youths in the name ofShivaji Samiti (en.A party in the name of Shivaji-a Hindu King). When Bismil told Dixit that his ancesters belonged to the notorious area of Central Province known for bravery, Dixit was happy and he accepted the offer. After that they organised youths of Etawah, Mainpuri, Agra and Shahjahanpur districts of United Province(now Uttar Pradesh) to strengthen the organisation.
 
On 28 January 1918 'Bismil' published a pamphlet titled "Deshvasiyon Ke Nam Sandesh" (en.A Message to Countrymen) and distributed it amongst public along with his poem "Mainpuri Ki Pratigya" (en.Vow of Mainpuri)  In order 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 the 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 was very cautious: he jumped into the river 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 he was kept in Agra fort from which Dixit fled and lived underground in Delhi. A criminal case was filed against them. It 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, because they could not be arrested by the police in spite of all efforts.
 
From 1919 to 1920 Bismil remained underground, for sometime in Rampur Jagir/Jahangir village of present Gautam Budh Nagar Distt situated in Greater Noida, sometimes in Kosma of Mainpuri Distt, sometimes in Bah and Pinhat of Agra Distt (all in the U.P. state). He also went to his paternal village Barbai in M.P. state to take some money from his mother. While living underground he wrote several books: Man Ki Lahar - a collection of poems, Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot - a revolutionary novel, Yogik Sadhan - a booklet of yoga defining how to create a firm resolve in one's mind, and Catherine or Swadhinta Ki Devi - a consigned autobiography of Catherine, the grandmother of the Russian Revolution. Out of these books only Man Ki Lahar was a collection of poems written by 'Bismil' and his contemporary poets, whereas Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot and Yogik Sadhan were translated from Bangla and the Catherine or Swadhinta Ki Devi was fabricated from English.
 
The way he wrote these books was not so easy. As he has mentioned in his autobiography, he used to go to the arid land pasture and let the cattle loose to graze. Then he would settle down under a Babul tree with an exercise book and a pencil to translate the Bangla books. After completing some translation he used see if the cattle are grazing peacefully or not. Sometimes when the cattles were not visible nearby Bismil used to recall them with a stick and retrieve them back to the range of his voice command. He would spend most of his time to translate the books and the least to his daily routine for the monotonous meals which he also used to make himself.
 
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 was absconded and could not be traced out. These books have been discovered by 'Krant' M. L. Verma and are available in the libraries. Catherine or Swadhinta Ki Devi and Yogik Sadhan are compiled and edited in Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna (Vol- 3) whereas Man Ki Lahar and Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot are published separately. Another of 'Bismils books, Kranti Geetanjali, was published in 1929 after his death and was proscribed by British Raj in 1931. The Archives of India got this book under their Accession No 961. Now this book has been published in India and is available in the libraries
 
In February 1920, when all the prisoners of Mainpuri Conspiracy Case were released under government proclamation, Bismil returned to his native place Shahjahanpur and met the District Authorities. They allowed Bismil to live peacefully after taking an affidavit of undertaking from him declaring therein not to participate in any such revolutionary activity.
 
He joined Bharat Silk Manufacturing Co. as a manager for sometimes and after that started a business of silk sarees in the partnership of Banarsi Lal. Banarsi Lal and Bismil had been associated with the District Congress Committee of Shahjahanpur.  Although Bismil earned in the business he was not satisfied because his earlier commitment to get out British from India was not fulfilled.
 
In 1921 Bismil attended Ahmedabad Congress along with many volunteers from Shahjahanpur and occupied a place on the dias. A senior congressman Prem Krishna Khanna and revolutionary Ashfaqulla Khan was also with him. Bismil played an active role in the Congress with Maulana Hasrat Mohani and got the most debated proposal of Poorn 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. It was another victory of Bismil against the Liberal Group of Congress.  He returned to Shahjahanpur and mobilised the youths of United Province for non-cooperation 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.
 
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-cooperation movement without consulting any executive committee member of the Congress. Bismil and his group of youths strongly opposed Gandhi in the Gaya Congress of 1922. When Gandhi refused to rescind his decision, the Indian National Congress was divided into two groups - one liberal and the other for rebellion. 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 Prasad.
 
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[19]. The basic name and aims of the organisation were typed on a Yellow Paper 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 anonymously 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 extention of the organisation.
 
A pamphlet titled "The Revolutionary" was published in January 1925 under a fictitious name, Vijay Kumar  and was circulated all over India. It was a pamphlet of four pages wherein the programme or manifesto of the revolutionaries was declared with a promise to Indian public for equal opportunity to every man irrespective of social status high or low, rich or poor. Policies of Mohandas Gandhi were openly criticised and youths were called to join the organisation. The police were astonished to see the language of pamphlet and sought its leader in Bengal. Sachindra Nath Sanyal had gone to despatch this pamphlet in a bulk and was arrested inBankura, West Bengal. Before Sanyal's arrest Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee had also gone in the hands of police at Howrah railway station of Calcutta in Bengal.
 
The immediate objective of the HRA in the domain of politics was to establish a "Federal Republic of the United States of India by an organised and armed revolution".
 
  Kakori conspiracy
After arrest of both the senior organiser of HRA total responsibility to run the party had come on the shoulders of Bismil. The District Organisers were demanding money. They were writing very sensitive letters to him: "Pandit Ji! we are dying with hunger, please do something." As a result he was feeling himself guilty for their pitiable condition.
 
  On the way of Irish revolution
He decided to collect money like Irish revolutionaries by stealing from the rich people of society. So he looted the money at Bichpuri in Pilibhit Distt. and at Dwarkapur in Pratapgarh Distt of U.P., but not enough money was received in either of these actions.
 
  Action of Kakori
Bismil executed a meticulous plan for looting the government treasury carried in a train at Kakori, near Lucknow in U.P. This historical event happened on August 9, 1925 and is known as the Kakori conspiracy. Only ten revolutionaries stopped the 8 Down Saharanpur-Lucknow passenger train at Kakori - a station just before the Lucknow Railway Junction. German-made Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistols  were used in this action. Ashfaqulla Khan, the lieutenant of the HRA Chief Ram Prasad Bismil gave away his Mauser to Manmath Nath Gupta and engaged himself to break open the cash chest. Eagerly watching a new weapon in his hand, Manmath Nath Gupta fired the pistol and incidentally a passenger Ahmed Ali, who got down the train to see his wife in ladies compartment, was killed in this rapid action.
 
  Arrest & filing of criminal case
The incident created a great upheaval in British India. The retribution was severe when more than 40 revolutionaries were arrested from all over India. As per official record of the British Government, a criminal conspiracy case was filed against 28 active members of HRA by the Special Magistrate Ainuddin after a long time. 21 persons were presented before Session Court of Special Judge A. Hamilton on 21 May 1926. Abbas Salim Khan, Banvari Lal Bhargava, Gyan Chattarji and Mohd. Ayuf were the assessors (legal advisers) of the Judge.
 
  Verdict of case
On April 6, 1927 the verdict of court came out of the special court of Lucknow. This special   Court's verdict was published in 115 pages and the charges were proved in such a manner that no body could escape the punishment.
 
  Supplementary case decision & Appeal in Chief Court
Another supplementary case was filed against Ashfaqulla Khan and Shachindra Nath Bakshi in the court of Special Sessions Judge J.R.W. Bennett. An appeal was filed in the then Chief Court of Oudh (now in U.P.) on 18 July 1927. A very senior advocate Pt. Jagat Narayan Mulla pleaded the case as public prosecutor on behalf of the Government whereas Ram Prasad Bismil defended his case himself. He did not take any help from the Government.
 
  Chief Court's decision & Mercy Appeal
On 22 August 1927 the Chief Court endorsed the original judgement with an exception of one or two punishments. A mercy appeal was filed in due course before the Provincial Governor of U.P. by the members of legislative council which was dismissed. Bismil wrote a letter to Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya on 9 September 1927 from the Gorakhpur Jail.
 
  Madan Mohan Malviya's joint memorendum
Malviya sent a memorandum to the then Viceroy and Governor-General of India Edward Fredrick Lindley Wood with the signatures of 78 Members of Central Legislature, which was also turned down. On 16 September 1927 the final mercy appeal was forwarded to Privy Council at London and to the King Emperor through a famous lawyer of England S.L. Polak  but the British Government, who had already decided to hang them, sent their final decision to the India office of Viceroy that all the four condemned prisoners are now to be hanged till death by 19 December 1927 positively.
 
  Final execution
In an 18-month long drawn case, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death under section 121(A), 120(B), 302 and 396 of Indian Penal Code. Bismil was hanged by the British authorities on 19 December 1927 in the morning at Gorakhpur Jail, Ashfaqulla Khan at the Faizabad Jail and Thakur Roshan Singh at Naini Allahabad Jail whereas fourth Rajendra Nath Lahiri was hanged on 17 December 1927 (two days before the scheduled date) at Gonda Jail; all located in the present Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
 
  19 December: End of the Play
On 19 December 1927 Bismil woke up at 3.30 a.m. as usual in the morning, did his formal duties of daily routine, meditated for half an hour, bore new dhoti-kurtaand sat in the waiting of his long awaited beloved death. At the appropriate time the Magistrate came along with the Jailor, unlocked the condemned cell and asked Bismil to get ready. The Magistrate was austonished to see him smiling. Bismil rose up immediately and said - "Let us move!"
 
  Last wish of Bismil
He went cheerfully upto the gallows saying his last good bye to whomsoever met in the way. He stood up at the altar of gallows, kissed the noose and spoke very loudly his last wish - "I wish the downfall of British Empire!". Then he whispered the vedic prayer "Om vishvaani dev savitur duritaani paraasuv, yad bhadram tann aasuv." (en.O God of all creature! let the ill will be removed and the good prevail in our souls.) and put the noose around his neck like a garland.
 
The hangman pulled the lever of gallows and the body of Bismil hanged in the open air. For half an hour he was kept hanging to safegaurd the certainty of death. In this way a daredevil son of Mother India departed for the common cause of every Indian's freedom.
 
  Dead Body's procession
Looking into the huge rush at the main gate of the Jail authorities broke open the wall in front of gallows, the dead body was brought out and handed over to his parents Murlidhar and Moolmati. A huge rush of about 1.5 lakhs of people had gathered from all over the country. They took the dead body of their departed brother Ram Prasad and carried it to the bank of Rapti under a grand procession.
 
  Last rites at Rajghat Gorakhpur
The dead body kept at Ghantaghar of Gorakhpur for the last view of the public in the City. From there it was taken to the Rapti river where the last funeral of thisgreat martyr was performed under the proper Vedic Cremation System on the bank of the river. The place, where the ritual obligations of Bismil were done, was named by public as Rajghat.  A new Transport Nagar has been developed in the side bye area of this place. A Rajghat police station has also been established there to commemorate the historical place.
 
  Books of Bismil released in his centenary year
Bismil was born in 1897 and was hanged by the cruel British Empire in 1927, thus he lived a very short life of 30 years. Out of this 30 year, he dedicated 11 years of his valuable life in the selfless service of his fellow countrymen to make their life better. He wrote so many books but only 11 books could be published. All of these books were proscribed by the British Raj. Only few of them were kept hidden in the rare and old libraries.
 
 Bismil was known for his inspiring poems that acted as motivation for his fellow revolutionaries. Among them, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna is the most well-known. Previously it was unknown whether Prasad actually wrote it or any other,  as some progressive writters  attributed it to Bismil Azimabadi, but now this miserable episode is over; because a number of research books are available in the libraries to verify the encyclopedic contents. An image of original and rare photo of Prasad can also be seen  in Hindi Wikipedia.
 
A deep and passionate love for the motherland and an urge to sacrifice for the nation was the hallmark of Bismil's works. In one poem he prays: "Even if I have to face death a thousand times for the sake of my Motherland, I shall not be sorry. Oh Lord! Grant me a hundred births in Bharat. But grant me this, too, that each time I may give up my life in the service of my Mother land."
 
In Hindi he had written: "yadi desh hit maranaa paDe mujhako sahasroM baar bhi, to bhi n maiM is kashhT ko nij dhyaan meM laauuM kabhii. he iish bhaaratavarshh meM shat vaar mera janm ho, kaaraN sadaa hii mRtyu kaa deshopakaarak karm ho."
 
In another poem written just before going to the gallows, he prays: "Oh Lord! Thy will be done. You are unique. Neither my tears nor I will endure. Grant me this boon, that to my last breath and the last drop of my blood, I may think of you and be immersed in your work."
 
In Urdu he had written: "maalik terii rajaa rahe aur tuu hi tuu rahe, baakii n maiM rahuuMM n merii aarajuu rahe, jab tak ki tan meM jaan ragoM meM lahuu rahe, teraa hi jikr ho au' teri justajuu rahe."
 
Bismil had written his Autobiography while he was at Gorakhpur jail, three days before he was hanged to death. The full text of his original autobiography is given inSarfaroshi Ki Tamanna (Vol- 3) from page 7 to page 92 whereas other informations about his published literature are available now on Hindi Wikipedia also.
 
  Film adaptations/depictions
 
In the Bollywood movie The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Bismil is depicted as a visionary who ignites in Bhagat Singh the fire of freedom. The character was played by Ganesh Yadav.
 
In another film Rang De Basanti, Bismil was a more significant character played by Atul Kulkarni.
 
Some of the famous songs written by Bismil were also featured in Shaheed, a film by veteran film actor-director Manoj Kumar released in 1965. The chorus songSarfaroshi Ki Tamanna was sung by Mohd. Rafi and others.
 
With Thanks : Wikipedia
 
 
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