“Ekbar Biday de Maa ghure ashi” (Mother, bid me farewell once, I will be back soon,) …Khudiram Bose the Unsung Freedom Fighter

Khudiram Bose was a brave freedom fighter who fought for the Independence of our country. He was one of the youngest revolutionaries of the Indian Independence movement.

 Khudiram Bose was born on 3rd December 1889, he was from a small village called Mohobani which was located in West Bengal’s Medinipur (then Midnapore) district.

During his childhood, he faced tremendous hardship. At the age of 6 years, he lost his mother and lost his father just after.  Later, he was taken care off by his elder sister.

In the early 1990s, he was inspired and inclined towards revolutionary activities by listening to the lectures of Sri Aurobindo and his Sister Nivedita in Midnapore.

When Bengal was partitioned in 1905, he participated in several protests against the British. At the age of 15, he would know how to make bombs and plant them near police stations. Around the same time, he was first arrested for distributing literature against the colonial rulers.

At the age of 18, he was arrested for trying to assassinate British Judge Douglas Kingsford, who was a magistrate in Bengal. His tortuous clamping down on revolutionaries had earned him the ire of this young group of nationalists who decided to hurl a bomb on him.

There were multiple plans and attempts to assassinate Kingsford. Initially, the plan was to throw the bomb in the court. However, after much deliberation, it was decided to avoid the court since a lot of civilians might get injured.

Thereafter, on April 30, 1908, Bose threw a bomb on a carriage that he suspected was carrying Kingsford. But it turned out that it was carrying the wife and daughter of a barrister named Pringle Kennedy, who lost their lives, as Kingsford escaped.

However, the entire town got aware of the incident, and orders were given to the Calcutta Police to arrest the duo at the earliest. Bose was arrested from a railway station called Waini where he had reached the next morning after having walked 25 miles. Chaki on the other hand, killed himself before he could get arrested.

As Bose was arrested and brought handcuffed to the police station at Muzaffarpur, the entire town was crowded and amazed to see such a young boy at the age of 18 or 19 tried to kill someone, who looked quiet and determined.

Finally, when the cops arrested him, Bose came out of a first-class compartment and walked to the phaeton, kept for him outside, like a cheerful boy who knows no anxiety… on taking his seat the boy cheerfully cried ‘Vandemataram’.” Bose took full responsibility for the incident.

On May 21, 1908, the historic trial of Bose began presided by Judge Corndoff, Nathuni Prasad, and Janak Prasad in the Jury. Bose’s lawyer Narendra Kumar argued that he was too young to be able to make bombs. However, the judges had evidence of more revolutionary activities planned.

On July 13, 1908, Bose was finally sentenced to death. When the English judge asked him if he understood the meaning of the sentence, Bose is known to have smiled and calmly said, “Yes, I do and my lawyer said that I was too young to make bombs. If you allow me some time before I’m taken away from here, I can teach you the skills of making bombs too.” This shows how courageous he was.

After the hearing, the streets of Calcutta swelled up in large protests by the student community for several days but nothing succeeded as he was sentenced to hang till death.

When he was sentenced to death, Bose accepted the verdict with a smile, much to the shock of the English judge. He was eventually hanged to death on 11 August 1908.

His sacrifice for the country can never remain unnoticed. He became an inspiration and icon for generations. A young fighter gave up his life willingly and with a smile only with the hope to free his country and its citizens. 

Any mention of Bose is incomplete without an ode to the famous song penned by poet Pitambar Das in his honor.

Young Bose’s fearlessness, bravery, and love for his motherland have been aptly captured in Das’ immortal song that opens with these powerful lines: Ekbar biday de Maa ghure ashi, Hashi hashi porbo phasi dekhbe bharatbasi (Mother, bid me farewell once, I will be back soon, India will watch me while I wear the noose with a smile).

A Salute to the hero on the 75th Anniversary of Indias’ Independence.

                                                “Jai Hind”

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