Chandrashekhar Azad, a firebrand revolutionary, was born on 23rd July, 1906 in Bhavra village, in the present day Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. His forefathers were from Badarka village near Kanpur (in present day Unnao District). His father’s name was Pandit Sita Ram Tiwary and mother’s name was Jagrani devi, who was the third wife of Sita Ram tiwary.
Chandrashekhar Azad, popularly known as Azad also, was a contemporary of Bhagat Singh. He waged a heroic battle against the British rule. He by his heroic deeds inspired the others of his generation to take part in the national freedom movement.
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Early life of Chandrashekhar Azad
After going through his schooling in Bhavra District in Jhabu, Madhya Pradesh he went to the Sanskrit Pathasala at Varanasi because his mother wanted him to be a great Sanskrit scholar and it was his mother who persuaded his father to send him to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Benaras to study.
He was 15 years old when Mahatma Gandhi in December 1921 launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, but still even at that tender age he joined the movement and eventually got arrested. When Azad, as Chandrashekhar Azad was popularly called, was produced before the magistrate he introduced himself by naming himself “Azad” his father’s name as “Swatantra” and his home as “jail”. From that very moment he came to be known as Azad.
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Chandrashekhar Azad as a Revolutionary
When Mahatma Gandhi, after the violent incidents of Chauri Chaura in which some activists had burst police stations, suspended the non-cooperation movement in 1922 Chandrashekhar Azad distanced himself from the path of Mahatma Gandhi and became more aggressive. He vowed to himself to attain complete independence for India from the yoke of British Raj by any means.
As Chandrashekhar Azad was the mentor of Bhagat Singh he along with Azad decided to follow the path of becoming a revolutionary activist; thus they chose the path that was led by the aggressive and violent revolutionary ideals and means.
When Chandrashekhar Azad met Ram Prasad Bismil, through a common friend Pranvesh Chatterji, perhaps during 1924-25, he instantly developed a liking for Bismil who had already made a name amongst the revolutionaries of the day as he had set up the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organization. Chandrashekhar Azad became very much impressed by the aim of the HRA.
The aim of the HRA attracted Azad so much because he himself had a strong belief that the future of India lay in socialism. And the aim of the HRA was to create an independent India with equal rights and opportunities to everyone without discrimination of caste, creed, religious or social status.
His was such a strong personality that within no time he became a prominent active member of HRA. Chandrashekhar Azad engaged himself in the most important work of collecting funds for HRA. It is a well known fact that most of the fund collection of HRA was done through robberies of government property.
Formation of HSRA from HRA
HRA was formed in about 1924, by Bismil Chatterji Sachindra Nath Sanyal and Sachindra Nath Bakshi. After the famous incidence of Kakori train robbery in 1925, the British in an attempt to crush revolutionary activists, arrested Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashafaqulla Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh, etc who were later sentenced to death for taking part in the Kakori Kand. However, Chandrashekhar Azad along with Keshav Chakravarty and Murari Sharma escaped arrest.
After this incident Chandrashekhar Azad, with the help of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdeo, Rajguru and the famous Bhagwati Charan Vora of whom Chandrashekhar Azad was an associate, reorganized the HRA and transformed into Hindustan Socialist Republication Association (HSRA) in 1928. The aim of HSRA was to make an independent India based on the principles of socialism.
Centre of Chandrashekhar Azad’s Activities:
The historic town was the centre of activities of Chandrashekhar Azad. He made the forest of Orchha, located 15 kilometers from Jhansi, a site to practice ‘shooting’ and at this very site imparted training to other member of his group in shooting as he was an expert marksman.
He lives there under the fake name of Pandit Harishankar Brahmchari for a long period. He used to teach the children of a nearby village Dhimarpur. The Dhimarpur village was renamed as Azadpur by the MP government.
Death of a brave son of India
Chandrashekhar Azad accepted death to maintain his pledge of not getting caught alive by British police. He proved that he was the true son of mother India who did not care for his life to keep the honour of the soil of his mother nation.
It was 27 February 1931, when the police surrounded him in Alfred Park in Allahabad, he wounded himself in the altercation with police. After a long shootout, making his ‘pledge true’, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself with his last bullet. The Colt pistol of Azad is in display at the Allahabad Museum.
Alfred Park, where Chandrashekhar Azad became mystery, has been renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park. Throughout the counting there are many schools, colleges, parks, roads other public institutions of importance are also named after him reminding the world that a brave, courageous and revolutionary son of India is still living in the hearts of millions of Indians, and democracy lovers; as this man himself lived and died like a ‘free soul.’