Khudiram Bose was a freedom fighter who laid down his life for the country’s Independence from British Rule. Sirf News recalls his valour on the death anniversary of the second-youngest warrior for independence whose execution fills the nation with pathos and pride at the same time.
Born on 3 December 1889, in Mohobani village of West Bengal’s Medinipur (then Midnapore) district, Khudiram Bose was just 18 when he was executed. It was 11 August 1908, when Khudiram Bose attained martyrdom.
Khudiram Bose lost his mother when he was just 6. His father passed away a year later. He then came in contact with revolutionaries like Barindra Kumar Ghosh of Calcutta and he became a volunteer in the freedom struggle when he was only 15-year-old.
The colonial rulers nabbed him for distributing anti-British booklets to the local people. When Bose was 16-years-old, he targeted the British colonial state’s officials and participated in planting bombs near police stations.
In April 1908, Bose, along with his fellow revolutionary Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb on a carriage in Muzzafarpur, with the intention to assassinate Chief Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford. The duo, however, erroneously killed two women who were travelling in the carriage.
Chaki shot himself dead before the police could nab him while Khudiram Bose was arrested, put on trial, and later sentenced to death after being held guilty of making an attempt on the British judge’s life.
Bose was part of the famed Anushilan Samiti in what was then Calcutta. He was just over the age of 18 when he was hanged, which makes him one of the youngest freedom fighters of India who sacrificed his life for the nation.
Khudiram, along with Prafulla Chaki, attempted to assassinate a British judge, Magistrate Douglas Kingsford, by throwing bombs on the carriage they suspected the man was in. Magistrate Kingsford, however, was seated in a different carriage, and the throwing of bombs resulted in the deaths of two British women. Prafulla fatally shot himself before the arrest. Khudiram was arrested and trialed for the murder of the two women, ultimately being sentenced to death. He was one of the first freedom fighters in Bengal to be executed by Britishers.
At the time of his hanging, Khudiram was 18 years, 8 months, and 11 days, 10 hours old making him one of the 2nd youngest revolutionaries in India. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, however, denounced his violence ― rather than the merciless brutality of the British rulers ― lamenting the deaths of the two women. He stated, “… the Indian people will not win their freedom through these methods.”
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his newspaper Kesari, defended the two young men and called for immediate swaraj. This was followed by the immediate arrest of Tilak by the British colonial government on charges of sedition.
The Amrita Bazar Patrika, one of the prominent dailies of that era, carried the story of the hanging the next day, on 12 August. Under the headline “Khudiram’s End: Died cheerful and smiling” the newspaper wrote:
“Khudiram’s execution took place at 6 AM this morning. He walked to the gallows firmly and cheerfully and even smiled when the cap was drawn over his head.”
An established British newspaper, The Empire, wrote:
“Khudiram Bose was executed this morning… It is alleged that he mounted the scaffold with his body erect. He was cheerful and smiling.”