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Remembering Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil on His 120th Birth Anniversary

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Ram Prasad Bismil  (11 June 1897 – 19 December 1927) was a revolutionary struggled against British imperialism. As well as being a freedom fighter, he was 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.

Bismil was one of the founding members of the revolutionary organization Hindustan Republican Association HRA.

 Ram Prasad Bismil was born on 11 June 1897 at Shahjahanpur (UP).  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. The incident is known as the “Mainpuri Conspiracy”. 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.

Bismil is a district in Turkey named after fierce freedom fighter Pt.Ram Prasad Bismil. Historians have discovered that in order to rehabitat the immigrated people coming together around Konya in 1936, the sixth district of Diyarbakir was established and named as Bismil to commemorate a fierce freedom fighter and a patriotic poet of India Pt.Ram Prasad Bismil by the Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha alias Kemal Ataturk who is popularly known as founder of the Republic of Turkey. Ram Prasad Bismil had written an article in the Hindi magazine Prabha about him under the title Vijayee Kemal Pasha i.e. Victorious Kemal Pasha and later on an appraisal in his autobiography..

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. 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 9 August 1925 and is known as the Kakori conspiracy. 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 accidentally a passenger Ahmed Ali, who got down the train to see his wife in ladies compartment, was killed in this rapid action.

More than 40 revolutionaries were arrested whereas only 10 persons had taken part in the decoity. Persons completely unrelated to the incident were also captured. However some of them were let off. The government appointed Jagat Narain Mulla as public prosecuter at an incredible fee. The men were found guilty and subsequent appeals failed. Following 18 months of legal process, Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri   were sentenced to death. Bismil was hanged on 19 December 1927 at Gorakhpur   Jail. Bismil’s body was taken to the Rapti river for a Hindu cremation, and the site became known as Rajghat.

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