History Trivia

Ram Prasad Bismil: A Poet and a Revolutionary

This article focuses on Ram Prasad Bismil’s life, contributions, and legacy as a revolutionary figure in India’s freedom struggle against British colonial control.

Bismil, Ram Prasad

  • Ram Prasad Bismil was born on June 11, 1897, in the district of Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • He aggressively battled against the British Raj and took part in important events such as the Mainpuri Conspiracy in 1918 and the Kakori Train Action in 1925.
  • Bismil founded the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA, afterwards known as the Hindustan Socialist RA) and played a significant role in the organisation.
  • Bismil was executed on December 19, 1927, at the age of 30, for his revolutionary efforts.

Early life and Arya Samaj ties

  • Bismil was born into a Rajput Tomar family and acquired Hindi from his father, Urdu from a neighbourhood maulvi, and also attended an English medium school in Shahjahanpur.
  • Bismil joined the Arya Samaj when he was a boy and went on to become a prolific writer and poet. He utilised pen names such as ‘Agyat’, ‘Ram’, and the well-known ‘Bismil’.
  • “Mera Janm” poetry: At the age of 18, Bismil wrote the poetry “Mera Janm” in response to the death sentence imposed on Arya Samaj missionary Bhai Parmanand.

Major events associated to Bismil

(1) The Conspiracy of Mainpuri

  • Political disillusionment: Bismil became disillusioned with the Congress Party’s moderate side and refused to negotiate or pacify the British.
  • Matrivedi’s formation: Bismil founded the revolutionary organisation Matrivedi and partnered with Genda Lal Dixit, who had contacts with dacoits and planned to use them in the armed conflict.
  • Bismil’s famous poem, “Mainpuri Ki Pratigya,” was widely distributed in booklets throughout the United Provinces. He committed looting in order to raise revenue for his organisation.

(2) Establishment of the Hindustan Republican Association

  • Return to Shahjahanpur: After spending several years underground, Bismil returned to Shahjahanpur in February 1920.
  • HRA formation: Bismil created the Hindustan Republican Association with Ashfaqullah Khan, Sachindra Nath Bakshi, and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee. Later, Bhagat Singh and Chandra Shekhar Azad joined the organisation.
  • Bismil was a key figure in the creation of the manifesto “Krantikari,” which was published on January 1, 1925. The manifesto advocated for an organised and armed revolution to establish the United States of India as a federal republic.

(3) Kakori Train Action

  • The Kakori Train Action’s goal was to rob a train carrying treasury luggage between Shahjahanpur and Lucknow.
  • Action implementation: On August 9, 1925, ten revolutionaries, including Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan, halted the train at Kakori station, overcame the guard, and looted the treasury bags, which contained about Rs 4,600.
  • Consequences and repression: The move elicited both British indignation and conflicting reactions from the Indian population. A rifle misfire led in the unintentional death of a passenger, Ahmad Ali, diminishing public support. Following that, a violent crackdown resulted in the imprisonment of the majority of those involved, with the exception of Chandrashekhar Azad.

Legacy and death

  • Bismil, together with Ashfaqullah Khan and Rajendranath Lahiri, endured a lengthy trial and were eventually sentenced to death.
  • Bismil was executed on December 19, 1927, at the age of 30, leaving behind a legacy of sacrifice and dedication to the cause of freedom.
  • Bismil’s poetry continues to inspire, and his demand for Hindu-Muslim unification stands as a symbol of communal harmony. His revolutionary spirit and genuine concern for society, justice, and equality will be remembered.
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