This time they have targeted the great martyr Khudiram Bose for assassinating his character. Allegations against him were the same as they levelled against Veer Savarkar. They said that Khudiram had also petitioned for mercy so that the ?death by hanging? order of the court could be avoided. Savarkar was different. He was a follower of Shivaji. Veer Savarkar in one of his articles on Shivaji wrote: ?He was boldness and bravery incarnate yet, whenever he saw that bravery and courage was going against the self-accepted aim of national freedom; and that the prudence in place of gallantry, ingenuity in place of might and uncouthness in place of majesty was more useful in achieving the accepted task, he would bend down. He would do so in such a manner that judging by that instance only, the meanest and commonest men may regard themselves more brave than Shivaji.?
But when the Communist fellow-travellers were up in arms to assassinate the character of Veer Savarkar, one of his biographers wrote: ?It seems some have taken it as his begging for pardon. The promise to cooperate with government should not be accepted verbatim? It was his move to get free, conditionally or unconditionally instead of rotting in Andamans for next 50 years? A pragmatic strategy and to achieve success in this move he was alluring government by giving promises of co-operation etc. The game continued until 1937?. With this the over enthusiastic communists became fused and gave up their campaign against Savarkar.
Now the same set of people (of course, names are different, but party is same) has started spewing venom against Khudiram Bose. What a shame on the part of these detractors. It is a known history that he had never ?appealed for mercy? from the tyrant British government. On the contrary, Khudiram had admitted that he had thrown bomb on the vehicle of District Magistrate of Muzaffarpur Mr. Kingsford and there was no question of any kind of rethinking on that. His approach was straightforward.
Khudiram Bose belonged to Midnapore district of Bengal. Aurobindo Ghose after coming back from Baroda had started ?Gupt Samiti? in Manicktala, Kolkata, in 1907. Its branches had spread throughout Bengal. Aurobindo had taken up the responsibility of Midnapore district to recruit new revolutionaries and give them training. Khudiram had joined this group and done the works assigned to him. When Khudiram was only 16 years old he was arrested by the police while distributing leaflets of the revolutionary Gupt Samiti. But in court, considering the tender age of Khudiram, the judge had set him free.
After this incident Khudiram had shifted his place of activity to Kolkata. Gupt Samiti at that time was running two news magazines to rouse patriotic sentiments among people. The name of the English magazine was Vande Mataram and the Bengali one was known as Yugantar. On June 27, 1907, Aurobindo wrote an article in Vande Mataram under the title ?Politics for Indians?. This article was translated and published in Yugantar. Foreign rulers considered this as an objectionable article. Although the magazines were edited by Aurobindo, but his name was not published as editor. The police could not find any proof to that effect. So they had arrested few revolutionaries. Trial of these persons was to take place at the Chief Presidency Magistrate'scourt in Kolkata. Kingsford was Chief Presidency Magistrate at that time. Huge crowd gathered in the court room during the trial. Magistrate Kingsford ordered to vacate the court room. But people were shouting Vande Mataram from outside the court. Even after the order of Kingsford to stop shouting slogans, it was going on. At that point of time one Sushil Sen was arrested, Magistrate ordered to beat him by cane 50 times. Sushil Sen was bleeding but still he was going on shouting Vande Mataram on each beating. This scene was so brutal and pathetic that people were fuming with rage. British rulers could read the mind of the raging people. They immediately transferred the Magistrate to Muzaffarpur. On the other hand Gupt Samiti had decided to take revenge. They assigned this work to Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki. They arrived at Muzaffarpur on April 30, 1908 at 8-30 p.m. Khudiram had thrown the bomb on the carriage of Kingsford. Luckily for him Kingsford was not in the carriage. So he was saved, but two others died. Khudiram was arrested and after trial death order was pronounced. But Prafulla Chaki had killed himself by his own service revolver while he was surrounded by the police at Mokamah Ghat Station.
But on the eve of the centenary of Khudiram'smartyrdom on August 11, 2008, (Khudiram was hanged on August 11, 1908) these crooked people published a series of articles in different newspapers published from Kolkata, saying Khudiram was an immature boy to understand the implications of such an act. So it was very easy for those leaders, living in the background, to misguide them according to their wish and will and put them into trouble. All sorts of derogatory words have been used against this great freedom fighter. The people who have sarcastically depicted the character of Khudiram are all ?fellow travellers?, some are card holders of Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In the words of Shri Sobhan Tarafdar, (Published on 12.08.08 in Anandabazar Patrika, largest circulated Bengali daily of Kolkata) Khudiram was a misguided patriot. He has further written, for modern Bengali youths ?Khudiram? is a synonym for ?fool?. ?Am I a Khudiram to die so foolishly?, ?Do not try to make me a Khudiram? etc. His name has become a subject for jokes. Then the writer concludes by saying: ?Khudiram had already become a legendary figure by sacrificing his life on gallows. For now, the above mentioned jokes about him have made him immortal. Now-a-days nobody wants to be a Khudiram which is nothing but total rejection of Khudiram?. The writer did not stop here. He went on saying, ?It is actually a foolish proposition to become a Khudiram. Because the idealism he followed and ultimately for which he had sacrificed his life, was it worth it? What benefit he or his countrymen has got through this sacrifice?that is the question people ask?.
This is the way how they want to demolish the centres of our faith and reverence. They think that ?character assassination? is a very effective weapon in this field. But they forget that nothing can be achieved through false and untruth. Another writer, Ashok Kumar Mukherjee, wrote an article in the same newspaper (Anandabazar Patrika on August 17, 2008) to bring home the argument that Khudiram was a good and innocent boy. But he was misguided by the senior leaders who were actually selfish and parochial minded. Boys like Khudiram were easy prey to their ill motive. As if Khudiram did not accept this ideology of sacrificing life for the cause of Motherland by his own wish. As if he was prevailed and influenced by his senior leaders and Khudiram had no other way out but to carry out their order. As if Khudiram did not know what Motherland means to a person. As if he was unaware of the fact that his Motherland was under British rule. But no, the writer has a definite motive to show that the martyrdom of Khudiram was an accident and there was nothing high or special about it. So, why there should be any centenary celebration in memory of Khudiram'smartyrdom? So, why Khudiram should be specially treated as a youngest freedom fighter? Many such questions were posed by him.
There was a third news article published in the Kolkata edition of Times of India, (12.08.08) where they quoted Prof. Atish Dasgupta, newly appointed Director of West Bengal State Archives, saying a team of researchers have found it out through Police records that the young revolutionary Khudiram Bose had appealed for mercy during the trial and begged for his life. The judge did not pay any heed to his appeal because it was too late.
Atish is twin brother of Asim Dasgupta, Finance Minister of West Bengal and Atish is a card-holder member of CPI (M). He has further mentioned in his interview with the reporter of TOI that it is not yet known whether Khudiram was persuaded by his lawyer to submit such petition or not. He further said when Khudiram was repeatedly asked by the judge whether he had understood the judgment by which he would be hanged, Khudiram shook his head positively. But when he learnt that his said appeal was turned down he became extraordinarily calm and detached from the outward world.
This was practically a motivated comment which he had made with a purpose to denigrate the character of Khudiram in the eyes of people although this is a fact that comment like this is usually made by willful speakers to provide for an escape route through which they could save themselves.
A third article on Khudiram was published on August 11, 2008 in Ganashakti, a Bengali daily of Kolkata. This was written by historian Amalendu De. He had depicted the true picture of Khudiram'slife. He wrote in his article: ?Khudiram had turned down the proposal of his lawyer to appeal to the judge for mercy. He was not ready to say that he was innocent; instead he asserted that he had thrown the bomb to kill Magistrate Kingsford. But unfortunately Kingsford was not there in that carriage and two innocent women died. He was responsible for this. He was deeply moved by this death. But when he heard that Kingsford was still living, he was very much agitated as he could not fulfill his mission.
?At the very outset of the trial at Muzaffarpur, the lawyer asked him whether he was afraid of death sentence, Khudiram laughed at it and said he had gone through Gita which taught him not to fear death. Throughout the period Khudiram was calm and quite. When the death sentence was actually pronounced, Khudiram had completely detached himself from the worldly affairs. On the repeated query by the judge, he replied in affirmative voice that he knew the judgment pronounced by him. On August 11, 1908 Khudiram was hanged in Muzaffarpur jail. Just before hanging Khudiram smiled at the person who had put on the mask on his head?.
(The author is a former Member of Press Council of India and can be contacted at 13/B, S.N. Chatterjee Road, Kolkata-700 038.)