Chandra Shekhar Azad was one of India’s most famous revolutionary freedom fighters.
He organized and led a band of youth against the British during India’s independence movement.
Chandrashekhar was born on 23 July 1906 in Madhya Pradesh.
His mother wanted her son to be a Sanskrit scholar and sent him to Kashi for that purpose.
Chandrashekhar was drawn into the India’s freedom movement at a young age.
He was caught by the police at the age of just 15 when he was participating in Gandhi’s non co-operation movement at Varanasi.
On being presented before a magistrate, he gave his name as “Azad” (The Free), his father’s name as “Swatantrata” (Independence) and his residence as “Jail”.
From that day onwards, he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad among the people.
Changed his Path
Azad felt very disappointed when Gandhiji suspended the non-cooperation movement in 1922, after a mob’s violent act against the police.
Azad turned aggressive and joined the radical Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).
He later reorganized it under a new name, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
In 1925, Azad participated in the Kakori Train Robbery.
The following year, he was involved in the attempt to blow up the train of Viceroy of India.
In 1928, he shot dead a senior British police officer, J. P. Saunders at Lahore to avenge the killing of veteran freedom fighter, Lala Lajpat Rai.
A Master of Disguise
Since Azad had become “a wanted man,” he shifted to Jhansi and lived there under the alias of a Pandit.
He started shooting practice and became an expert marksman.
Azad kept eluding the police and its informants for several years.
Azad also met Bhagat Singh and both vowed to achieve their primary aim of an independent India.
Met a Brave end.
The police finally got to know the whereabouts of Azad in Feb. 1931 after one of Azad’s old companions turned traitor.
On 27th Feb. that year they surrounded him and a companion in a park at Allahabad.
Though Azad got wounded himself, he helped the latter to escape.
After his ammunition got finished, Azad instead of surrendering, shot himself to death.
Azad had left a lasting legacy on Indians.
Several schools, colleges, roads, and other public institutions across India are named after him.
His character has been portrayed by famous Bollywood actors on the screen.