- The Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), previously known as the Hindustan Republican Army and the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), was a revolutionary organization founded in India. Its founding members included notable figures such as Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Sachindra Nath Bakshi, Sachindranath Sanyal, and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee.
- In the infamous Kakori conspiracy case of 1924, the HRA’s written constitution and a manifesto titled “The Revolutionary” were presented as evidence. These documents provided insights into the organization’s structure, goals, and revolutionary ideology.
- The HSRA played a significant role in the revolutionary movement during that time, advocating for the overthrow of British rule in India. They believed in the use of armed resistance and revolutionary actions to achieve their nationalist objectives.
- The Kakori conspiracy case marked a crucial moment in the HSRA’s history, as it exposed the organization’s activities and led to the arrest and subsequent trial of its members. The case received considerable attention and had a profound impact on the nationalist movement in India, further highlighting the existence of revolutionary groups and their determination to fight for independence.
Background of Hindustan Republican Association
- The Non-Cooperation Movement, abruptly suspended by Mahatma Gandhi, triggered a wave of discontent among revolutionaries in India. This decision left many young men, who were enthusiastic about fighting against the government, disillusioned.
- Nonviolence, as advocated by Gandhi, did not resonate with these young men. They believed that force and violence were necessary to drive the British out of the country and achieve independence.
- Simultaneously, global events were unfolding with uprisings, bloody revolutions, and coups taking place in various parts of the world. These events served as inspiration for the revolutionary sentiment in India.
- In this context, the dormant organizations of Yugantar and Anushilan Samiti were revived, and a new generation of terroristic revolutionaries emerged from the dissatisfied and disgruntled non-cooperators.
- A group of these young men met in a village in East Bengal, including individuals like Pratul Ganguly, Narendra Mohan Sen, and Sachindra Nath Sanyal. They established a branch of the Anushilan Samiti in this village, choosing the name Hindustan Republican Association, inspired by the Irish Republican Army.
- The formation of the Hindustan Republican Association marked a turning point, as a new breed of revolutionaries emerged with a firm belief in armed struggle and the use of violence to attain their nationalist goals.
Formation of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA):
- The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed with the efforts of Ram Prasad Bismil in Allahabad in 1923, under the guidance of Lala Har Dayal, a prominent nationalist leader.
- Prominent members of the party included Sachindra Nath Sanyal and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, who played significant roles in its activities and ideology.
- Apart from Allahabad, the HRA established centres in various cities, including Agra, Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Shahjahanpur, and Saharanpur. It also operated bomb-making plants in Calcutta and Deogarh, emphasizing its commitment to armed resistance.
- Sanyal took the responsibility of writing the party’s manifesto, titled ‘Revolutionary.’ This manifesto contained provocative content aimed at motivating the country’s youth to join the party and actively participate in the struggle for freedom. It opposed the methods advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and criticized them for being ineffective.
- The manifesto outlined the HRA’s vision for post-independence India, aiming to establish a “Federal Republic of the United States of India” once British rule was overthrown. It also called for universal suffrage and advocated for a socialist society in India.
- The HRA’s pamphlets, including the manifesto, were widely distributed in several cities in northern India, spreading their revolutionary message.
- During 1924-1925, many young individuals joined the party, including notable figures like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Chandrasekhar Azad. These young revolutionaries played crucial roles in the HRA’s activities and became key figures in the Indian independence movement.
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) consisted of several prominent members, including:
- Ram Prasad Bismil: Bismil was one of the key founders of the HRA. He played a significant role in drafting the organization’s constitution and was actively involved in its activities.
- Ashfaqulla Khan: Khan was an influential member of the HRA and played a vital role in its operations. He was involved in the Kakori conspiracy case and was one of the central figures in the revolutionary activities of the HRA.
- Sachindra Nath Bakshi: Bakshi was an active member of the HRA and contributed to its activities. He worked closely with other members of the organization in furthering their revolutionary objectives.
- Sachindranath Sanyal: Sanyal, another important member, was involved in the ideological aspects of the HRA. He played a role in writing the party’s manifesto and was instrumental in shaping its revolutionary vision.
- Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee: Chatterjee was a member of the HRA and contributed to its activities. He worked alongside other members to advance the goals of the organization.
- Chandrasekhar Azad: Azad, also known as Chandrasekhar Azad, was an influential member of the HRA. He played a pivotal role in its armed activities and became one of the prominent figures in the Indian independence movement.
- Bhagat Singh: Singh, a well-known revolutionary, joined the HRA in the later years. He played a significant role in the activities of the organization and became one of its most prominent members.
- These individuals, among others, were key members of the Hindustan Republican Association and played crucial roles in the organization’s revolutionary activities during the Indian independence movement.
- Yugantar, also known as Jugantar, was the most influential revolutionary terrorist organization in colonial Bengal during that time. It was established by Barindra Kumar Ghosh, who was the younger brother of Aurobindo Ghosh and a renowned revolutionary and journalist in India.
- In April 1906, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, along with Bhupendranath Datta and with advice from Aurobindo Ghosh, formed an inner circle within the Calcutta Anushilan Samiti. They launched a weekly publication called Jugantar, which served as the mouthpiece of the militant nationalists.
- The organization derived its name from Jugantar, reflecting the ideology and spirit of the militant nationalists.
- Barindra Kumar Ghosh was determined to free India from British colonial rule. He believed in using religious inspiration combined with acts of violence, justifying assassinations of British officials in the name of human happiness.
- Under his leadership, Yugantar launched a vigorous anti-Partition movement, fueled by revolutionary zeal. Barindra and his twenty-one followers procured weapons and explosives and began manufacturing bombs, laying the foundation for the Jugantar terrorist organization.
- Yugantar played a significant role in the revolutionary activities of Bengal during the colonial era, advocating for the overthrow of British rule through armed resistance and acts of violence.
Activities of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and Hindustan Republican Socialist Association (HSRA):
- Kakori Conspiracy: The Kakori conspiracy, which took place on August 9, 1925, is one of the most well-known incidents associated with the HRA. Members of the party looted a train carrying government funds near Lucknow. Unfortunately, an unintended passenger was killed during the incident. Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and Thakur Roshan Singh were among those involved. All four were eventually hanged by the government in 1927. Chandrasekhar Azad was also involved but managed to escape arrest.
- Name Change to HSRA: In 1928, the party changed its name to the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association (HSRA) primarily due to the insistence of Bhagat Singh, a prominent member.
- Central Assembly Bombing: On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt carried out the Central Assembly bombing in Delhi as an act of protest. Their aim was to make a statement and draw attention to their cause rather than cause harm to anyone. No casualties occurred as a result of the bombing. However, both revolutionaries were arrested for their involvement. During their arrest, they chanted slogans such as ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (Long Live Revolution) and ‘Down with Imperialism.’
- Train Bombing: In 1929, the HSRA bombed a train carrying Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India at the time. Fortunately, Lord Irwin was unharmed in the incident.
- Disintegration: By 1931, the majority of the party’s leaders had either been killed or imprisoned. With the absence of leadership, the party gradually disintegrated.
- These activities, including the Kakori Conspiracy, the Central Assembly bombing, and the train bombing, were notable events associated with the Hindustan Republican Association and its later iteration, the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association.
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) had several objectives:
- Establishing a Federated Republic of the United States of India: The primary goal of the HRA was to establish a sovereign and independent nation by overthrowing British rule. They aimed to create a “Federated Republic of the United States of India” as a form of government.
- Challenging Gandhian Nonviolence: The HRA aimed to awaken the Indian people to what they saw as the ineffectiveness of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent methods. They sought to demonstrate the necessity and desirability of direct action and revolution in order to achieve complete independence.
- Replacement of British Imperialism with the Socialist Republic: Inspired by the Russian Revolution and socialist ideologies, the HRA envisioned replacing British imperialism in India with an ideologically driven, federated republic. They aimed to establish a new political system based on socialist thought.
- Tactics of the HRA: The HRA employed various tactics to achieve its objectives, including targeting and killing officials, organizing political dacoities (robberies) to raise funds, engaging in acts of terrorism against British authorities and their loyalists, and organizing strikes against the British colonial rule.
- Socialistic Perspective: Despite being categorized as a revolutionary terrorist organization (with the understanding that the term “terrorist” carried a different connotation at that time), the HRA’s ideological perspective was rooted in socialism. They aimed to establish the United States of India by deposing the British colonial rulers.
- The HRA’s objectives and ideology attracted young champions such as Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and many others who joined the organization in pursuit of these goals.
Hindustan Republican Association – Criticism
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) faced criticism, particularly from Mahatma Gandhi and his followers, for their violent methods. The following are some of the key criticisms raised against the HRA:
- Opposition to Nonviolence: The HRA’s methods were in direct contrast to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance. Gandhi strongly criticized the revolutionaries and their use of violence as a means to achieve independence.
- “The Cult of the Bomb”: In response to an attack on Lord Irwin’s train, Gandhi published an article titled “The Cult of the Bomb” in his publication Young India on January 2, 1929. In this article, Gandhi harshly criticized the HSRA. He described bomb-throwing as mere surface agitation, labelling it as “froth rising to the surface of an agitated liquid.”
- Gandhi’s Critique: Gandhi referred to the HSRA and their actions as “cowardly” and “dastardly.” He argued that resorting to violence would result in further retaliation and suffering, both from the colonial authorities and potentially within the Indian society itself. Gandhi expressed concerns that violence against foreign rulers could easily transition into violence against fellow Indians.
- HSRA’s Defense: In response to Gandhi’s criticism, the HSRA issued its own manifesto titled “The Philosophy of the Bomb.” In this manifesto, they defended their violent methods and argued that their actions were complementary to Gandhi’s nonviolent methods. They sought to justify the use of violence as a necessary means to counter British oppression and achieve freedom.
- The criticisms primarily revolved around the ideological clash between the nonviolent resistance advocated by Gandhi and the violent revolutionary tactics employed by the HRA.
HSRA: Hindustan Socialist Republican Association
- After the Kakori Conspiracy case, revolutionary ranks were decimated. But soon a new batch of young men from Punjab & UP who also came under the influence of socialism met at Pherozshah Kotla on 9 Sept 1928 & reorganised HRA as HSRA
- The founders were Bhagat Singh, Bhatukeshwar Dutt, Sukhdev etc.
1. Saunders murder or Lahore conspiracy case, December 1928
- HSRA was rapidly moving away from individual heroic action and assassination and towards mass politics. Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, as the result of a brutal lathi-charge when he was leading an anti-Simon Commission demonstration at Lahore on 30 October 1928, led them once again to take to the individual assassination
- He was killed by Bhagat Singh, Azad and Raj Guru
- They justified their actions through posters saying that the murder of a leader respected by millions at the unworthy hands of ordinary police officials was an insult to the nation
Note: They wanted to kill Scott
2. Bomb in the central legislative assembly, April 1929
- HSRA decided to let people know about its changed objectives & need for revolution by the masses.
- Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the central assembly to create awareness among people against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill (to strike hard against Communist Lockdowns during the Depression ) which would reduce the civil liberties of citizens in general and workers in particular.
- The aim was not to kill, for the bombs were relatively harmless, but, as the leaflet they threw into the Assembly hail proclaimed, ‘to make the deaf hear & to get arrested & use trial court as a forum for propaganda
3. Assembly Bomb Case
- Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt was tried in the Assembly Bomb Case. Then the police were able to uncover the details of Saunders’s assassination and Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, and several others were tried in the Lahore Conspiracy case.
- Bhagat Singh and his comrades turned the court into a forum of propaganda.
- Their statements were published in the newspapers and widely discussed by the people. Their defiant and courageous conduct in the court won them the admiration of the people. Even believers in non-violence loved them for their patriotism.
4. Activity in the jail
- Nearly 100 revolutionaries arrested from HSRA fought for treatment as political prisoners by keeping fast. Jatin Das died on the 64th day of his fast
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Raj Guru were hung on 23/03/1931 as capital punishment for Lahore conspiracy case
- As news of their hanging spread, a death-like silence engulfed the entire nation. Bhagat Singh soon became a legend in the country with popularity rivalling that of Gandhi
5. Viceroy bomb case
- Azad was involved in an attempt to blow the train in which viceroy Irwin was travelling
- He killed himself in a park in Allahabad in February 1931 to avoid arrest by police
Ideological Development of North Indian Revolutionaries
- 1925 Manifesto had set forth its objective ie establishment of the Federal Republic of the United States of India by an organised & armed revolution
- The basic principle of the republic would be Universal Adult Suffrage & abolition of all systems that make the exploitation of man by man possible
- It advocated the nationalisation of railways & large-scale industries such as steel, shipbuilding & mines
Bhagat Singh & HSRA
- Major shift – All revolutionaries of HSRA turned to Socialism & Marxism & this shift is epitomised by the life & thoughts of Bhagat Singh (through his letters, statements & writings)
Q. When was the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) established?
Ans. The Hindustan Republican Association was established on October 1924.
Q. Tell me more about the Hindustan Republican Army in 1924.
Ans. The Hindustan Republican Army (HRA) was an armed revolutionary organization formed in 1924 as a part of the Hindustan Republican Association. It aimed to achieve India’s independence from British colonial rule through revolutionary means.
Q. Hindustan Republican Association ka gathan kab hua tha?
Ans. Hindustan Republican Association ka gathan 1924 mein hua tha.
Q. Who were the founders of the Hindustan Republican Association?
Ans. The founders of the Hindustan Republican Association included Ram Prasad Bismil, Sachindra Nath Sanyal, and others. They were prominent figures in India’s struggle for independence.
Q. Hindustan Republican Association ki sthapna ke bare me bataiye.
Ans. Hindustan Republican Association ki sthapna 1924 mein hui thi. Iska uddeshya Bharat ko British shasan se swatantrata dilane ke liye krantikari upayon ka sahara lena tha.
Q. Who were some of the key members of the Hindustan Republican Association?
Ans. Key members of the Hindustan Republican Association included Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, and several other revolutionary leaders who played a vital role in the Indian independence movement.
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