By Unknown photographer – Directorate of State Archive, East Bengal, Kolkata., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27428075
Several revolutionaries suffered brutal torture in the hands of the British. Bones were often broken, and nails pulled out in order to gain information about other revolutionaries or of upcoming raids and bombings. Surya Sen was one of the revolutionaries who was tortured excruciatingly before being taken to the gallows. It is said that the British did not even give his body to his friends and family for a proper funeral. Instead, they saw it fit to put Surya Sen’s body in a metal cask and throw it in the Bay of Bengal.
Born on March 22 1894, Surya Kumar Sen lived in Naopara, Chittagong. He studied at the Berhampore College where he first started to learn about the revolutionaries and how several young men and women had taken up arms against the British. He joined the Anushilan Samiti and realized that armed resistance could become a means towards attaining India freedom.
In 1918, Surya Sen returned to Chittagong and started working as a Mathematics teacher at the National School, Nandankanan. He started recruiting young revolutionaries of the region and motivating people to support India’s struggle for freedom.
Sen realized that the lack of adequate ammunitions made it difficult for the revolutionaries to fight against the British. This is why he felt that Guerilla War tactics could prove helpful in fighting against colonial rule.
He is famously known for the Chittagong Armoury Raid which took place on April 18, 1930. The plan was to raid the armoury, confiscate the arms and ammunitions, hoist the Indian national flag and cut Chittagong from the rest of the world by destroying all means of communication – telephone, telegraph and railway.
For most part, the raid was successful, but the 65 revolutionaries who had taken part in the raid were not able to find any ammunitions. After hoisting the Indian National Flag, they retreated to the nearby village regions. The British, who were aware that the revolutionaries did not have ammunitions, searched the nearby regions and killed 12 revolutionaries in a fight that took place at the Jalalabad Hills. Several other revolutionaries were arrested, but Sen had managed to escape.
For a long time, Sen lived in hiding trying to evade the police. He was eventually captured in 1933 when Surya Sen took shelter in the house of Netra Sen. The latter informed the police which led to Surya Sen’s capture. Netra Sen’s wife was a big supporter of Surya Sen. This is why, when a revolutionary came to Netra Sen’s house and cut off Netra Sen’s head with a long knife, his wife chose not to reveal the murderer’s identity to the police.
Tarkeshwar Dastidar who was the new president of the Jugantar Party in Chittagong devised a plan to rescue Surya Sen from the Chittagong Jail but the British were extremely vigilant and they learnt about the plot before it could be carried out. Tarkeshwar Dastidar was arrested along with Kalpana Dutta.
Surya Sen and Tarkeshwar Dastidar were hanged to death on Januray 12, 1934.