A Glimpse into the Life and Works of Indian Revolutionaries – Bagha Jatin

By Original uploader was Dwaipayanc at en.wikipedia – Transfered from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3333488

Born on December 8, 1879, Jatindaranath Mukherjee who was famously known as Bagha Jatin was a revolutionary who did not despise the English as much as he despised the wrongs they did. His father, Umeshchandra Mukherjee died when Jatin was five. Following the death of her husband, Jatin’s mother, Sharatshashi, decided to leave their ancestral home in Sadhuhati in modern Bangladesh, and returned to her parents’ home in Kayagram.

He studied at Krishnanagar Anglo Vernacular School and later joined Calcutta Central College to study fine arts. He also took private lessons in steno-typing with Allan John Atkinson who was a master at La Martiniere Boys’ School. He visited Swami Vivekananda who inspired Jatin to take up the revolutionary cause and fight for his country. Swami Vivekanada asked jatin to join the gym of Ambu Guha where the Swami had trained himself.

In 1900, he married Indubala Banerjee, a woman who equally matched the determination of her husband. He came to be known as Bagha Jatin when he killed a Royal Bengal Tiger which was terrorizing the nearby farmlands in his native village. The tiger had badly mauled Jatin before he killed the animal with a Darjeeling dagger known as khukuri. Dr. Sarbadhikari treated his wounds and also spread the news of his valour. Jatin was awarded a silver shield by the Government of Bengal. The shield had engravings that depicted him killing the tiger.

Many people believe that Jatin was the founder of the Anushilan Samiti in 1900. He is known to have introduced a decentralized system which will avoid the persecution of the entire organization if one person is caught. He set up a bomb factory in Deoghar along with Barindra Ghosh. In 1907 he moved to Darjeeling where he worked for the next three years. During the period of his stay in Darjeeling, Jatin established a branch of the Anushilan Samiti named Bandhab Samiti. He also became the leader of several other gangs in Darjeeling.

When the Muzaffarpur bombing orchestrated by the Jugantar Party and carried out by Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki took place, the government immediately suspected Aurobindo Ghosh and Barindra Ghosh of the plot. Eight places in Calcutta were searched and over 30 revolutionaries of the Jugantar party were caught. Jatin, however, was not connected with the bombings and so he took up the position of the leader in the Jugantar Party which had branches spread across Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and even Uttar Pradesh.

In January 1910, revolutionary Biren Datta Gupta, arrested for the assassination of Deputy Superintendent of Police, Shamsul Alam; disclosed Jatin’s name to the police as their leader. On January 27, 1910, Jatin was arrested in connection to the murder but was released and later arrested again along with 46 other revolutionaries in connection with the Howrah-Sibpur conspiracy case (related to the death of Shamsul Alam).

Jatin was released in 1911. He met the German Crown Prince in Calcutta and obtained the promise of procuring German arms for an insurrection. He then asked all members of the Jugantar Party to stop all acts of terror. After entrusting the leadership of the organization in the hands of Atul Krishna Ghose, Jatin left for his home in Jhenaidah where he started a flourishing business of his own. Using the business as his cover, Jatin was able to meet several people and form more groups in order to strike when the time is right.

When World War I broke out, India was experiencing an uprising of its own. Groups of revolutionaries from different parts of the country were gearing up to uproot the British and establish an independent government in India. Jatin played a pivotal role as the leader of the Jugantar Party. Several dacoities were organized by the party in order to collect funds for a large-scale rebellion. The German arms were due to arrive as well.

As the police became more vigilant, it was decided that Jatin should move into hiding for some time. Balasore in Odisha’s shorelines was considered a safe place and was also suitable for receiving the ships carrying German arms. In April 1915, Jatin took up residence in a hideout outside Kaptipada village in Mayurbhanj. He sent one of his associates Naren Bhattacharya to Batavia in order to strike a deal with the German authorities for the supply of arms and financial aid.

It is said that the network used by the German authorities included spies who eventually informed the British of Jatin’s hideout. The British were quick to seal the ports to approaching ships and Jatin’s hideout was raided he managed to escape with his associates and the police continued to search for them till on September 9 1915, they took shelter in a trench on a hillock in Chashakhand, Balasore where the police forces surrounded them. Shots were fired from both sides for seventy-five minutes. Bagha Jatin died in Balasore hospital on September 10, 1915.

It is known that his wife was in denial of his death since he had promised her that he will return. After 22 years, Indubala Devi passed away. For her entire life she had lived and behaved as a married woman, never to accept the death of her husband. Out of respect, her family completed her last rites as if she was a married woman.

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