Nationalism and violence - and Sacrifice Anushilan Samiti

Sep 12, 2021 - 06:57

The Dhaka Anushilan Samiti broke with the Jugantar group in West Bengal due to disagreements with Aurobindo's approach of slowly building a mass base for revolution. The Dhaka group instead sought immediate action and results through political terrorism.[citation needed] The two branches of the Samiti engaged in dacoity to raise money, and performed a number of political assassinations.

In December 1907, the Bengal branch derailed a train carrying Bengal Lieutenant Governor Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser in a plot led by the Ghosh brothers. In the same month, the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti assassinated former Dhaka district magistrate D. C. Allen.

The following year, the Samiti engineered eleven assassinations, seven attempted assassinations and explosions and eight dacoities in West Bengal. Their targets included British police officials and civil servants, Indian police officers, informants, public prosecutors of political crimes, and wealthy families.

Under Barin Ghosh's direction, the Samiti's members also attempted to assassinate French colonial officials in Chandernagore who were seen as complicit with the Raj. Anushilan Samiti established early links with foreign movements and Indian nationalists abroad. In 1907, Barin Ghosh sent Hem Chandra Kanungo (Hem Chandra Das) to Paris to learn bomb-making from Nicholas Safranski, a Russian revolutionary in exile.

In 1908, young recruits Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were sent on a mission to Muzaffarpur to assassinate chief presidency magistrate D. H. Kingsford.[citation needed] They bombed a carriage they mistook for Kingsford's, killing two Englishwomen. Bose was arrested while attempting to flee and Chaki committed suicide. Police investigation of the killers connected them with Barin's country house in Manicktala (a suburb of Calcutta) and led to a number of arrests, including Aurobindo and Barin.

The ensuing trial, held under tight security, led to a death sentence for Barin (later commuted to life imprisonment). The case against Aurobindo Ghosh collapsed after Naren Gosain, who had turned crown witness, was shot in Alipore jail by Satyendranath Basu and Kanailal Dutta, who were also being tried.[citation needed] Aurobindo retired from active politics after being acquitted.[13] This was followed by a 1909 Dhaka conspiracy case, which brought 44 members of the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti to trial.

Nandalal Bannerjee (the officer who arrested Khudiram) was shot and killed in 1908, followed by the assassinations of the prosecutor and informant for the Alipore case in 1909. After Aurobindo's retirement, the western Anushilan Samiti found a more prominent leader in Bagha Jatin and emerged as the Jugantar.

Jatin revitalised links between the central organisation in Calcutta and its branches in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh, establishing hideouts in the Sunderbans for members who had gone underground.

The group slowly reorganised, aided by Amarendra Chatterjee, Naren Bhattacharya and other younger leaders. Some of its younger members, including Taraknath Das, left India.[citation needed] Over the next two years, the organisation operated under the cover of two apparently-separate groups: Sramajeebi Samabaya (the Labourer's Cooperative) and S.D. Harry and Sons.

Around this time Jatin attempted to establish contacts with the 10th Jat Regiment, garrisoned at Fort William in Calcutta, and Narendra Nath committed a number of robberies at anti-nationals houses and British properties to raise money. Shamsul Alam, a Bengal police officer preparing a conspiracy case against the group, was assassinated by Jatin associate Biren Dutta Gupta. His assassination led to the arrests which precipitated the Howrah-Sibpur Conspiracy case.

In 1911, Dhaka Anushilan members shot dead Sub-inspector Raj Kumar and Inspector Man Mohan Ghosh, two Bengali police officers investigating unrest linked to the group, in Mymensingh and Barisal.

This was followed by the assassination of CID head constable Shrish Chandra Dey in Calcutta. In February 1911, Jugantar bombed a car in Calcutta, mistaking an Englishman for police officer Godfrey Denham.

Rash Behari Bose (described as "the most dangerous revolutionary in India") extended the group's reach into north India, where he found work in the Indian Forest Institute in Dehra Dun. Bose forged links with radical nationalists in Punjab and the United Provinces, including those later connected to Har Dayal.

During the 1912 transfer of the imperial capital to New Delhi, Viceroy Charles Hardinge's howdah was bombed; his mahout was killed, and Lady Hardinge was injured.

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