Remembering Chandrashekhar Azad: The one they could never catch

New Delhi: Today is the 90th death anniversary of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad. Azad lost his life in a face-off with British police in Alfred Park in Allahabad. He was single-handedly fighting the police for a long time with just a pistol and a few cartridges, Azad made a promise to never get caught alive and he kept that promise by shooting himself in head with the last bullet left in his gun.

Chandra Shekhar was born on July 23, 1906, in Bhavra village of Madhya Pradesh. Azad was deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre that took place in 1919 and was filled with hatred against the colonial rulers and he dreamt of freeing India from British Raj.

His birth name was Chandrashekhar Sitaram Tiwari. During the time when Chandrashekhar Azad was 14 years old, he participated in Gandhiji’s Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921.

Why ‘Azad’ ?

When the British arrested him for participating in the movement, he said something in front of the judge that the judge was surprised. During that time, the judge questioned him about his name and his father’s name. So in response, Chandrasekhar had said, “My name is Azad, my father’s name is ‘Swatantrata’ and address ‘Karawas’.”

He was brutally caned before the interrogation,

Officer: Now let us know your real name

Azad: ‘Azad’ (meaning free)

Officer: Your real name

Azad: ‘Azad’

Officer: Okay, tell your father’s name

Azad: ‘Swatantra’ (again meaning free)

Officer: Tell his real name

Azad: ‘Swatantra’

He shouted ‘Mahatma Gandhi Ki Jai’ each time he was struck by a cane. Even when his skin started peeling, he continued raising defiant slogans. Soon he became the talk of the city. When he released from jail, people carried him on their shoulders. Since the incident he was known as ‘Chandrashekhar Azad’.

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