Our Heroes

Bhagat Singh

Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh was a revolutionary and martyr, born on 27 September 1907. He was the second son of Kishan Singh and Vidya Vati. Bhagat Singh was imbued from childhood with the family’s spirit of patriotism. At the time of his birth, his father was in jail for his connection with the Canal Colonization Bill agitation, in which his brother, Ajit Singh (Bhagat Singh’s uncle), took a leading part. Through his father, who was a sympathizer and supporter of the Ghadr campaign of 1914-15, Bhagat Singh became an admirer of the leaders of the movement. The execution of Kartar Singh Sarabha made a deep impression on the mind of the young man who vowed to dedicate his life to the country.

Having passed the fifth class from his village school, Bhagat Singh joined Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore. In response to the call of Mahatma Gandhl and other nationalist leaders, to boycott government aided institutions, he left his school and enrolled in the National College at Lahore. He was successful in passing a special examination preparatory to entering college. He was reading for his B.A. examination when his parents planned to have him married. He vehemently rejected the suggestion and said that, if his marriage was to take place in Slave-India, my bride shall be only death.” Rather than allow his father to proceed any further with the proposal, Bhagat Singh left home and went to Kanpur where he took up a job in the Pratap Press. In his spare time, he studied revolutionary literature. He joined the Hindustan Republican Association, a radical group, later known as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. When Bhagat Singh was assured that he would not be compelled to marry and violate his vows sworn to his motherland, he returned to his home. This was in 1925 when a morcha had been going on at Jaito to protest against the deposition by the British of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha because of his sympathy with the Akali agitation. A warrant for the arrest of Bhagat Singh was issued because he had accorded a welcome to one of the jathas, but he managed to elude the police and spent five months under the assumed name of Balvant Singh in Delhi, where he worked in a daily paper Vir Arjun.

He established contact with the Kirti Kisan Party and started contributing regularly to its magazine, the Kirti. He also remained in touch with the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. In March 1926 was formed the Naujawan Bharat Sabha. Bhagat Singh, one of the principal organizers became its secretary. As the Simon Commission arrived at Lahore on 30 October 1928, an all-parties procession, headed by Lala Lajpat Rai, marched towards the railway station to make a protest. Intercepting the procession, police made a laths charge and Lala Lajpat Rai received injuries. He died a fornight later. Although the British saw no connection between the lathi charge and Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, Bhagat Singh and his associates did. They plotted the assassination of Mr Scott, the Superintendent of Police, believed to have been responsible for the laths blows given Lala Lajpat Rai, but instead J.P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, became the actual victim owing to mistake in identification. The next day a leaflet was circulated by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association announcing that the death of Lala Lajpat Rai had been avenged.

Bhagat Singh escaped to Calcutta disguised as a wealthy personage. He remained quiet for several months, but became active again when Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill were being debated in Delhi. As his group resolved to explode a bomb to express disapproval of the bill, Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt volunteered to carry out the plan. They were seated in the gallery of the Central Assembly Hall awaiting the reading of the proclamation that would enact the bills. When the announcement was made, Bhagat Singh jumped up and threw a relatively harmless bomb behind one of the members’ benches. There was an explosion, followed by still another from a second bomb. No one was seriously injured. Bhagat Singh and Dutt began shouting revolutionary slogans and threw leaflets explaining their in tent of making “the deaf hear” with the loud noise of explosion. Both were promptly taken into custody. As the trial proceeded, a statement, written in its entirety by Bhagat Singh, was read in defence of the two accused. Bhagat Singh said that “force used for a legitimate cause has its moral justification.” He and B.K. Dutt were found guilty and sentenced to transportation for life. After the sentence had been pronounced in the Assembly Bomb case, Bhagat Singh was bound over for trial in the Saunders Murder case, approvers having identified his role in the killing. While awaiting trial in the Lahore Jail, Bhagat Singh started a hunger strike in behalf of political prisoners. The fast was continued even after the hearing of the case began on 10 July 1929, and was subsequently joined by many others. It was not until after the death of one of these, J.N. Das, on 13 September 1929, that facilities were promised to the prisoners and the hunger-strike abandoned.

At the time of trial, Bhagat Singh offered no defence, but utilized the occasion to propagate his ideal of freedom. He heard with defiant courage the death-sentence pronounced on 7 October 1930. In the same spirit, he kissed the hangman’s noose on 23 March 1931, shouting for the last time his favourite cry, “Down with British imperialism.” His body was secretly cremated at Husainivala by police and the remains thrown into the River Sutlej. The next day, however, his comrades collected the bodily remains from the cremation site and a procession was taken out in Lahore. Mourning for him was spontaneous and widespread and homage was paid to him for his sterling character and sacrifice.

In 1950, after Independence, the land where Bhagat Singh and his companions were cremated was procured from Pakistan and a memorial built. In March 1961, a Shahidi Mela was held there. Every year, on 23 March, the martyr’s memory is similarly honoured. The old memorial, destroyed in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, has been rebuilt Bhagat Singh is remembered by the endearing title of Shahid-i-Azam, the greatest of martyrs.

Paying his tribute to him at a meeting of the Central Sikh League at Amritsar on 8 April 1931, Subhas Chandra Bose said, Bhagat Singh who set an example of character and patriotism by sacrificing himself for the sake of the country’s freedom.

Chandrashekhar

Chandrashekhar, a fearless revolutionary and a great freedom fighter, was born on July 23, 1906 in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. He was the son of Pandit Sita Ram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. He started his education in Bhavra and at the age of 14 he went to Varanasi where he was taught to live the austere life of a Brahamachari.

During his stay in Varanasi he was highly inspired by the Non Cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi. He actively participated in the movement for which he was sentenced to fifteen lashes of logging at the age of 15. In the court he addressed himself as ‘Azad’, and gave his father’s name as ‘Swadhin’ and his mother’s name as ‘Dhart Ma’. With endurance, courage and fortitude he tolerated all the lashes. With each stroke of the whip he shouted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. From then, he was honored and titled as ‘Azad’ by the local Indians. Thereafter, he got the name Chandrashekhar Azad. When he was released, he took a pledge that he would never be arrested by the Britishers and will die as a free man.

When the Non Cooperation Movement was suspended due to Chauri-Chaura incidence, Azad switched over to armed revolution and formed ‘Hindustan Socialist Republican Association’ with other revolutionaries to spread the message of complete independence. He actively participated in revolutionary activities and was involved in Kakori Train Robbery and the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train in 1926.

On 27th February 1931, Azad was betrayed by one of the associates who informed the British Police. In Alfred Park, Allahabad he was besieged by the British police. He fought bravely for quite some time but seeing no other way he shot himself and fulfilled his desire to die a ‘free man’. A great Indian leader, Chandrashekhar Azad was the heart of all revolutionary leaders and his poetic composition, ‘Dushman ki goliyon ka hum samna karenge, Azad hee rahein hain, azad hee rahenge’

Sukhdev Thapar

Like many other freedom fighters, Sukhdev Thapar was also a famous Indian revolutionary who sacrificed his life for the cause of India’s independence. He was born on May 15, 1907 in Naughara in Ludhiana. Since childhood, he had witnessed the brutal behavior of British authorities on Indians and grew up with a firm decision and an earnest desire to set India free from British dominion.

Sukhdev was a member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and took active part in various revolutionary activities. He along with other revolutionaries founded the Naujawan Bharat Sabha with the aim to aware and gear up Indian youth for the freedom struggle showing them an imaginary picture of India’s future.

As a active participant of Lahore Conspiracy Case in 1928 and Prison Hunger Strike in 1929, Sukhdev shook the established foundation of British Government. On 1929, he along with his accomplice Bhagat Singh and Shivram Rajguru was arrested for assassinating Deputy Superitendent Saunder in 1928, thus avenging the death of Lalaji. The three brave revolutionaries were sentenced to death, as per the verdict, on March 23, 1931 and their bodies were secretly cremated on the banks of River Sutlej.

Veer Sarvarkar

Veer Savarkar was a great revolutionary in the history of India’s struggle of independence. He was a great orator, scholar, prolific writer, historian, poet, philosopher and social worker. His actual name was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He was born on May 28, 1883, in the village of Bhagpur near Nasik. Ganesh (Babarao), his elder brother was a strong source of influence in his life. At a very early age he lost his father Damodarpant Savarkar and mother Radhabai.

Veer Savarkar established an organization by the name of ‘Mitra Mela’ which influenced the members to fight for “absolute political independence” of India. The Mitra Mela members served the victims of plague in Nasik. He later called the “Mitra Mela” as “Abhinav Bharat” and declared “India must be independent”.

The British Government withdrew Veer Savarkar’s graduation degree for his involvement in the Indian freedom movement . In June 1906 he went to London to become Barrister. He wrote a book “The Indian War of Independence 1857” on India’s struggle of independence, which was banned by Britishers. When he was in London, he encouraged the Indian students in England against the British colonial masters. He supported the use of arms in India’s struggle of independence.

He was arrested in London on 13 March 1910 sent to India for trial. However when the ship carrying him reached Marseilles in France, Savarkar escaped but was arrested by the French Police. On 24 December 1910, he was sentenced to jail in the Andamans. With his efforts a library was established in the jail. He even tried to impart education to the illiterate convicts in the jail. By the demand of great leaders like Vithalbhai Patel, Tilak and Gandhi a Savarkar was released and brought back to India on May 2, 1921.

Veer Savarkar was shifted to Ratnagiri jail, and then to the Yeravada jail. The book ‘Hindutva’ was written in the Ratnagiri jail. He was released from jail on January 6, 1924 and he later founded the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha to preserve ancient Indian culture and worked in the direction of social welfare. Later he joined Swaraj Party, formed by Tilak and founded the Hindu Mahasabha, a separate political party and was elected its President. The party opposed the formation of Pakistan. Veer Savarkar was charged by the Government of India in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case but was acquitted by the Supreme Court of India. At the age of 83 on February 26, 1966 he passed away.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Born July 23, 1856
Died: August 1, 1920
Achievements: Considered as Father of Indian National Movement; Founded “Deccan Education Society” to impart quality education to India’s youth; was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, Bombay Legislature, and an elected ‘Fellow’ of the Bombay University; formed Home Rule League in 1916 to attain the goal of Swaraj.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak is considered as Father of Indian National Movement. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a multifaceted personality. He was a social reformer, freedom fighter, national leader, and a scholar of Indian history, sanskrit, hinduism, mathematics and astronomy. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was popularly called as Lokmanya (Beloved of the people). During freedom struggle, his slogan “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it” inspired millions of Indians.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. His father Gangadhar Ramachandra Tilak was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Tilak was a brilliant student and he was very good in mathematics. Since childhood Tilak had an intolerant attitude towards injustice and he was truthful and straightforward in nature. He was among India’s first generation of youth to receive a modern, college education.

When Tilak was ten his father was transferred to Pune from Ratnagiri. This brought sea change in Tilak’s life. He joined the Anglo-Vernacular School in Pune and got education from some of the well known teachers. Soon after coming to Pune Tilak lost his mother and by the time he was sixteen he lost his father too. While Tilak was studying in Matriculation he was married to a 10-year-old girl called Satyabhama. After passing the Matriculation Examination Tilak joined the Deccan College. In 1877, Bal Gangadhar Tilak got his B.A. degree with a first class in mathematics. He continued his studies and got the LL.B. degree too.

After graduation, Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune and later became a journalist. He became a strong critic of the Western education system, feeling it demeaning to Indian students and disrespectful to India’s heritage. He came to the conclusion that good citizens can be moulded only through good education. He believed that every Indian had to be taught about Indian culture and national ideals. Along with his classmate Agarkar and great social reformer Vishnushastry Chiplunkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded “Deccan Education Society” to impart quality education to India’s youth.

The very next year after the Deccan Education Society was founded, Tilak started two weeklies, ‘Kesari’ and ‘Mahratta’. ‘Kesari’ was Marathi weekly while ‘Mahratta’ was English weekly. Soon both the newspapers became very popular. In his newspapers, Tilak highlighted the plight of Indians. He gave a vivid picture of the people’s sufferings and of actual happenings. Tilak called upon every Indian to fight for his right. Bal Gangadhar Tilak used fiery language to arouse the sleeping Indians.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, Bombay Legislature, and an elected ‘Fellow’ of the Bombay University. Tilak was a great social reformer. He issued a call for the banning of child marriage and welcomed widow remarriage. Through the celebrations of Ganapati Festival and the birthday of the Shivaji he organized people.

In 1897, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was charged with writing articles instigating people to rise against the government and to break the laws and disturb the peace. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one and a half year. Tilak was released in 1898. After his release, Tilak launched Swadeshi Movement. Through newspapers and lectures, Tilak spread the message to each and every village in Maharashtra. A big ‘Swadeshi Market’ was opened in front of Tilak’s house. Meanwhile, Congress was split into two camps-Moderates and Extremists. Extremists led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak opposed the moderate faction led by Gopal Krishna. Extremists were in the favour of self rule while the moderates thought that time is not yet ripe for such an eventuality. This rift finally led to a split in the Congress.

Tilak was arrested on the charges of sedition in 1906. After the trial, Tilak was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Mandalay (Burma). Tilak spent his time in prison by reading and writing. He wrote the book ‘Gita-Rahasya’ while he was in prison. Tilak was released on June 8, 1914. After his release, Bal Gangadhar Tilak tried to bring the two factions of Congress together. But his efforts did not bear much fruit. In 1916, Tilak decided to build a separate organization called the ‘Home Rule League’. Its goal was swaraj. Tilak went from village to village, and explained the aim of his league to the farmers and won their hearts. He traveled constantly in order to organize the people. While fighting for people’s cause Bal Gangadhar Tilak died on August 1, 1920.

Subhas Chandra Bose

Born: January 23, 1897
Died: August 18, 1945
Achievements: Passed Indian Civil Services Exam; elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939; formed a new party All India Forward block; organized Azad Hind Fauj to overthrow British Empire from India.

Subhas Chandra Bose, affectionately called as Netaji, was one of the most prominent leaders of Indian freedom struggle. Though Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru have garnered much of the credit for successful culmination of Indian freedom struggle, the contribution of Subash Chandra Bose is no less. He has been denied his rightful place in the annals of Indian history. He founded Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to overthrow British Empire from India and came to acquire legendary status among Indian masses.

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. His father Janaki Nath Bose was a famous lawyer and his mother Prabhavati Devi was a pious and religious lady. Subhas Chandra Bose was the ninth child among fourteen siblings. Subhas Chandra Bose was a brilliant student right from the childhood. He topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and graduated with a First Class in Philosophy from the Scottish Churches College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. To fulfill his parents wishes he went to England in 1919 to compete for Indian Civil Services. In England he appeared for the Indian Civil Service competitive examination in 1920, and came out fourth in order of merit. However, Subhas Chandra Bose was deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, and left his Civil Services apprenticeship midway to return to India in 1921

After returning to India Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress. On Gandhiji’s instructions, he started working under Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, whom he later acknowledged his political guru. Soon he showed his leadership mettle and gained his way up in the Congress’ hierarchy. In 1928 the Motilal Nehru Committee appointed by the Congress declared in favour of Domination Status, but Subhas Chandra Bose along with Jawaharlal Nehru opposed it, and both asserted that they would be satisfied with nothing short of complete independence for India. Subhas also announced the formation of the Independence League. Subhas Chandra Bose was jailed during Civil Disobedience movement in 1930. He was released in 1931 after Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed. He protested against the Gandhi-Irwin pact and opposed the suspension of Civil Disobedience movement specially when Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged.

Subash Chandra Bose was soon arrested again under the infamous Bengal Regulation. After an year he was released on medical grounds and was banished from India to Europe. He took steps to establish centres in different European capitals with a view to promoting politico-cultural contacts between India and Europe. Defying the ban on his entry to India, Subash Chandra Bose returned to India and was again arrested and jailed for a year. After the General Elections of 1937, Congress came to power in seven states and Subash Chandra Bose was released. Shortly afterwards he was elected President of the Haripura Congress Session in 1938. During his term as Congress President, he talked of planning in concrete terms, and set up a National planning Committee in October that year. At the end of his first term, the presidential election to the Tripuri Congress session took place early 1939. Subhas Chandra Bose was re-elected, defeating Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya who had been backed by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee. Clouds of World War II were on the horizon and he brought a resolution to give the British six months to hand India over to the Indians, failing which there would be a revolt. There was much opposition to his rigid stand, and he resigned from the post of president and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block.

Subhas Chandra Bose now started a mass movement against utilizing Indian resources and men for the great war. There was a tremendous response to his call and he was put under house arrest in Calcutta. In January 1941, Subhas Chandra Bose disappeared from his home in Calcutta and reached Germany via Afghanistan. Working on the maxim that “an enemy’s enemy is a friend”, he sought cooperation of Germany and Japan against British Empire. In January 1942, he began his regular broadcasts from Radio Berlin, which aroused tremendous enthusiasm in India. In July 1943, he arrived in Singapore from Germany. In Singapore he took over the reins of the Indian Independence Movement in East Asia from Rash Behari Bose and organised the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) comprising mainly of Indian prisoners of war. He was hailed as Netaji by the Army as well as by the Indian civilian population in East Asia. Azad Hind Fauj proceeded towards India to liberate it from British rule. Enroute it lliberated Andeman and Nicobar Islands. The I.N.A. Head quarters was shifted to Rangoon in January 1944. Azad Hind Fauj crossed the Burma Border, and stood on Indian soil on March 18 ,1944.

However, defeat of Japan and Germany in the Second World War forced INA to retreat and it could not achieve its objective. Subhas Chandra Bose was reportedly killed in an air crash over Taipeh, Taiwan (Formosa) on August 18, 1945. Though it is widely believed that he was still alive after the air crash not much information could be found about him.

Bhim Rao Ambedkar

Born: April 14, 1891
Died: December 6, 1956
Achievements: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was elected as the chairman of the drafting committee that was constituted by the Constituent Assembly to draft a constitution for the independent India; he was the first Law Minister of India; conferred Bharat Ratna in 1990.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is viewed as messiah of downtrodden society in India. He was the chairman of the drafting committee that was constituted by the Constituent Assembly in 1947 to draft a constitution for the independent India. He played a seminal role in the framing of the constitution. Bhimrao Ambedkar was also the first Law Minister of India. For his yeoman service to the nation, B.R. Ambedkar was bestowed with Bharat Ratna in 1990.

Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 in Mhow (presently in Madhya Pradesh). He was the fourteenth child of Ramji and Bhimabai Sakpal Ambavedkar. His father and grandfather served in the British Army.

After his retirement, Bhimrao’s father settled in Satara Maharashtra. Bhimrao was enrolled in the local school. In spite of hardships, Bhimrao continued his studies and passed his Matriculation examination from Bombay University with flying colours in 1908. Bhim Rao Ambedkar joined the Elphinstone College for further education. In 1912, he graduated in Political Science and Economics from Bombay University and got a job in Baroda.

In 1913, Bhimrao Ambedkar lost his father. In the same year Maharaja of Baroda awarded scholarship to Bhim Rao Ambedkar and sent him to America for further studies. Bhimrao reached New York in July 1913. He immersed himself in the studies and attained a degree in Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1916 for his thesis “National Dividend for India: A Historical and Analytical Study.” From America, Dr.Ambedkar proceeded to London to study economics and political science. But the Baroda government terminated his scholarship and recalled him back.

The Maharaja of Baroda appointed Dr. Ambedkar as his political secretary. Bhimrao Ambedkar returned to Bombay in November 1917. With the help of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur, he started a fortnightly newspaper, the “Mooknayak” (Dumb Hero) on January 31, 1920. In September 1920, after accumulating sufficient funds, Ambedkar went back to London to complete his studies. He became a barrister and got a Doctorate in science.

On May 24, 1956, on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, he declared in Bombay, that he would adopt Buddhism in October. On 0ctober 14, 1956 he embraced Buddhism along with many of his followers. On December 6, 1956, Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar died peacefully in his sleep.

Udham Singh

Udham Singh was a nationalist, was born Sher Singh on 26 December 1899, at Sunam, in the then princely state of Patiala. His father, Tahal Singh, was at that time working as a watchman on a railway crossing in the neighbouring village of Upall. Sher Singh lost his parents before he was seven years and was admitted along with his brother Mukta Singh to the Central Khalsa Orphanage at Amritsar on 24 October 1907. As both brothers were administered the Sikh initiatory rites at the Orphanage, they received new names, Sher Singh becoming Udham Singh and Mukta Singh Sadhu Singh. In 1917, Udham Singh’s brother also died, leaving him alone in the world.

Udham Singh left the Orphanage after passing the matriculation examination in 1918. He was present in the Jallianvala Bag on the fateful Baisakhi day, 13 April 1919, when a peaceful assembly of people was fired upon by General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, killing over one thousand people. The event which Udham Singh used to recall with anger and sorrow, turned him to the path of revolution. Soon after, he left India and went to the United States of America. He had secretly brought with him some revolvers and was arrested by the police in Amritsar, and sentenced to four years imprisonment under the Arms Act. On release in 1931, he returned to his native Sunam, but harassed by the local police, he once again returned to Amritsar and opened a shop as a signboard painter, assuming the name of Ram Muhammad Singh Azad. This name, which he was to use later in England, was adopted to emphasize the unity of all the religious communities in India in their struggle for political- freedom.

Udham Singh was deeply influenced by the activities of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary group. In 1935, when he was on a visit to Kashmlr, he was found carrying Bhagat Singh’s portrait. He invariably referred to him as his guru. He loved to sing political songs, and was very fond of Ram Prasad Bismal, who was the leading poet of the revolutionaries. After staying for some months in Kashmlr, Udham Singh left India. He wandered about the continent for some time, and reached England by the mid-thirties. He was on the lookout for an opportunity to avenge the Jalliavala Bagh tragedy. The long-waited moment at last came on 13 March 1940. On that day, at 4.30 p.m. in the Caxton Hall, London, where a meeting of the East India Association was being held in conjunction with the Royal Central Asian Society, Udham Singh fired five to six shots from his pistol at Sir Michael O’Dwyer, who was governor of the Punjab when the Amritsar massacre had taken place. O’Dwyer was hit twice and fell to the ground dead and Lord Zetland, the Secretary of State for India, who was presiding over the meeting was injured. Udham Singh was overpowered with a smoking revolver. He in fact made no attempt to escape and continued saying that he had done his duty by his country.

On 1 April 1940, Udham Singh was formally charged with the murder of Sir Michael O’Dwyer. On 4 June 1940, he was committed to trial, at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, before Justice Atkinson, who sentenced him to death. An appeal was filed on his behalf which was dismissed on 15 July 1940. On 31 July 1940, Udham Sin*gh was hanged in Pentonville Prison in London.

Udham Singh was essentially a man of action and save his statement before the judge at his trial, there was no writing from his pen available to historians. Recently, letters written by him to Shiv Singh Jauhal during his days in prison after the shooting of Sir Michael O’Dwyer have been discovered and published. These letters show him as a man of great courage, with a sense of humour. He called himself a guest of His Majesty King George, and he looked upon death as a bride he was going to wed. By remaining cheerful to the last and going joyfully to the gallows, he followed the example of Bhagat Singh who had been his beau ideal. During the trial, Udham Singh had made a request that his ashes be sent back to his country, but this was not allowed. In 1975, however, the Government of India, at the instance of the Punjab Government, finally succeeded in bringing his ashes home. Lakhs of people gathered on the occasion to pay homage to his memory.

Mangal Pandey

Born – 19 July 1827
Died – 8 April 1857
Achievements: A sepoy working under the British East India Company, Mangal Pandey’s name got etched into the pages of the Indian history after he attacked his senior British officers in an incident, which is today remembered as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the India’s First War of Independence. The reason behind this was the rumor that the cartridges used by Indian sepoys were greased with the fat of cow and pig.

Mangal Pandey, whose name is often preceded by Shaheed meaning a martyr in Hindi, was an Indian soldier during the pre-independence era. A member of the 34th Regiment of the Bengal native infantry of the East India Company, Mangal Pandey is counted among the most popular figures associated with India’s freedom struggle in present times. He was born on 19 July 1827 in the Nagwa village in the Ballia district of the Uttar Pradesh state. There still exist families in this village who claim to the descendents of Mangal Pandey.

However, some disputes exist over the exact place where Mangal Pandey was born. So read on to know more about the biography of Mangal Pandey, who joined the sepoy force of the British East India Company in the year 1849 at the age of 22. His name got etched into the pages of the Indian history after he attacked his senior British officers in an incident, which is today called the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the India’s First War of Independence. Due to this, he was later captured and hung till death on 8 April in 1857.

Here’s more about the life history of Mangal Pandey, who was a devout Hindu and practiced his religion strictly. It was rumored that the cartridge used in the Enfield P-53 rifle which was being used by the Indian sepoys was greased with the fat of pig and cow fat. These cartridges had to be bitten off in order to remove the cover prior use and this went against the religious beliefs of the Muslims and Hindus. The general opinion was that the Britishers had deliberately done this to hurt the sentiments of Indians. And this was the main reason behind the outburst of Pandey’s anger.

Neerja Bhanot

Neerja Bhanot ,Chandigarh girl was killed in 1986 hijack bid at Karachi airport Neerja Bhanot (September 7, 1964 – September 5, 1986) born in Chandigarh, India was the daughter of Harish & Rama Bhanot and was a Flight attendant for Pan Am airlines, based in United States.

She was the senior flight purser on the ill-fated Pan Am Flight 73 flight.

She hid the passports of the passengers on the flight so that the hijackers could not differentiate between American and Non-American citizens. She laid down her life while shielding three children from the bullets fired by the terrorists.

For her bravery the Government of India posthumously awarded her the Ashoka Chakra (India’s highest decoration for gallantry away from the battlefield, or not in the face of the enemy). She is the youngest recipient of the same. In 2004 the Indian Postal Service released a stamp commemorating her.

Neerja’s family put the insurance money of Neerja in a trust, ‘Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust’ , to which Pan Am also contributed an equal amount. Every year, this trust honors airline crew that act beyond the call of duty and Indian women who show exemplary courage as well as compassion for their fellow human being.