This Day in History

111th death anniversary of Bengali revolutionary Khudiram Bose

Born on December 3, 1889, in the small village of Habibpur situated under the Keshpur Police Station in the Midnapore district of West Bengal, Khudiram Bose was the son of a Tehsildar, the fourth child in a family of three daughters.

Khudiram was possessed by the spirit of the freedom movement when he heard a series of public lectures held in Medinipur, by Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita. He became a volunteer when he was just 15, and courted his first arrest for distributing pamphlets against the British rule in India.

Just a year later, Khudiram was taking part in full-blown revolutionary activities, planting bombs near police stations and targetting government officials.

During this period, the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta was Douglas H Kingsford. Infamous for handing out strong and harsh punishments to freedom fighters, he was a target of the revolutionaries. He was particularly vindictive towards anti-partition and swadeshi activists.

However, it was one incident that made Kingsford put a target on his own back. The case of Aurobindo Ghosh, the editor of Bande Mataram, and its publisher, Bipin Chandra Pal.

A 15-year-old youngster, Sushil Sen, had opposed the cruelty of cops beating revolutionaries assembled before the court, and Kingsford ordered 15 lashes for the boy. With every lash, Sen shouted ‘Vande Mataram’. This news was widely published in the press, and when the revolutionaries read this news, they boiled with anger and decided that only revenge was the best medicine for Kingsford.

However, the British Government caught wind of the plan, and transferred Kingsford to Muzaffarpur, hoping that the anger of the revolutionaries in Calcutta would subside. The revolutionaries heard about this plan and prepared to kill Kingsford at Muzaffarpur.

This was going to be a tough mission, and only a trustworthy assassin could be used. The folks in charge decided to appoint Prafulla Kumar Chaki, and Khudiram Bose, who readily agreed.

The two lads stayed at the Dharamshala of Bihari zamindar, Parmeshwar Narayan Mahato, and got to work. They soon got a good idea of Kingsford’s routine, his timings at court, the European Station Club, and his house.

They decided that Kingsford could be attacked when he left the club at 8:30 pm. This would give the duo the chance to carry the hit-out at night. It was decided that a bomb would be used.

There are many accounts to describe the actual course of events. However, it is widely believed that Prafulla and Khudiram attacked Kingsford’s carriage when it was leaving the club. As the horse carriage approached, Khudiram hurled a bomb at it.

An explosion followed, and the hit was a success! The carriage blew up and burst into flames. Prafulla and Khudiram, believing they had succeeded, melted into the darkness.

News of the attack spread. Everyone was aware of the incident by midnight, and police were on the lookout for suspects. Khudiram, meanwhile, had continued running, and after doing so all night, reached a station called ‘Waini’, tired and exhausted after 25 miles on foot.

-The Better India