Chandra Shekhar Azad popularly known as by his self-taken name Azad was an Indian revolutionary who reorganised the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) under its new name of Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA).
His famous proclamation, ‘Dushmano Ki Goliyon Ka Saamna Hum Karenge, Azad Hi Rahe Hain, aur Azad hi Rahenge’ is exemplary of his brand of revolution.
Azad was born as on 23 July 1906 in Bhabhra village as Chandra Shekhar Tiwari , in the present day Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
In December 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, Chandra Shekhar, then a 15-year-old student, joined. As a result, he was arrested. On being presented before a magistrate, he gave his name as “Azad”, his father’s name as “Swatantrata” and his residence as “Jail”. From that day he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad among the people.
After the suspension of the non-cooperation, Azad became more aggressive. He met a young revolutionary. Manmath Nath Gupta, who introduced him to Ram Prasad Bismil who had formed the HRA.
He was involved in the Kakori Train Robbery of 1925, in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy of India’s train in 1926, and at last, the shooting of J. P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
He often used the pen name “Balraj” when signing pamphlets issued as the commander in chief of the HSRA.
Azad’s impact on the British Raj law enforcement faction was evident from how much effort they put to capture him, dead or alive. They even announced a reward of Rs. 30,000 on his head.
The huge amount of money led to vital information on the whereabouts of Azad. The police surrounded him in the park after Virbhadra Tiwari (their old companion who later turned traitor) informed them of his presence there.
He was wounded in the process of defending himself and Sukhdev Raj (not to be confused with Sukhdev Thapar) and killed three policemen and wounded others. His actions made it possible for Sukhdev Raj to escape. He shot himself after being surrounded by the police and left with no option of escape after the ammunition was finished.
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