The revolutionary activities were severely suppressed during World War I, with most of the leaders in jail or absconding.
They were not attracted by the parliamentary politics of the Swarajists or the patient and undramatic constructive work of the no-changers. Many were drawn to the idea that violent methods alone would free India.
The second phase of revolutionary activities was provoked by Gandhi’s unilaterally suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, following which many youths began to question the strategy of non-violence.
This new generation of revolutionaries was influenced by the Bolsheviks’ success in Russia. Among them was Bhagat Singh, an intellectual giant, philosopher and revolutionary.
Gradually two separate strands of revolutionary activities developed — one in Punjab, U.P. and Bihar and the other in Bengal.
In 1925, Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Chandrashekhar Azad and others robbed a cash train at Kakori to buy arms.
In 1928, Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguru killed Saunders, the policeman who had ordered the lathicharge that had killed Lala Lajpat Rai a couple of months earlier.
In 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs and leaflets in the central legislative assembly “to make the deaf hear”.
In 1930, Surya Sen and his associates tried to raid the police armoury at Chittagong in Bengal.
Almost all these revolutionaries were hanged. They went to the gallows raising slogans of Inquilab Zindabad. Chandra’s book records: “Bhagat Singh became a household name in the land.
Many persons, all over the country, wept and refused to eat food, attend schools, or carry on their daily work when they heard of his hanging in March 1931”.