Chandrashekhar Azad,AZAD means freedom.often called, Panditji was the founder of Garam Dal. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he was first among many Indian revolutionaries to use arms in their fight for independence against the British rulers. A devout Brahmin, he believed that it was his "dharma" (duty) to fight for others.
Born to Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi, Azad spent most of his childhood and received primary education in Bhavra village in Jhabua District, Madhya Pradesh. He then went to the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi for higher education. Azad was an ardent follower of Lord Hanuman and once disguised himself as a priest in a Hanuman temple to escape a British police dragnet.
Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation movement, he actively participated in the protest movement. He was arrested and received his first punishment at the age of fifteen for this act of civil disobedience. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said "Azad" (meaning free). For this, he was sentenced to fifteen lashes.
After suspension of the non-cooperation movement, Azad was attracted by more aggressive and violent revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Towards this end, he formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and was mentor for revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Rajguru. HSRA's goal was full Indian independence and wanted to build a new India based on socialist principles. Azad and his compatriots also planned and executed several acts of violence against the Britishers. He was involved in numerous such activities like the Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), and the shooting of John Poyantz Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
The British police noticed Azad as terrorist. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. For his part, Azad had also vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and that he would die a free man. On February 27, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at Alfred Park, Allahabad. He was betrayed by an informer, the police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Azad fought alone and valiantly and killed three policemen but got shot in the thigh. After nearly exhausting his ammunition and foreseeing no means of escape, he shot himself in the head with his last bullet.
Most of his revolutionary activities were planned and executed from Shahjahanpur.
Chandrashekar Azad's dead body kept on public display by the British to serve as a warning message for other revolutionaries.
Azad was one among a young generation of Indians who were deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920 and took an active part in it. But like many, Azad was disillusioned with Gandhi's suspension of the struggle in 1922 due to the Chauri Chaura massacre of 22 policemen. Although Gandhi was appalled by the brutal violence, Azad did not feel that violence was unacceptable in such a struggle, especially in view of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919, when a British Army unit killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and wounded thousands in Amritsar. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre deeply influenced young Azad and his contemporaries.
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