Terrorist and Revolutionary Movements

Revolutionary Nationalism

Terrorist and Revolutionary Movements

• In the first half of the 20th century, revolutionary groups sprang up mainly in Bengal, Maharashtra, and Punjab.
• The revolutionaries were not satisfied with the methods of both the moderates and extremists. Hence, they started many revolutionary secret organizations.


Vasudeo Balwant Phadke

• Phadke was influenced by the vision of Justice Ranade.
• He held the British government to be responsible for the sufferings of the people during the famine in the Deccan in 1876-77.
• Phadke denounced the British policy of ruthless exploitation of India.
• The government ordered the army to suppress the uprising.
• Avoiding pitched battle; Phadke recognized his force &started guerilla warfare against the British.
• He was ultimately captured and was sentenced to transportation for life. He was deported to Aden where he died in 1883 in jail.

The Chapekar Brothers, Damodar, Vasudev and Balkrishan

• They established the Hindu Dharma Sanrakshini Sabha in 1894.
• During the Ganapati festivals of 1894, they circulated leaflets in Poona, and asked the Hindus to rise in arms against that rule as Shivaji had done against the Muslim rule.
• On 22 June 1897, W.C. Rand & Lieutenant C.E. Ayearst were shot dead by Damodar & Bal Krishna Chapekar.
• Damodar was arrested immediately after and was sentence to death.
• Bal Krishna was later arrested in Hyderabad and sentenced to death.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

• Savarkar joined the Abhinav Bharat Society founded by his elder brother Ganesh Damodar.
• At the time of his departure from India, Savarkar and his brother were also leaders of an association known as the Mitramela, started around 1899.
• Savarkar later proceeded to London in 1906, but his organization continued to flourish in India.


• The revolutionary activity in Bengal was the outcome of the failure of constitutional agitation to prevent the partition of Bengal in 1905.
Anushilan Samiti
• The first revolutionary organization in Bengal was the Anushilan samiti.
• The Anushilan Samiti was established by Pramathanath Mitra, a barrister from Calcutta.
• The people associated with this samiti were Sri Aurobindo, Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das, Surendranath Tagore, Jatindranath Banerjee, Bagha Jatin, Bhupendra Natha Datta, Barindra Ghosh etc. Bhupendra Nath Datta was brother of Swami Vivekananda.
• Barindra Ghosh was sent to Paris to learn the science of Bomb Making and here he came in touch were Madam Bhikaji Cama.
• Madam Cama was already associated with the India House and the Paris India Society.
• Its members Kudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were entrusted with the task of assassination of Kingsford the vindictive judge who had sentenced many political prisoners to heavy terms of punishment.
• On 30th April 1908, they threw a bomb at the carriage in which they believed Kingsford to be travelling. But unfortunately, two British ladies who were in the carriage were inadvertently killed. Kudiram was arrested and hanged on 11th August 1908.
• They published a periodical named Jugantar, which openly preached armed rebellion in order to create the necessary revolutionary mentality among the people. Both Sandhya and Jugantar openly preached the cult of violence.

The Alipore Conspiracy

• The government’s search for illegal arms in Calcutta led to the arrest of thirty-four persons including the Ghosh brothers and their trial came to be known as Alipore conspiracy case.
• One of the arrested persons Narendra Gosain became the approver, but he was shot dead in jail before giving evidence.
• Of the accused in the Alipore conspiracy case, fifteen were found guilty and some of them including Barindrakumar Ghosh were transported to life.
• After the Alipore conspiracy case, Rash Behari Bose planned a nationwide-armed uprising with the help of Indian soldiers of the British army. However following the discovery of the plot by the police, Rash Behari Bose escaped to Japan & continued his revolutionary activities there.


• After the First World War, the British government, released some of the revolutionaries to create a more harmonious atmosphere.
• On the plea of Gandhiji, C.R. Das and other leaders, most of the revolutionary nationalists either joined the Indian national movement or suspended their own activities.
• The non-cooperation movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was suddenly suspended following the mob violence at Chauri chaura in U.P.
• Many young people began to question the very basic strategy of the national leadership & its emphasis on non-violence and began to look for alternatives. Some of them were convinced with the idea that violent methods alone would free India.
• Gradually two separate groups of revolutionary nationalism developed one in Punjab, U.P., and Bihar and the other in Bengal.

Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

• Hindustan Socialist Republican Association before 1928 was known as the Hindustan Republican Association.
• Bhagat Singh, Yogendra Shukla and Chandrasekar Azad were the key functionaries of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
• The group is also considered one of the first socialist organizations in India.
• HSRA was rejuvenated by the ideologies of the Bolsheviks involvement in the Russian Revolution of 1917.
• Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was first launched during a meeting in Bholachang village, Brahamabaria subdivision of East Bengal. Freedom fighters like Pratul Ganguly, Narendra Mohan Sen and Sachindra Nath Sanyal were present at the meeting.
• The association was formed as an outgrowth of the Anushilan Samiti.
• The name Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was implicative after a similar revolutionary body in Ireland.
• Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was always in the forefront of revolutionary movements in the northern parts of India.
• The association consisted of younger generations of U.P, Bihar, Punjab, Bengal and Maharashtra.
• The group possessed ideals, which were directly opposite to Mahatma Gandhi’s Congress.

The Kakori Conspiracy Case

• The revolutionaries under Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chatterji, and Sachindranath Sanyal met in Kanpur in October 1924 and founded the Hindustan Republic Association.
• Its aim was to over throw the British rule from India. For all these activities, money was required.
• To achieve this objective the Hindustan Revolutionary Army stopped the down train at Kakori, a village in Lucknow district on 9th August 1925 and looted the railway cash.
• The government arrested large number of young men and tried them in the Kakori conspiracy case.
• The chief leaders of the robbery, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshanlal were sentenced to death.
• HSRA in non-violent protest advancement against the Simon Commission at Lahore decided to support Lala Lajpat Rai.
• But in the protest procession, the police plunged into a mass lathi charge and the wounds imposed on Lalaji proved life-threatening to him.
• To avenge the death of Lajpat Rai; Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Chander Shekhar Azad, and Jai Gopal were given the charge to assassinate J.A. Scott, who had ordered the unlawful lathi-charge but unfortunately a British official J. P. Saunders, got killed in confusion.
• The association adjudicated to burst a blank bomb in the Central Assembly in Delhi, in order to express opposition against the tyrannical legislation and arouse public opinion.
• The ideology behind the bombing was ‘to make the deaf government hear the voices of its oppressed people’.
• Bhagat Singh also believed that ‘the only way to successfully convey his message to the public of India was to propaganda from Court.
• On April 8th 1929 a bomb was detonated near the empty treasure benches, followed by another bomb explosion in the Central Assembly.
• Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt carried out the bombing and got arrested.
• After the Assembly Bomb Case trial on 23rd March 1931 Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged.
• Baikuntha Shukla was also hanged for murdering Phanindrananth Ghosh who had become a government approver which later on led to the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.
• Another key revolutionary of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, Chandrasekar Azad was killed on 27th February 1931 in a gunfight with the police.

Trial and execution of Bhagat Singh

• Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were tried in the Assembly Bomb Case.
• While in Delhi jail, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar demanded that they be treated not as criminals, but as political prisoners.
• Jatindranath Das, who went on fast on similar grounds, died on 13th of September 1930, on the sixty- fourth day of the fast in the Lahore prison.
• The trail and subsequent execution of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on 23rd March 1931 become a political issue.
• A resolution was passed by the Karachi session of the congress in1931 commending their brave contribution to the freedom struggle of India.

Surya Sen

• In the later part of 1920’s, the most active & famous of the Bengal revolutionary groups was the Chittagong Group led by Surya Sen.
• He had actively participated in the non-cooperation movement and had become a teacher in a national school in Chittagong.
• A group led by Surya Sen captured the government armory on 18th April 1930, and for a while took control over Chittagong and proclaimed a provisional revolutionary government. However, it was not possible for this small group of revolutionaries to put up resistance against the army.
• They escaped to the Chittagong hills and continued to wage guerilla warfare for another three years.


• They were not successful in politically activating the masses.
• Their contact with masses was lacking.


Shyamji Krishnavarma

• He was a member of Mitramela Abhinav Bharat revolutionary group.
• He left Bombay in 1897 and went to London.
• He started a monthly journal, the Indian sociologist; an organ of freedom struggle of India in 1905.
• Shyamji established the Indian Home Rule society and a hostel for Indian students living in London, popularly known as the Indian House.
• The most important revolutionaries associated with him were V.D. Savarkar, Madanlal Dhingra, Madame Cama, and Lala Hardyal.
• In 1907 Shyamji shifted his head quarters to Paris and Savarkar took up the political leadership of the Indian House in London.

Madanlal Dhingra

• In 1909 Madanlal Dhingra, an associate of Savarkar assassinated Curzon-Wylie an A.D.C.to the Secretary of State for India. He was spying on Indian students.
• Madanlal Dhingra was arrested and brought to trial, and was hanged on 1st August1909.

Madame Cama

• Madame Cama had been popularly described as the Mother of Indian Revoluation. She left India in 1902.
• She took active part in editing the Indian sociologist and represented India at the Stuttgart conference of socialists in 1907.
• At the confrence, Madame Cama unfurled for the first time Indian national flag on the foreign soil.
• Due to her anti-British activities, she was forced to shift her residence from London to Paris.
• After thirty years of patriotic service in London, Paris and other cities of Europe, her friends succeeded in repatriating her to India in November 1936. She died on 12thAugust 1937.

The Indian Independence Committee in Berlin

• After the outbreak of the First World War, Hardyal and other Indians abroad moved to Germany and set up the Indian independence committee at Berlin.
• The committee planned to bring about a general insurrection in India and for this purpose foreign arms were to be sent to India from abroad; expatriated Indians were to return to mother country, where they were to be joined by Indian soldiers and by the waiting revolutionaries.
• The policy and activities of the Berlin committee and the Ghadar party had greatly influenced the revolutionaries of Bengal.