1925 Kakori Train Action


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    Four revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement were hanged on December 17 (Rajendranath Lahiri) and December 19 (Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, Thakur Roshan Singh) in 1927.

    • This came two years after the Kakori Train Robbery, in which members of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) had looted a train transporting money to the British treasury.

    The founding of the Hindustan Republican Association

    •  Launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement: In 1920, Mahatma Gandhi declared the launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement, a campaign that asked Indians to revoke their support from any activity that “sustained the British government and economy in India.”
      •  He had envisioned this movement to be non-violent, using his methods of satyagraha to eventually attain self-governance.
      • But the incident in 1922 (burning 22 policemen to death) led to the “sudden” end of the Non-cooperation movement, with Gandhi calling it off despite significant internal disagreement within the Indian National Congress (INC).
    • Formation of HRA:  The HRA was founded by a group of young men who were disillusioned by Gandhi’s tactics and what they felt was zealous preaching of “non-violence.”
      • Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan, both of whom had a flair for poetry, were among the group’s founders. 
      • Others included Sachindra Nath Bakshi and trade unionist Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee. 
      • Figures such as Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh would also join the HRA. 
      • Their manifesto released on January 1, 1925, was titled Krantikari (Revolutionary).”
    • It was key in carrying out various acts of resistance against British rule, participating in protests against the Simon Commission, the subsequent assassination of assistant police commissioner J.P Saunders, and the bombing of Viceroy Irwin’s train, among others. 

    What was the Kakori Train Action incident?

    • The train robbery at Kakori was the HRA’s first major action, in August 1925.
    • The Number 8 Down Train ran between Shahjahanpur and Lucknow. 
      • It carried treasury bags meant to be deposited in the British treasury in Lucknow.
      • The revolutionaries planned to rob this money, which they believed legitimately belonged to Indians anyway. 
        • Their objective was both to fund the HRA and garner public attention for their work and mission.
      • On August 9, 1925, as the train was passing the Kakori station, about 15 km from Lucknow, Rajendranath Lahiri, a member of the HRA who was already seated inside, pulled the chain and stopped the train.
      • Subsequently, around ten revolutionaries, including Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan, entered the train and overpowered the guard.
        • They looted the treasury bags and escaped to Lucknow.
    • Response of Britishers: The British authorities were enraged, undertaking a violent crackdown and soon arresting many members of the HRA. 
      • The only major leader of HRA at this time who evaded arrest was Chandrashekhar Azad.
      • The severity of the British response was somewhat surprising, especially the handing out of capital sentences.
    • Status of HRA: In 1928, a year after the execution of the Kakori Conspiracy accused, the HRA merged with various other revolutionary groups that had emerged in Punjab, Bihar, and Bengal and became the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).