July 20, 1905 the colonial government announced the partition of Bengal. The announcement was made by the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon and proposed to separate the muslim-majority East from the Hindu-majority West, with Dhaka and Kolkata as the respective capitals.
This led to tremendous agitation all across India and particularly in Bengal. Sri Aurobindo at that time was in Baroda but active in the revolutionary movement that wanted to overthrow the British government. From Baroda, he wrote to the revolutionary workers in Bengal “This is a fine opportunity. Carry on the anti-partition agitation powerfully. We will get many workers for the movement.” He also wrote and sent a pamphlet titled “No compromise” Not a single printing press in Bengal would print it, so it was typeset secretively in a friend’s house and a few 1000 distributed by hand.
This was also the time when Sri Aurobindo wrote the famous revolutionary booklet “Bhawani Mandir.” Although Sri Aurobindo wrote it, the idea for the booklet and indeed for the creation of a Bhawani Mandir which would be located in a forest on a mountain-top, where workers would dedicate themselves to the cause of India’s freedom in the spirit of complete renunciation and sharanagati to the great mother “Shakti” to that “Chandika / Bhawani” was Barindra Kumar Ghosh’ (Sri Aurobindo’s youngest brother) idea.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh (Barin); 1880-1959 was very active in the revolutionary movement in Bengal and worked closely with Bagha Jatin (Jatindranath Mukherjee). Barin and Bagha Jatin recruited many young revolutionaries from across Bengal and formed the Maniktala group in Maniktala, Kolkata, a secret godown for manufacturing bombs which also served as a store for arms and ammunition.
In 1908 Khudiram and Prafulla two young revolutionaries attached to the Maniktala group failed in their attempt to kill Kingsford, the Chief Magistrate of the Calcutta Presidency (who was infamous for inflicting harsh and severe punishment on even young boys who were part of the revolution).
Khudiram Bose who was arrested and subsequently tried and sentenced to death was only 18 years old when he was hanged to death. The British Newspaper “The Empire” noted that “Khudiram Bose was executed this morning…It is alleged that he mounted the scaffold with his body erect. He was cheerful and smiling.”
Prafulla the other young revolutionary took his own life when he ran out of bullets in a standoff with the British police (I will write about these two in a separate post).
The investigations that followed this assasination attempt led to the arrest of Barin Ghosh on 2 May 1908, along with many of his comrades. The trial (known as the Alipore Bomb Case) initially sentenced Barin Ghosh to death. However, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, and Barin was deported to the Cellular Jail in Andaman in 1909. He was released only in 1920 after 11 long years in one of the worst detention camps in history. His detention was not like that of the false heroes – Gandhi and Nehru spending their time in relative comfort even when under arrest – writing letters, books, and chatting with friends and prison staff.
Barin Ghosh later became a journalist and was even associated with “The Statesman” before he also followed his brother into spirituality. He died in 1959.
How many remember Barin Ghosh, or for that matter Khudiram or Prafulla? That is what was done to our history by the leftists and communists who usurped control over educational institutions in a Quid pro quo with the Congress and specifically Indira Gandhi – intellectual power to the Left and Political power to the Congress
Below is a passage from the booklet “Bhawani Mandir” which not only reflects the sorry and rotten state of the Hindus today but should (hopefully) also serve as a source of inspiration to take the fight forward. For, although the battle to reclaim our culture maybe lost for now, the war is still to be won and we shall prevail. That is how we Hindus are – it is the few, the committed who have kept the flame burning and so shall it be even now.
OUR KNOWLEDGE IS A DEAD THING FOR WANT OF SHAKTI
Is it knowledge that is wanting? We Indians, born and bred in a country where Jnana has been stored and accumulated since the race began, bear about in us the inherited gains of many thousands of years. Great giants of knowledge rise among us even today to add to the store. Our capacity has not shrunk, the edge of our intellect has not been dulled or blunted, its receptivity and flexibility are as varied as of old. But it is a dead knowledge, a burden under which we are bowed, a poison which is corroding us, rather than as it should be a staff to support our feet and a weapon in our hands; for this is the nature of all great things that when they are not used or are ill used, they turn upon the bearer and destroy him.
Our knowledge then, weighed down with a heavy load of Tamas, lies under the curse of impotence and inertia. We choose to fancy indeed, nowadays, that if we acquire Science, all will be well. Let us first ask ourselves what we have done with the knowledge we already possess, or what have those who have already acquired Science been able to do for India. Imitative and incapable of initiative, we have striven to copy the methods of England, and we had not the strength; we would now copy the methods of the Japanese, a still more energetic people; are we likely to succeed any better? The mighty force of knowledge which European Science bestows is a weapon for the hands of a giant, it is the mace of Bheemsen; what can a weakling do with it but crush himself in the attempt to wield it?”