Home >> India Information >> Great Indians >> Freedom Fighters
Login
|
 Register Now 

Bagha Jatin

Bagha Jatin, born Jatindranath Mukherjee was a Bengali Indian revolutionary activist against British rule. He was one of the leaders of the Yugantar party that was the main association of revolutionaries in Bengal, and was responsible for the planned German Plot during World War I. Jatin was born in Kayagram, a village in the Kushtia subdivision of Nadia district in what is now Bangladesh. His parents were Umeshchandra Mukherjee and Sharatshashi; he grew up in his ancestral home at Jhenaidah till his father's death when Jatin was five years old. His mother settled in her parents' home in Kayagram with him and his elder sister Benodebala. As he grew older, Jatin gained a reputation for physical bravery and great strength; the name by which he came to be known ("Bagha Jatin" - Tiger Jatin) derived from an incident in which he killed a tiger with nothing but a knife.

Date of Birth Dec 7, 1879
Date of Death Sep 10, 1915
Place of Birth Nadia district

After passing the Entrance examination in 1895, he joined the Calcutta Central College (now Maulana Azad College), for his First Arts. Soon he started visiting Swami Vivekananda, whose social thought, and especially his vision of a politically independent India, had a great influence on him. In 1900, Jatin married Indubala Banerjee of the Kumarkhali upazila in Kushtia; they had four children: Atindra (1903-1906), Ashalata (1907-1976), Tejendra (1909-1989) and Birendra (1913-1991). Jatin, together with Barindra Ghosh, set up a terrorist bomb factory near Deoghar, while Barin did the same at Maniktala in Calcutta; the aim, aside from the general production of terror, was the elimination of certain British officers. In 1908 Jatin was not one of over thirty revolutionaries accused in the Alipore bomb case following the Muzaffarpur bombing. During the Alipore Bomb Case, Jatin took over the leadership of the Yugantar Party, and revitalised the links between the central organization in Calcutta and its several branches spread all over Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and several places in U.P. On 24 January 1910, as part of a Yugantar campaign against those who had been responsible for the arrests and trials in the Alipore bomb case, Samsul Alam, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, was shot and killed by Biren Dutta Gupta on the stairs of the Calcutta High Court building. Jatin was arrested in connection with this murder, but was released and immediately re-arrested along with forty-six others in connection with the Howrah conspiracy case. While held in Howrah jail, awaiting trial, Jatin made contact with many fellow prisoners, prominent revolutionaries belonging to various groups operating in different parts of Bengal, who were all accused in the case. He was also informed by his emissaries abroad that very soon Germany was to declare war against England. He counted heavily on this war to organise an armed uprising among the Indian soldiers in various regiments. The Howrah conspiracy case failed due to lack of proper evidence ,and Jatin was acquitted in 1911 and released. He lost his government job, and started a contract business constructing the Jessore-Jhenaidah railway line. He went on a pilgrimage, and at Hardwar visited Bholananda Giri who had given him spiritual instruction in 1906. Jatin went on to Brindavan where he met Swami Niralamba (who, before becoming a sanyasi, had been Jateendra Nath Bannerjee), a renowned revolutionary who followed Sri Aurobindo's teachings. Niralamba gave Jatin information about and links to the units set up by him in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab, revolutionary activities in these regions being led by Lala Hardayal and Rash Behari Bose. On return from his pilgrimage, Jatin started reorganising Yugantar. During the flooding of Hughli and Midnapore, relief work brought together the leaders of various of these groups, and they chose Jatin and Rashbehari Bose as leaders in Bengal and northern India respectively. There were also attempts to organise expatriate Indian revolutionaries; a Yugantar Ashram was set up in San Francisco, California, and the Sikh community also became involved. When World War I broke out, European-based Indian revolutionaries met in Berlin in order to form the Indian Independence Party, and gained the support of the German government. In September 1914, the International Pro-India Committee was formed at Zurich by Champakaraman Pillai, who also became its president. Later it was merged into a bigger body, the Berlin Committee, led by Chatto, alias Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, which had as members almost all the prominent Indian revolutionaries abroad, including the leaders of the Ghadar Party. Many members of the Gadhar party arrived in India, and helped the revolutionaries in their attempts to create an uprising inside India during World War I, with the help of arms, ammunition, and funds supplied by the German government. Yugantar, under Jatin's leadership, had been planning and organising an armed revolt. Rash Behari Bose accepted the task of carrying out the plan in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. This plan came to be known as the the German Plot, the Indo-German Conspiracy, or the Zimmermann Plan. Yugantar started to collect funds by organising a series of dacoities (armed robberies) known as "Taxicab dacoities" and "Boat dacoities". As the police activities to prevent any uprising increased, eminent members of Yugantar suggested that Jatin should move to a safer place. Balasore on the Orissa coast was selected as a suitable place, as it was very near the spot where German arms were to be landed for the Indian rising. To facilitate transmission of information to Jatin, a business house under the name "Universal Emporium" was set up, as a branch of Harry & Sons in Calcutta, which had been created in order to keep contacts with revolutionaries abroad. Jatin therefore moved to a hideout outside Kaptipada village in the native state of Mayurbhanj, more than thirty miles away from Balasore. Jatin was alerted and advised to leave his hiding place, but his insistence on taking Niren and Jatish with him delayed his departure by a few hours, by which time a large force of police, headed by top European officers from Calcutta and Balasore, reinforced by the army unit from Chandbali in Mayurbhanj State, had reached the neighbourhood. Jatin and his companions walked through the forests and hills of Mayurbhanj, and after two days reached Balasore Railway Station. The police had announced a reward for the capture of the fleeing revolutionaries, so the local villagers were also in pursuit. With occasional skirmishes, the revolutionaries, running through jungles and marshy land in torrential rain, finally took up position on September 9, 1915 in an improvised trench in undergrowth on a hillock at Chashakhand in Balasore. Chittapriya and his companions asked Jatin to leave and go to safety while they guarded the rear. Jatin refused to leave them, however. The contingent of Government forces surrounded them. A gunfight ensued, lasting seventy-five minutes, between the five revolutionaries armed with Mauser pistols and a large number of police and army armed with modern rifles. It ended with an unrecorded number of casualties on the Government side; on the revolutionary side, Chittapriya Ray Chaudhuri died, Jatin and Jatish were seriously wounded, and Manoranjan Sengupta and Niren were captured after their ammunition ran out. Jatin died in Balasore hospital on 10 September 1915.