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Ram Prasad Bismil

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Ram Prasad Bismil

Ram Prasad Bismil
Born (1897-06-11)11 June 1897
Shahjahanpur, United Province, British India
Died 19 December 1927(1927-12-19) (aged 30)
Gorakhpur Jail, United Province, British India
Movement Indian independence movement
Religion Hindu

Ram Prasad Bismil     (11 June 1897 – 19 December 1927) was an Indian revolutionary who participated in Mainpuri conspiracy of 1918, and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925, and struggled against British imperialism. As well as being a freedom fighter, he was also a patriotic poet and wrote in Hindi and Urdu using the pen names Ram, Agyat and Bismil. But, he became popular with the last name "Bismil" only. He was associated with Arya Samaj where he got inspiration from Satyarth Prakash, a book written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. He also had a confidential connection with Lala Har Dayal through his guru Swami Somdev, a preacher of Arya Samaj.

Bismil was one of the founder members of the revolutionary organisation Hindustan Republican Association. Bhagat Singh praised him[1][2] as a great poet-writer of Urdu and Hindi, who had also translated the books Catherine from English and Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot from Bengali. Several inspiring patriotic verses are attributed to him; these include the poem Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna, although that is sometimes also said to be the work of "Bismil" Azimabadi of Patna.

Early life

Ram Prasad Bismil was born on 11 June 1897 to Murlidhar and Moolmati at Shahjahanpur, in United Province, British India. He learnt Hindi from his father at home and was sent to learn Urdu from a moulvi. He was admitted to an English-language school, despite of his father's disapproval, and also joined the Arya Samaj in Shahjahanpur. Bismil showed a talent for writing patriotic poetry.

Contact with Somdev

As an 18-year old student, Bismil read of the death sentence passed on Bhai Parmanand, a scholar and companion of Har Dayal. At that time he was regularly attending the Arya Samaj Temple at Shahjahanpur daily, where Swami Somdev, a friend of Paramanand, was staying. Angered by the sentence, Bismil composed a poem in Hindi titled Mera Janm (en: My Birth), which he showed to Somdev. This poem demonstrated a commitment to remove the British control over India.

Lucknow Congress

Bismil left school in the following year and travelled to United Province (now Uttar Pradesh) to strengthen their organisations.

On 28 January 1918, Bismil published a pamphlet titled Deshvasiyon Ke Nam Sandesh (A Message to Countrymen), which he distributed along with his poem Mainpuri Ki Pratigya (Vow of Mainpuri). To collect funds for the party looting was undertaken on three occasions in 1918. Police searched for them in and around Mainpuri while they were selling books proscribed by the U.P. Government in the Delhi Congress of 1918. When police found them, Bismil absconded with the books unsold. When he was planning another looting between Delhi and Agra, a police team arrived and firing started from both the sides. Bismil jumped into the Yamuna and swam underwater. The police and his companions thought that he had died in the encounter. Dixit was arrested along with his other companions and was kept in Agra fort. From here, he fled to Delhi and lived in hiding. A criminal case was filed against them. The incident is known as the "Mainpuri Conspiracy" against the British King Emperor. On 1 November 1919 the Judiciary Magistrate of Mainpuri B.S. Chris announced the judgement against all accused and declared Dixit and Bismil as absconders.

Underground activities

From 1919 to 1920 Bismil remained inconspicuous, moving around various villages in Uttar Pradesh and producing several books. Among these was a collection of poems written by him and others, entitled Man Ki Lahar, while he also translated two works from Bengali (Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot and Yogik Sadhan) and fabricated Catherine or Swadhinta Ki Devi from an English text. He got all these books published through his own resources under Sushilmala – a series of publications except one Yogik Sadhan which was given to a publisher who absconded and could not be traced. These books have since been found. Another of Bismil's books, Kranti Geetanjali, was published in 1929 after his death and was proscribed by British Raj in 1931.

Formation of Hindustan Republican Association

In February 1920, when all the prisoners in the Mainpuri conspiracy case were freed, Bismil returned home to Shahjahanpur, where he agreed with the official authorities that he would not participate in revolutionary activities. This statement of Ram Prasad was also recorded in vernacular before the court.

In 1921, Bismil was among the many people from Shahjahanpur who attended the Ahmedabad Congress. He had a seat on the dias, along with the senior congressman Prem Krishna Khanna, and the revolutionary Ashfaqulla Khan. Bismil played an active role in the Congress with Maulana Hasrat Mohani and got the most debated proposal of Poorna Swaraj passed in the General Body meeting of Congress. Mohandas K. Gandhi, who was not in the favour of this proposal became quite helpless before the overwhelming demand of youths. He returned to Shahjahanpur and mobilised the youths of United Province for non-co-operation with the Government. The people of U.P. were so much influenced by the furious speeches and verses of Bismil that they became hostile against British Raj. As per statement of Banarsi Lal (approver)[3] made in the court – "Ram Prasad used to say that independence would not be achieved by means of non-violence."

In February 1922 some agitating farmers were killed in Chauri Chaura by the police. The police station of Chauri Chaura was attacked by the people and 22 policemen were burnt alive. Gandhi, without ascertaining the facts behind this incident, declared an immediate stop the non-co-operation movement without consulting any executive committee member of the Congress. Bismil and his group of youths strongly opposed Gandhi in the Gaya session of Indian National Congress (1922). When Gandhi refused to rescind his decision, its then president Chittranjan Das resigned and the Indian National Congress was divided into two groups – the Naram Dal and the Garam Dal. In January 1923, the rich group of party formed a new Swaraj Party under the joint leadership of Pt. Moti Lal Nehru and Chittranjan Das, and the youth group formed a revolutionary party under the leadership of Bismil.

Yellow Paper constitution

With the consent of [4] and later on a subsequent Constitutional Committee Meeting was conducted on 3 October 1924 at Kanpur in U.P. under the Chairmanship of Sachindra Nath Sanyal.

This meeting decided the name of the party would be the Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, was given the responsibility of Coordinator, Anushilan Samiti. After attending the meeting in Kanpur, both Sanyal and Chatterjee left the U.P. and proceeded to Bengal for further extension of the organisation.

Manifesto of H.R.A.

A pamphlet entitled as The Revolutionary was distributed throughout the United Province in India about the end of January 1925. Copies of this leaflet, referred to in the evidence as the "White Leaflet", were also found with some other alleged conspirators of Kakori Conspiracy as per judgement of the Chief Court of Oudh. A typed copy of this manifesto was found with Manmath Nath Gupta.[4] It was nothing but the Manifesto of H.R.A. in the form of a four paged printed pamphlet on white paper which was circulated secretly by post and by hands in most of the districts of United Province and other parts of India.

This pamphlet bore no name of the printing press. The heading of the pamphlet was: "The Revolutionary" (An Organ of the Revolutionary Party of India). It was given 1st number and 1st issue of the publication. The date of its publication was given as 1 January 1925.[5]

Kakori conspiracy

Bismil executed a meticulous plan for looting the government treasury carried in a train at Kakori, near Lucknow in U.P. This historical event happened on 9 August 1925 and is known as the Kakori conspiracy. Ten revolutionaries stopped the 8 Down Saharanpur-Lucknow passenger train at Kakori – a station just before the Lucknow Railway Junction. German-made Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistols were used in this action. Ashfaqulla Khan, the lieutenant of the HRA Chief Ram Prasad Bismil gave away his Mauser to Manmath Nath Gupta and engaged himself to break open the cash chest. Eagerly watching a new weapon in his hand, Manmath Nath Gupta fired the pistol and incidentally a passenger Ahmed Ali, who got down the train to see his wife in ladies compartment, was killed in this rapid action.

More than 40 revolutionaries were arrested whereas only 10 persons had taken part in the decoity. Persons completely unrelated to the incident were also captured. However some of them were let off.[6] The government appointed Jagat Narain Mulla as public prosecuter at an incredible fee. Dr Harkaran Nath Mishra (Barrister M.L.A.) and Dr. Mohan Lal Saxena (M.L.C.) were appointed as defence councellers. The defence committee was also formed to defend the accused.[7] Govind Ballabh Pant, Chandra Bhanu Gupta and Kripa Shankar Hajela defended their case. The men were found guilty and subsequent appeals failed. On 16 September 1927, a final appeal for clemency was forwarded to the Privy Council in London but that also failed.

Following 18 months of legal process, Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death. Bismil was hanged on 19 December 1927 at Gorakhpur Jail, Ashfaqulla Khan at the Faizabad Jail and Roshan Singh at Naini Allahabad Jail. Lahiri had been hanged two days earlier at Gonda Jail.


Bismil's body was taken to the Rapti river for a Hindu cremation, and the site became known as Rajghat.

Literary works

Bismil was known for his poems that acted as motivation for his fellow revolutionaries.[8] Among them, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna is the most well-known.

He had also published a pamphlet titled Deshvasiyon ke nam sandesh (en: A message to my countrymen. While living underground, he translated some of Bengali books viz. Bolshevikon Ki Kartoot (en: The Bolshevik's programme) and Yogik Sadhan (of Arvind Ghosh). Beside these a collection of poems Man Ki Lahar (en: A sally of mind) and Swadeshi Rang was also written by him. Another Swadhinta ki devi: Catherine was fabricated from an English book[9] into Hindi. All of these were published by him in Sushil Mala series. Bismil wrote his autobiography while he was kept as condemned prisoner in Gorakhpur jail.[10]

The autobiography of Ram Prasad Bismil was published under the cover title of Kakori ke shaheed by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1928 from Pratap Press, Kanpur. A rough translation of this book was got prepared by the Criminal Investigation Department of United Province in British India. Translated book was circulated as confidential document for official and police use throughout the country.[11]


Ram Prasad Bismil Udyan (Park) in Greater Noida

Shaheed Smarak Samiti of Shahjahanpur established a memorial at Khirni Bagh mohalla of Shahjahanpur city where Bismil was born in 1897 and named it "Amar Shaheed Ram Prasad Bismil Smarak". A statue made of white marble was inaugurated by the then Governor of Uttar Pradesh Motilal Vora on 18 December 1994 on the 68th martyr's day of Bismil.

The Northern railway zone of Indian Railways built the Pt. Ram Prasad Bismil Railway Station, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Shahajahanpur.[12]

There is a memorial to the Kakori conspiracists at Kakori itself. It was inaugurated by the former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi on 19 December 1983.[13]

The Government of India issued a multicoloured commemorative postal stamp on 19 December 1997 in Bismil's birth centenary year.[14]

The government of Uttar Pradesh had named a park after him: Amar Shaheed Pt. Ram Prasad Bismil Udyan is near Rampur Jagir village, where Bismil lived underground after the Mainpuri conspiracy case in 1919.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "About the valiants of Kakori And the scenes of their hanging (From the pen of Revolutionary Martyr Bhagat Singh". Retrieved 15 May 2013. Shri Ram Prasad Bismal was a very promising young man. He was a great poet. He was very handsome. His capability was of very high order. Those who knew him would say confidently that if he had been born in some other country or at some other time, he would have become the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. He was regarded the leader of the entire conspiracy. Though he was not very highly educated, he could make the govt. counsels like Pt. Jagat Narayan Mulla lose his wits. He had written his own appeal to the Chief Court, for which the Judges had to say that behind this was the hand of some very enlightened intellectual. 
  2. ^ Waraich, Malwinder Jit Singh (2007). Musings from the gallows : autobiography of Ram Prasad Bismil. Unistar Books,  
  3. ^ Manzar, Habib (2004). "Revisiting Kakori Case on the basis of Vernacular Reportage". In Sinha, Atul Kumar. Perspectives in Indian History. p. 180. 
  4. ^ a b Manzar, Habib (2004). "Revisiting Kakori Case on the basis of Vernacular Reportage". In Sinha, Atul Kumar. Perspectives in Indian History. p. 178. 
  5. ^ Waraich, Malwinder Jit Singh (2007). Hanging of Ram Prasad Bismil : the judgement. Unistar Books,  
  6. ^ Rana, Bhawan Singh (2005). Chandra Shekhar Azad. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 46. 
  7. ^ Manzar, Habib (2004). "Revisiting Kakori Case on the basis of Vernacular Reportage". In Sinha, Atul Kumar. Perspectives in Indian History. pp. 179–180. 
  8. ^ History Book Sl.No. 12 Chapter Ram Prasad Bismil Page No. 82
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ram Prasad Bismil". Maps of Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Bhishma, (pseud) (1929). Kakori-ke-shahid : martyrs of the Kakori conspiracy case. Government Press, United Provinces, Allahabad. p. 125. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Sinha, Arunav (9 August 2011). "Tourist spot tag may uplift Kakori". Lucknow:  
  15. ^ "वतन की ख्वाहिशों पे जिंदगानी कुर्बान(en:Sacrifice of life for homeland)".  

Further reading

External links

  • Constitution of Hindustan Republican Association
  • Books of Ram Prasad Bismil in worldcat
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