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The Chittagong uprising

Here is everything you need to know about what transpired after and what brought about the revolution that inspired Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Je Jaan Sey and Shonali Bose’s Chittagong.

bollywood Updated: Dec 02, 2010 14:56 IST

Also called the Chittagong Armoury Raid, the uprising occurred on April 18, 1930 in the city of Chittagong now in present-day Bangladesh.

Formerly referred to as Port Grande and Islamabad, is now Bangladesh’s largest port and second largest city.
Among the armed revolutionaries was the 14-year-old Subodh Roy who like the others, was also imprisoned in Cellular Jail, Port Blair, and later released in 1940. He died on August 27, 2006.

Masterda Surjya Sen, the Chief architect of the uprising was a teacher by profession. His nickname Masterda means ‘teacher brother’.

Surjya Sen’s plan was to capture Chittagong’s two main armouries and take down the communications and railway lines.

His plan also included assassinating the members of the European Club – military and government officials who were responsible for siding with the British to maintain the Raj.

A total of 65 revolutionaries took part in the raid, which was undertaken in the name of the Indian Republican Army, Chittagong branch.

A few days after the successful raids, some of the revolutionaries were traced. They were surrounded by several thousand British troops and in the ensuing fight, 80 soldiers and 12 revolutionaries were killed.

Surjya Sen went in to hiding for the next three years. He took up jobs as a farmer, priest, milkman and houseworker. However, he was eventually betrayed by a member in his group and was hanged to death on January 12, 1934.

Tarakeswar Dastidar, the new president of the Chittagong Branch Jugantar Party, who made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Masterda from the Chittagong Jail was also hanged alongside his friend.

Anant Singh
He was one of the major participants in the looting of the Chittagong Armoury. He was in school when he impressed Surjya Sen with his courage, valour, wit, intellect and devotion toward his cause.

Nirmal Sen
One of Surjya’s closest friends, Nirmal was a passionate revolutionary who had already been sent to jail once prior to the Chittagong attack.

Pritilata Waddedar
In 1932, Surjya assigned the Bengali revolutionary to lead a team of 12 men for an attack on the Pahartali European Club, which bore the sign ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’. The team was instructed to carry cyanide in case they were caught. The raid was successful but Pritilata, who was dressed as a man was trapped and committed suicide.

Kalpana Datta
In 1931 Surjya entrusted her with Pritilata Waddedar to attack the European Club in Chittagong. A week before the attack, she was arrested during the reconnaissance of the area. She went underground after release on bail. On February 17, 1933, the police encircled their hiding place and Surjya Sen was arrested, but Kalpana was able to escape.

Surjya Sen
He was a Bengali freedom fighter, activist and the chief architect of the anti-British freedom movement in Chittagong. By 1923 he spread the revolutionary organisation in different parts of Chittagong. Aware of the limited equipment and other resources of the freedom fighters, he was convinced of the need for secret Guerrilla warfare against the colonial government. One of his early successful undertakings was a broad day robbery at the treasury office of the Assam-Bengal Railway at Chittagong on December 23, 1923. He was arrested in February 1933 and was hanged on January 12, 1934.

Lokenath Bal
Sophisticated and suave, he was often mistaken for an Englishman and that is what he used to his advantage on the fateful night of April 18, as he infiltrated the British Cantonment posing as a British officer.

Ambika Chakroborty
The most senior and experienced of the group, Ambika was responsible for finance and procurement.

Ganesh Ghosh
This Bengali revolutionary and politician participated in the Chittagong armoury raid in 1930. After the trial, he was deported to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair in 1932. After independence, he became a leader of the Communist Party of India.