Chandra Shekhar Azad's 90th death anniversary: 'Azad hi rahein hain, azad hi rahenge'
Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday remembered freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad on his 90th death anniversary. "Remembering the fearless revolutionary freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad on his death anniversary today. An exceptional leader and a true patriot, Azad motivated and inspired many to join the freedom movement. His supreme sacrifice for our motherland will always be remembered,” Naidu tweeted.
Azad was born on July 23, 1906, as Chandra Shekhar Tiwari in Bhavra village of Madhya Pradesh in the family of Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. Azad’s mother asked his father to send their son to Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi. He was deeply affected by the massacre in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh in 1919. He joined the freedom struggle in 1921 while he was just a school student.
In December 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the non-cooperation movement, Azad took part in it. After joining the movement, he was arrested by the British police and when he was presented before a magistrate, he declared his name to be 'Azad', his father's name as 'Swatantra', and his residence as 'prison'. Since then, the title of ‘Azad’, which means free in Urdu, was attached to his name.
After the suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922, Azad joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organisation formed by Ramprasad Bismil. Azad was involved in the Kakori Train Robbery on August 9, 1925, against the British Raj. He was also involved in the shooting of JP Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai, and in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy of India's train in 1929.
Azad lost his life in a face-off with the British police in Alfred Park in Allahabad on February 27, 1931. After single-handedly fighting the police for a while with just a pistol and a few cartridges, Azad shot himself in the head, fulfilling his vow of dying as a free man and not as a British captive. The Colt pistol of Chandra Shekhar Azad is displayed at the Allahabad Museum.
Azad used to fondly recite a Hindustani couplet which was his only poetic composition: 'Dushman ki goliyon ka hum saamna karenge. Azad hi rahein hain, azad hi rahenge'