First half of 20th century saw the emergence of revolutionary nationalism as a new dimension and tool for attaining freedom.
Revolutionary methods were employed by highly motivated nationalist youth whose creative energies failed to find adequate space with the existing political trends.
Reason for Rise of Revolutionary Activities
- Frustration with mendicancy: Extremists critique of moderate politics based on petitions and arguments had convinced youth about the futility of these measures.
- Brutal repression of Swadeshi movement
Regional spread of revolutionary movement
Revolutionary Movement in Punjab
- Hindustan Republican Association was formed in October 1924, in Kanpur by Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee and Sachin Sanyal to organize armed rebellion to overthrow the government.
- Aim was to establish the Federal Republic of United States of India.
- This organization conducted the Kakori Robbery in 1925 wherein Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri were hanged.
- Bhagat Singh organized Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha in 1926 and was a complete supporter of Marxist ideas.
- Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev organised the Lahore Students Union for open, legal work among students.
- HRA was reorganized in 1928 and named as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. It made socialism its collective aim. New participants included Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Bhagwati Haran Vohra from Punjab and Bejoy Kumar Sinha, Shiv Verma and Jaidev Kapoor from United Province.
- In December 1928, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Rajguru shot dead Saunders on the pretext that Lala Lajpat Rai was killed due to the lathi-charge order him.
- In 1929 Bhagat Singh and B K Dutt threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and Trade Disputes Bill which aimed at curtailing the civil liberties of citizens. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were tried in the Lahore Conspiracy case.
- Chandrashekhar Azad was also involved in a bid to blow up the Viceroy Irwin’s train near Delhi. He later committed suicide in Allahabad.
- Trade Disputes Act (1929) provided for compulsory appointment of Courts of Enquiry and Conciliation Boards for settling industrial disputes, made strikes illegal in public utility services (like Postal Service, Railways, Water and Electricity Departments) unless each worker planning to go on strike gave advance notice of one month to the Administration and, above all, forbade trade union activities of coercive or purely political nature and even sympathetic strikes.
- Public Safety Bill allowed detaining suspects without any trial. It was brought into the council to curb communist ideology and communist activities across British India.
Revolutionary Movement in Bengal
- Surya Sen decided to organise an armed rebellion along with his associates Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and Lokenath Baul.
- Chittagong Armory Raid was conducted in 1930 by Surya Sen along with other supporters under the banner Indian Republican Army.
- Prominent women revolutionaries in Bengal during this phase were Pritilata Waddedar who died conducting a raid, and Kalpana Dutt, who was arrested and given a life sentence.
- Shanti Ghosh and Suniti Chanderi, schoolgirls of Comilla, shot dead the district magistrate of Tippera, B. Stevens.
- There was Bina Das who fired point-blank at the Governor while receiving her degree at the Convocation.
Why after non-cooperation movement
- British government wanted to create a humane reputation to allow Montford reforms to work smoothly.
- Sudden withdrawal of Non-cooperation Movement brought disillusionment to revolutionary activists.
- Upsurge of working-class trade unionism gave the men and muscle to the revolutionary ideas.
- Newly sprouting communist groups with their emphasis on Marxism, socialism and the proletariat.
- Journals were published extolling the self-sacrifice of revolutionaries, such as Bijoli, Sarathi and Atmashakti.
- Rise of new leaders like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, and Surya Sen.