Surya Sen was a Indian freedom fighter who led the 1930 Chittagong armoury raid against the British colonial rule in India. He was a revolutionary at heart. He was the chief architect of the anti-British freedom movement in Chittagong, Bengal.
Surya Sen was born on 22nd March 1894 in Chittagong, Bengal. Though Chittagong was pretty much isolated from the mainland India he learnt a lot about the independence movement through his teacher. The seed of revolution was already sown in the young age. He took the career in teaching and earned much respect in his profession. It was during this time he got his popular name ‘Master Da’
From 1910 to 1920, he was instrumental in building the momentum for a nationwide non-cooperation movement that spread to far corners of the country. In 1918, he was selected as president of Indian National Congress, Chittagong branch.
The seed of revolution took root in his heart and he proceeded to join revolutionary organization Anushilan Samity. The next plan was the Chittagong Revolution.
The Chittagong Revolution
Surya Sen completely got involved in Freedom struggle after the failure of non-cooperation movement. He led a group of like-minded revolutionaries to raid the armoury of police from the Chittagong armoury. He teamed up with other revolutionaries like Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Bal, Naresh Roy, Sasanka Datta, Ardhendu Dastidar, and others to plan this raid.
Surya Sen taking the lead of the revolution proposed that the team capture the two main armouries in Chittagong. Then destroy the telegraph and telephone office. And soon assassinate the members of the “European Club”—the government or military officials involved in maintaining the British Raj in India. The elaborate plan also included cutting off rail and communication lines in order to sever Chittagong from Calcutta
The plan was executed on 18 April 1930. A group of revolutionaries led by Ganesh Ghosh captured the police armoury, while another group of ten men led by Lokenath Bal took the Auxiliary Forces armory.
There were around 65 individuals involved in the raid, but the revolutionaries could not locate ammunition though they were successful in cutting telephone and telegraph wires and disrupting the movement of the trains.
However 18 April 1930 was Good Friday and most of the Europeans were at home. On learning of the raid, they raised an alarm and took out the troops. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries gathered outside the police armory where Surya Sen took a military salute, hoisted the National Flag, and proclaimed a Provisional Revolutionary Government.
After the raid the revolutionaries took shelter in Jalalabad hills near Chittagong. On 22 April 1930, they were surrounded by several thousand troops and a bloody gunfight followed. Over 80 troops and 12 revolutionaries were killed.
Surya Sen dispersed the remaining revolutionaries to neighboring villages in small groups. Several of them were arrested or killed over the ensuing days while some managed to flee to Calcutta. Sen himself lived in hiding, frequently moving from one place to another. During this period he worked as a farmer, a milkman, and a priest among others. Meanwhile, the other escaped revolutionaries managed to reorganize their broken organization.
Unfortunately an insider of the group, Netra Sen, betrayed Surya Sen and gave away his location to the British police. The police arrested Surya Sen on 16 February 1933. Enraged, one of the revolutionaries killed Netra Sen in retaliation.
After Sen was arrested, fellow revolutionary Tarakeshwar Dastidar made a plan to rescue Surya Sen from the Chittagong Jail. However the police learned of the plan and arrested all those involved. Surya Sen along with Tarekeshwar Dastidar was hanged by the British on 12 January 1934. He was brutally tortured before his execution.
Many movies on the life of this brave revolutionary have been made. These include Bengali movie ‘Chattagram Astragar Lunthan’ (1949), ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ (2010) and ‘Chittagong’ (2012)
The Awakened Indian team commemorates Freedom fighter Surya Sen on his Smruti Din.
Reference : Surya Sen Bio, Wikipedia