History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Revolutionary Ashfaqullah Khan

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : HSRA

Mains level : HSRA and its revolutionary activities

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet has approved a proposal for a zoological garden spread across 121 acres in Gorakhpur, to be named after the freedom fighter and revolutionary Ashfaqullah Khan.

Ashfaqullah Khan

  • Khan was a freedom fighter who, along with Ram Prasad Bismil, was sentenced to death for the Kakori train robbery, commonly referred to as the Kakori conspiracy of 1925.
  • He was born on October 22, 1900, in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • He grew up at a time when Mahatma Gandhi had launched the non-cooperation movement and urged Indians not to pay taxes to the government or co-operate with the British.

Moved by NCM withdrawal

  • Within about 1.5 years of the movement’s launch, in February 1922, the Chauri Chaura incident took place in Gorakhpur — a large number of non-cooperation protestors clashed with the police and set the police station on fire, killing roughly 22 policemen.
  • Opposed to violence, Gandhi called off the movement.
  • The youth of the country were greatly disappointed and disillusioned with this. Khan was one among these youths.
  • Subsequently, he joined the revolutionaries and became acquainted with Bismil.

Ashfaqullah Khan and the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

  • In the mid-1920s, Khan and Bismil went on to found the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), with the aim of winning freedom for the country through an armed revolution.
  • HSRA published its manifesto titled “The Revolutionary” in 1925.
  • It held that the immediate object of the revolutionary party in the domain of politics is to establish a federal Republic of United State of India by an organized and armed revolution.
  • The final constitution of this Republic shall be framed and declared at a time when the representatives of India shall have the power to carry out their decision.
  • But the basic principles of this Republic will be universal suffrage and abolition of all system which make the exploitation of man by man possible, e.g. the railways, the mines and other industries such as the manufacture of steel and ships all these shall be nationalised.

The Kakori Conspiracy

  • In August 1925, an armed robbery took place on board the Kakori Express, going from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow, carrying money that had been collected at various railway stations and was to be deposited in Lucknow.
  • In this planned robbery, carried out to fund the activities of the HSRA, Bismil, Khan and over 10 other revolutionaries stopped the train and fled with the cash they found in it.
  • Within a month of the robbery, many members of the HSRA were arrested.
  • In September 1926, Bismil was arrested however Khan was on the run and was later arrested.
  • The trial for the case went on for about 1.5 years. It ended in April 1927, with Bismil, Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh sentenced to death, and the others given life sentences.
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