Chauri Chaura incident

The Chauri Chaura incident occurred at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province, (modern Uttar Pradesh) in British India on 5 February 1922, when a large group of protesters, participating in the Non-cooperation movement, clashed with police, who opened fire. In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants. The incident led to the deaths of three civilians and 22 or 23 policemen. Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non co-operation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.[1] In his autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru describes this decision as a set back and extremely demoralizing for workers of Congress who were in jail when Gandhi took this decision.[2] Bhagat Singh protested at the taking back of the non-cooperation movement.

Chauri chaura new photo
Chauri Chaura Shahid Samarak

Background

In the early 1920, Indians, led by Mahatma Gandhi, were engaged in a nationwide non-cooperation movement. Using non-violent methods of civil disobedience known as Satyagraha protests were organised by the Indian National Congress to challenge oppressive government regulatory measures such as the Rowlatt Act,with the ultimate goal of swaraj or independence.

The incident

Two days before the incident, on 2 February 1922, volunteers participating in the Non-cooperation Movement protested against high meat prices in the marketplace. The demonstrators were beaten back by local police. Several of their leaders were arrested and put in the lockup at the Chauri Chaura police station. In response, a protest against the police was called for 4 February, to be held in the local marketplace.[3]

On 5 February, approximately 2,000 to 2,500 protesters assembled and began marching towards the market at Chauri Chaura. They had gathered to picket a liquor shop in the market place. One of their leaders was arrested. Part of the crowd gathered in front of the local police station shouting slogans demanding the release of their leader. Armed police were dispatched to control the situation while the crowd marched towards the market and started shouting anti-government slogans. In an attempt to frighten and disperse the crowd, the police fired warning shots into the air. This only agitated the crowd who began to throw stones at the police.[4][5][6]

With the situation getting out of control, the Indian sub-inspector in charge ordered the police to open fire on the advancing crowd, killing three and wounding several others. Reports vary on the reason for the police retreat, with some claiming that the constables ran out of ammunition while others claimed that the crowd's unexpectedly assertive reaction to the gunfire was the cause. In the ensuing chaos, the heavily outnumbered police fell back to the shelter of the police chowki while the angry mob advanced. Infuriated by the gunfire into their ranks, the crowd set the chowki ablaze, killing all of the Indian policemen and chaprassis (official messengers) trapped inside.[4][5][6] Most were burned to death though several appear to have been killed by the crowd at the entrance to the chowki and their bodies thrown back into the fire. The death count is reported variously in the literature as 22 or 23 policemen killed, possibly due to the subsequent death of an additional burn victim.[4][5][6]

Aftermath

In response to the killing of the police, British authorities declared martial law in and around Chauri Chaura. Several raids were conducted and hundreds of people were arrested.

Appalled at the outrage, Gandhi went on a five-day fast as penance for what he perceived as his culpability in the bloodshed.[5] In reflection, Gandhi felt that he had acted too hastily in encouraging people to revolt against the British Raj without sufficiently emphasising the importance of ahimsa (non-violence) and without adequately training the people to exercise restraint in the face of attack. He decided that the Indian people were ill-prepared and not yet ready to do what was needed to achieve independence. Gandhi was also arrested and sentenced to six years of imprisonment but was later released in February 1924, on grounds of his ill health.[6]

On 12 February 1922, the Indian National Congress halted the Non-cooperation Movement on the national level as a direct result of the Chauri Chaura tragedy.[7]

Nehru and most of the workers of the Congress, who were in prison when Gandhi took this decision, felt that this was a hasty and incorrect decision at a time when the nation was finally uniting and rising up to the might of the British government in India. A few months after this withdrawal, the government arrested Gandhi and put him in jail.[2]

Trial and conviction

A total of 228 people were brought to trial on charges of "rioting and arson" in conjunction with the Chauri Chaura affair.[8] Of these 6 died while in police custody, while 172 were sentenced to death by hanging following conviction in a trial which lasted eight months.[8]

A storm of protest erupted over the verdicts, which were characterised as "legalised murder" by Indian Communist leader M.N. Roy,[8] who called for a general strike of Indian workers.[9]

On 20 April 1923, the Allahabad High Court reviewed the death verdicts; 19 death sentences were confirmed and 110 were sentenced to prison for life, with the rest sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.[10]

Memorial

  • A memorial to the dead policemen was dedicated by the British authorities in 1923.[11] Following Independence the words Jai Hind[1] were added to it, as well as a verse by poet Jagdamba Prasad Mishra which is made famous by revolutionary poet Ram Prasad Bismil. The verse reads: Shaheedon ki chitaaon par lagenge har baras mele (On the pyres of martyrs, there will be fairs every year).[12]
  • The people of the district did not forget the 19 persons tried and executed after the Chauri Chaura incident . In 1971, they formed an association called - Chauri Chaura Shaheed Smarak Samiti. In 1973, this Samiti constructed near the lake at Chauri Chaura a 12.2 meters high triangular minaret on each side of which a figure is depicted hanging with a noose round his neck. The minaret was built at a cost of Rs 13,500 contributed by popular subscription.[11][1][12]
  • Later another Shaheed Smarak (now the main one) was built by the Government of India to honour those hanged after the incident. This tall memorial has names of those executed engraved upon it.[13] A library & museum related to the independence struggle has been set up near the memorial.
  • Indian Railways have named a train to honour those executed after the Chauri Chaura incident. The train is named Chauri Chaura Express, which runs from Gorakhpur to Kanpur.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Haunted by memories". India Today newspaper. 20 October 2003. Retrieved 5 Jan 2017.
  2. ^ a b Nehru, Jawaharlal (1 July 1936). An Autobiography. Bodley Head. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ Event, Metaphor, Memory - Chauri Chaura 1922-92 by Shahid Amin
  4. ^ a b c Longman History & Civics Icse 10 By Singh Vipul. 2009. p. 91.
  5. ^ a b c d Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life By Kathryn Tidrick. 2006. pp. 176–180.
  6. ^ a b c d History of Modern India: 1707 A.D. to 2000 A.D. By Radhey Shyam Chaurasia. 2002. p. 355.
  7. ^ Batsha, "Gandhi and Chauri Chaura,"
  8. ^ M.N. Roy, "An Appeal to the Labour Unions of India," Vanguard, vol. 2, no. 2 (1 March 1923). Reprinted in G. Adhikari (ed.), Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India: Volume 2, 1923–1925. New Delhi: People's Publishing House, 1974; pp. 64–65.
  9. ^ "The Chauri Chaura Case," Vanguard, vol. 2, no. 8 (1 June 1923). Reprinted in G. Adhikari (ed.), Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India: Volume 2, 1923–1925. New Delhi: People's Publishing House, 1974; pp. 68–69.
  10. ^ a b "No tears for these martyrs". Times of India. 22 July 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Your memory versus mine". Hindustan Times. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Dilapidated freedom fighters' memorial angers Gorakhpur residents". DNA. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.

External links

1922 in India

Events in the year 1922 in India.

Chauri Chaura

Chauri Chaura (Pargana: Haveli, Tehsil: Gorakhpur) is a town near Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, located on the State Highway between Gorakhpur and Deoria, 30.5 kilometres (19.0 mi). from Gorakhpur. It has a railway station which is 25 km. south-east of the Gorakhpur railway junction.

In 1922 the town was the site of the Chauri Chaura incident in which police shot and killed several demonstrators who were participating in the Non-cooperation movement and a police station was set on fire by the protesters, resulting in the deaths of at least 22 policemen. This incident is depicted in the movie Gandhi.

Chauri Chaura Express

The 15003 / 04 Kanpur Anwarganj Gorakhpur Chauri Chaura Express is a Express train belonging to Indian Railways - North Eastern Railway zone that runs between Kanpur Anwarganj & Gorakhpur Junction in India.

It operates as train number 15003 from Kanpur Anwarganj to Gorakhpur Junction and as train number 15004 in the reverse direction serving the state of Uttar Pradesh.

It is named after the town of Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh which is famous for the Chauri Chaura incident of 1922.

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Dharasana Satyagraha was a protest against the British salt tax in colonial India in May, 1930. Following the conclusion of the Salt March to Dandi, Mahatma Gandhi chose a non-violent raid of the Dharasana Salt Works in Gujarat as the next protest against British rule. Hundreds of satyagrahis were beaten by soldiers under British command at Dharasana. The ensuing publicity attracted world attention to the Indian independence movement and brought into question the legitimacy of British rule in India.

Dukkipati Nageswara Rao

Dukkipati Nageswara Rao was an Indian independence movement activist from Krishna District.Rao was sent to prison 16 times. He also met Mahatma Gandhi in his home town Peyyeri about 30 miles from his village Nandamuru during the Quit India Movement in 1942. The Government of Andhra Pradesh posthumously gave him 10 acres of land and a Tamra Patra (Certificate) which was given in accordance with the struggle that he fought for the freedom against the British. Apart from serving in several prisons in Andhra Pradesh he also had the privilege of meeting Late Sarvepalli Radhakrishna during the independence struggle. He was also in many noteworthy prisons like Bellary Jail, Tiruchirapalli Jail, and Vellore prisons during the freedom struggle.

Flag Satyagraha

In India, Flag Satyagraha (Hindi: झंडा सत्याग्रह) is a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience during the Indian independence movement that focused on exercising the right and freedom to hoist the nationalist flag and challenge the legitimacy of the British Rule in India through the defiance of laws prohibiting the hoisting of nationalist flags and restricting civil freedoms. Flag Satyagrahas were conducted most notably in the city of Nagpur in 1923 but also in many other parts of India.

Gandhi Jayanti

Gandhi Jayanti is a national festival celebrated in India to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born 2 October 1869. It is celebrated annually on 2 October, and it is one of the three national holidays of India. The UN General Assembly announced on 15 June 2007 that it adopted a resolution which declared that 2 October will be celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Gandhi Smriti

Gandhi Smriti formerly known as Birla House or Birla Bhavan, is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, situated on Tees January Road, formerly Albuquerque Road, in New Delhi, India. It is the location where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and was assassinated on 30 January 1948. It was originally the house of the Indian business tycoons, the Birla family. It is now also home to the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum, which was established in 2005.

Gorakhpur district

Gorakhpur is a district of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is one of the major and largest districts of Uttar Pradesh. Gorakhpur is the administrative headquarters of the district. Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh is from Gorakhpur.

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Kanu Gandhi (scientist)

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He studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduated with a master's degree in civil engineering in 1963. Later he worked for NASA and United States Department of Defense on aircraft design. His wife Shivalaxmi was a professor and researcher in Boston Biomedical Research Institute. They had no children. In 2014 they moved back to India. He died in a private hospital in Surat.

Kesari (newspaper)

Kesari (Marathi: केसरी Sanskrit for Lion) is a Marathi newspaper which was founded in 1881 by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a prominent leader of the Indian Independence movement. The newspaper was used as a spokes piece for the Indian national freedom movement, and continues to be published by the Kesari Maratha Trust and Tilak's descendants.Bal Gangadhar Tilak used to run his two newspapers, Kesari, in Marathi and Mahratta (Run by Kesari-Maratha Trust)'' in English from Kesari Wada, Narayan Peth, Pune. The newspapers were originally started as a co-operative by Chiplunkar, Agarkar and Tilak.

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Martyrs' Day (India)

In India, there are five days declared as Martyrs' Day (at national level also known as Sarvodaya day). They are named in honour of those who are recognised as martyrs for the nation.

Non-cooperation movement

The Non-Cooperation Movement was a significant but short phase of the Indian independence movement from British rule. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and lasted from 1920 to February 1922. It aimed to resist British rule in India through non-violent means, or "Ahimsa". Protesters would refuse to buy British goods, adopt the use of local handicrafts and picket liquor shops. The ideas of Ahimsa and non-violence, and Gandhi's ability to rally hundreds of thousands of common citizens towards the cause of Indian independence, were first seen on a large scale in this movement through the summer of 1920. Gandhi feared that the movement might lead to popular violence. The non-cooperation movement was launched on 1 August 1920 and withdrawn in February 1922 after the Chauri Chaura incident.

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Umar Hajee Ahmed Jhaveri was a Memon Indian South African businessman. It was a court case concerning him that brought Mahatma Gandhi to South Africa. Hajee Ahmed assisted Gandhi in setting up the South African Indian Congress.

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