Patriots > The Revolutionaries >Bose Kshudiram
Bose Kshudiram (1889-1908)
Kshudiram Bose was born at Habibpur village, a few miles from district town of Midnapur (Bengal). His father, Trailokyanath was a revenue collector in Narajol Raj estate. His mother, Lakshmipriya Debi, died when he was only six years old and his father a year later. He had three elder sisters of whom the eldest, Aparupa Roy, brought him up at her home in village Hatgachhia in Daspur Police Station.

Kshudiram had his primary education at the village school. He then joined Hamilton School at Tamluk in 1901 and later Midnapur Collegiate School in 1903, where he read upto the 3rd class, equivalent to the present class VIII standard. Though meritorious he took less interest in studies than in juvenile pranks and adventures. He often stood against justice of all sorts and was ready to avenue unjust conduct, whoever might be its victim.

The great agitation against the partition of Bengal in1905 affected even small school children. A classmate asked Kshudiram if he could lay down his life for the country’s cause. On his affirmative reply, the former advised him to meet a youth leader, Satyen Bose, who later achieved martyrdom by shooting down inside prison an approver, Naren Goswami. Kshudiram’s demeanor impressed Satyen, who chose him for national service. Kshudiram left school and was housed in Satyen’s handloom factory, which was, in fact, a loading for voluntary workers for the movement.

There they were given physical, moral and political education and were to read the Gita and other religious books and literature, like the lives of Mazzini and Garibaldi, the history, the history of the French Revolution and of the American War of Independence. They also secretly learnt revolver-shooting. The anti-partition agitation included a campaign of boycott of British goods. Kshudiram found adventure in burning cloth of British manufacture and sinking boats carrying salt imported from Britian.

He helped Satyen in running the ‘Chhatrabhandar', an emporium for countrymade goods. Simultaneously the local organisation would undertake all kinds of humanitarian service. Kshudiram took an outstanding part in the Kasai Flood relief work.

In an agriculture -cum-industrial exhibition in 1906 at Midnapur,

Kshudiram, while distributing “Sonar Bangla", a sedius leaflet, a policeman caught him. Kshuditam gave him some blows inflecting bleeding wound and ran. The Policeman pursued, Satyen intervened and rescued Kshudiram on a false Plea. It cost Satyen his small job at the Collector’s office. He cared little. Kshudiram was prosecuted but was let off in consideration of immature age. Next year in a political conference at Midnapur, Satyen demonstrated against the moderate politics of Surendranath Banerjee, the undisputed leader of the day. Kshudiram took a prominent part in the demonstration.

In 1908, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, one of the leaders of the Jugantar group, decided to send Prafulla Chaki to Muzaffarpur to put to death Kingsford, who had, as Chief Presidency Magistrate at Calcutta earlier, rendered himself odious to the entire people of Bengal by his terroristic methods of suppressing the nationalist movement. Hemchandra Das Kanango, a revolutionary leader of Midnapur and a Colleague of Barindra Kumat Ghosh, at the last moment persuaded Barin to let Kshudiram accompany Prafulla Chaki.

The two boys watched the movement of Kingsford, now transfered to Muzaffarpur as Sessions Judge. Their plan was to plant themselves under the dark shadow of a large tree before the European Club gate and to bomb his carriage when it came out late in the evening. But an identical looking carriage defeated their purpose. The carriage was smashed, killing two ladies. The incident took place on 30 April 1908.

Nightlong search traced Kshudiram at the Waini Railway Station next morning. A scuffle with policemen resulted in Kshudiram’s revolver slipping off his person. The Jugantar group’s programme then was to arouse the nation mainly by striking acts of self-immolation manifesting unflinching courage. In accordance with that programme, Kshudiram took upon himself the entire responsibly for having thrown the bomb but refused to disclose the identity of his associate or any other secret.

He received death sentence with a welcoming smile and refused to appeal. He became known as India’s first martyr, as he was the first to die on the gallows in the freedom struggle. August 11, 1908, the day of his execution, was and is still observed accordingly all over the country.

Author : Kamala Das Gupta