Patriots > The Revolutionaries >Bose Satyendranath
Bose Satyendranath (1882-1908)
Satyendranath, born on 30 July 1882,was one of the five sons of Abhoyacharan, who also had five daughters. Abhoyacharan was the Headmaster of Midnapur Collegiate School and scholar, Rajnarayan. Their original home was at Boral, 24-Pargans (Bengal), but both the brothers were teachers by profession, which found them settled in Midnapur.

They were honest, dignified and simple in life. Rajanarayan is considered the first protagonist of the revolutionary cult in Bengal, and his daughters sons were the famous leaders, Aurobindo and Barindra Kumar Ghose. Rajnarayans’s catholicity needed considerable courage in those days to preach that Brahmoism was not a separate religion but only protestant Hinduism.

All these influences went to mould Satyen’s character. He received his early inspiration from his eldest brother, Jnanendranath. Satyen entered Midnaput Collegiate School in 1888. Among the best in the class, he passed the Entrance examination in the first division in 1897 and First Art in 1899. For degree course he joined the City College, Calcutta, But ill-health prevented him from appearing at the examinations.

Jatin Benerjee (later, Swami Niralamba), deputed by Aurobindo from Baroda in 1902, initiated in Calcutta and Midnapur secret revolutionary societies, associated later with the name of the Journal, Jagantar, launched by Barindra Kumar and his associates. Under Rajendrayan’s patronage, the Midnapur group grew under the leadership of Hemchandra Das Kanango, ably assisted by Satyen.

The preparatory curriculum for revolutionary recruits those days consisted of physical culture, which included training in the use of different weapons, and moral, intellectual and political education, essential parts of which were the study of the ‘Geeta’, Vivekananda and Bankim’s works, History of revolutionary movements and biographies of heroes and patriots. The anti-partition agitation of 1905 gave a fillip to the secret movement. Satyen started the ‘Chhatra Bhandar’, or students’ emporium for countrimade good, which was a centre for recruiting students, and a handloom factory, which turned into a shelter for wholetime workers for the revolutionary cause.

Kshudiram Bose, later executed for attempt on the life of a British civilian, Kingsford, was an early recruit of Satyem’s; he was lodged in the handloom factory. An agricultural-cum-industrial exhibition was held at Midnapur in 1906. The organisers recognised young Satyen’s ability by appointing him assistant secretary. Under his instruction, Kshudiram was distributing ‘Sonar Bangla', a seditious leaflet, and was caught by a policeman. Satyen got him released on a false plea, which cost him his job at the Collector.

It was a good riddance for him as he found more time to devote to revolutionary work.

On Hem Chandra’s leaving for Paris for training in the manufacture of explosives, the district leadership devolved on Satyen.

A political conference was held at Midnapur in 1907. Satyen demonstrated against the moderate politics of the reception Committee personnel and ultimately of Surendranath Banerjee, the chief architect of the anti-partition agitation. It resulted in the break-up of the conference. Similarly ended the 1907 session of the Indian National Congress at Surat, where Satyen sided with Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo and other extremist leader against the moderates.

1908 witnessed the first manifestation of the Bengal revolutionary movement with the attempt on the life of Kingsford at Muzaffarpur. Sayen, serving two months’ imprisonment in Midnapur jail under the Arms Act for possession of his brother’s licensed gun, was transferred to the Alipur jail as an unfertile prisoner in the Alipur Bomb Conspiracy Case, where, among a large number of other accused persons, were Aurobindo, Barindra Kumar and Hem Chandra. A co-accused, Naren Goswami, made himself an object of bitter hatred by turning a prosecution witness. Hem Chandra and Satyen were determined to create an inspiring example by removing the blot on revolutionary patriotism.

At their request, Sris Chandra Ghose and Basanta Kumar Banerjee of Chandernagore managed to pass two revolvers to the accused during interview. A fellow-prisoner, Kanailal Dutt. besought Satyen to give him the privilege of sharing the fatal glory. Hemanchandra and Satyen readily connected. As a godsend, Satyen fell ill and was taken to jail hospital, from where he smuggled a letter to Goswami. He requested Goswami to meet him to discuss means of him to secure release by turning an approvers prison life had made him feel miserable. Goswami was successfully duped.

Meantime, on the evening of August 30,1908, Kantilal feigned unbearable colic pain and was hospitalised. Next morning, Goswami, escorted by an Anglo-Indian convict warder, came to meet Satyen, who, noticing him proceeding towards the dispensary room, ran out and fired. Goswami, fleeing past Kanailal’s ward, was shot at by him. He ran down the staircase pursued by the two firing, until he fell dead in a drain before the hospital gate. Convicts and warders seized and disarmed them. Both were sentenced to death.

Satyen refused to interview his mother until she promised to hold back tears before the attending officials. On her heartrending appeal, Hem Chandra took upon himself the blame and asked Satyen to merely for her satisfaction. He did, with the expected result, which was welcome to himself he was hanged on 21 November 1908. He faced gallows with calm dignity. Lest there be demonstrations, his dead body was withheld .His relative, Abinash Chandra Roy, arraigned for the well known Brahmo leader and Acharya (Priest) Shibnath Shastri to conduct prayer before cremation inside jail.

Author : Kamala Das Gupta