Updated June 2, 2023
Revolutionary Freedom Fighter Sukhdev Thapar
“Watan ki aabroo ke paas dekhe kaun karta hai?
Suna hai aaj maktal mein humara imtihaa’ hoga.
Shaheedo’ ki chitaon par lagenge har baras mele
Watan pe marne walon ka yahi nishan hoga.
Kabhi ve din bhi aayega jab apna raaj dekhenge.
Jab apni hi zameen hogi aur apna aasman hoga.”
These powerful lines reflecting hope, earnestness, and hunger for freedom are the ending verses from a poem by Jagdamba Prasad Mishra Hitaishi. These were the lines that the freedom fighters of India, Sukhdev Thapar, Bhagat Singh, and Rajguru, died singing. While the revolutionary image of Bhagat Singh still uplifts the hearts and spirits of Young India, a thorough study into the freedom struggle makes it apparent that the young Sukhdev Thapar was the main mastermind and his right arm behind all of Bhagat Singh’s actions. So, who was Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar? What’s his story? In this column, we will be putting our heads into the timelines of Indian Martyr Sukhdev Thapar, briefly covering all of your curious questions.
Birth of Sukhdev Thapar
In 1907, on May 15, in the area under British Rule, Ludhiana, Punjab, a baby boy was born to the mother, Ralli Devi Thapar, and father, Ramlal Thapar. He had a brother, Mathuradas Thapar. The Punjabi Thapar Khatri family belonged to a Hindu Community. Early in his life, when he was still very young, he lost his father. His uncle Lala Achint Ram primarily raised him.
Historians have noted that Sukhdev refused to salute or pay any regard to the British Officials if they ever paid a visit during his school years. After his schooling for his graduation, he went to Lahore’s National College.
Meeting Bhagat Singh
When his uncle went to jail, the young Sukhdev became even more inclined towards revolutionary activities for freedom from British colonial rule in India.
He joined the Naujawan Bharat Seva or Sabha, a community initiated by Bhagat Singh in 1926. As you can already guess, he soon met Bhagat Singh. The shared spirit towards the freedom struggle made them closely associated. After college, as Sukhdev read more thoroughly about India’s revolutionary moments around the world and the freedom struggle, he became a member of HSRA or the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. There Sukhdev organized revolutionary cells in Punjab and other areas of North India. Taking up this responsibility on him, he soon turned into President or Chief of the Punjab Unit of HSRA.
Death of Lala Lajpat Rai
In 1928, the British government formed a commission to create a report on the political scenario of India under their man, Sir John Simon. Indian Political Parties heavily boycotted this idea and protested the people as there was no Indian member in the group. Lala Lajpat Rai led a nonviolent march against the commission on October 30 of the same year to express their outrage. Police responded to this march with a violent Lathi charge that led to grievous injuries and the ultimate death of Lala Lajpat Rai. Bhagat Singh was the eyewitness of the entire incident.
Revenge of Lala Lajpat Rai’s Death
James A Scott, another British Police Superintendent, gave the orders. As per some sources, as a Leader of the group, it was Sukhdev who ordered Bhagat to assassinate Scott to take revenge for Rai’s death. On December 17, 1928, Bhagat, Rajguru, and Sukhdev moved as per their plan. But, due to mistaken identity, they killed John P Saunders, the Assistant Superintendent of Police, instead of Scott. The three immediately escaped the area by rail. Nonetheless, the group declared justice and took revenge.
The Crown versus Sukhdev and Others
He was engaged in the assaults on British Officers in the Lahore Conspiracy Case of 1929. He was the prime suspect. The case itself was titled “Crown versus Sukhdev and Others.” The Senior Superintendent Of Police, Hamilton Harding, to the Special Magistrate, RS Pandit’s court, filed an FIR in April 1929. At an approximate time, a meeting of HSRA decided to bomb the Central Assembly Hall in Delhi. Some figured that Sukhdev wasn’t approving of it, and he was neither present in the meeting.
Once this incident happened, the British government was undoubtedly under threat and in an extensive search for the three. Once arrested, Sukhdev stirred the Prison Hunger Strike, joined by other revolutionaries.
Death of Sukhdev Thapar
In 1931, on March 23, in the Lahore Central Jail, along with his comrades, Sukhdev was hanged. The bodies were disposed of in the River Sutlej secretly by the Britishers. National Martyrs Memorial, Martyrs’ Day, Shaheed Sukhdev College (1987), and Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Inter-State Bus Terminal are all in the memory of the indispensable freedom fighter of India, Sukhdev Thapar.
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