Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday visited revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad’s birthplace at Bhabra village in Madhya Pradesh and launched this year’s Independence Day celebrations.
August 9, Tuesday, is the anniversary of the launch of the Quit India Movement by the All-India Congress Committee demanding an end to British rule in India after Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, gave a call to “Do or Die” in his Quit India speech at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai.
The day also commemorates ‘Kakori train robbery’ carried out on August 9, 1925, by Chandrashekhar Azad and his associates Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and others, as part of their revolutionary struggle against the colonial regime.
Modi’s visit to Bhabra village in Alirajpur district also marks the start of the government’s ’70 Saal Azaadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani’, a 15-day campaign to commemorate India’s struggle for freedom from colonial rule.
Bhabra is close to Orchha in Tikamgarh district, where Azad reportedly lived incognito in the guise of a Sanyasi (renunciate) for one and a half years.
After taking part in train robbery in Kakori (near Lucknow), whose aim was to loot money belonging to the British government, Azad had fled to Jhansi.
He lived in Jhansi for some time before moving to the forest near Satar river in Orchha. This area now falls in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh district.
The Azad memorial on the bank of Satar says the revolutionary lived in this area posing as a Sanyasi called Harishankar, a name given by another freedom fighter, Rudranarayan Singh.
For one and a half years that Azad lived in the forest in Orchha, he trained himself and his associates in guerrilla fighting, including the use of fire arms. Azad also taught children in a mud hut that he made for himself. This hut still stands, albeit in ruins.
Azad had also dug a well there, which still exists, and set up a Hanuman temple.
The Azad memorial says that the freedom fighter was a frequent visitor to the nearby village of Dhimarpura, particularly to meet one Malkhan Singh Thakur, whom he had befriended.
Orchha Nagar Panchayat President Rajkumaru Yadav said the Azad memorial was inaugurated on May 31, 1984, by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The memorial building also houses a life-sized statue of Azad and a collection of books on India’s struggle for independence.
Yadav said the place is eminently suitable to be developed as a tourist place anchored in the memory of the great revolutionary Azad, who shot himself dead in Allahabad on February 27, 1931, to avoid being captured by the British police.