Published: 08th April 2022
What happened on April 8: Calling to mind sacrifices of Mangal Pandey, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt
We all know who our freedom fighters are, and of course, we respect them. Here’s why it is on April 8 we need to recall the sacrifices of these three personalities
Shaheed Bhagat Singh, along with another charismatic Indian revolutionary and freedom fighter Batukeshwar Dutt, scripted history on April 8, 1929, by throwing two smoke bombs in Delhi Central Legislative Assembly while it was in session. Why did they do so? It was a mark of protest against the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Dispute Act, which had been rejected by the Assembly and yet, they were being enacted by the Viceroy using his special powers. The two men had not intended to cause any violence. It was simply an act of protest.
What were these Trade Dispute and Public Safety Acts that they wanted to get rid of? The Public Safety Bill of 1928 sought to curb communist activities in the country. However, it was said to be an attack on Indian Nationalism and on the Indian National Congress. The Trade Dispute Act was also termed as unfair and spiteful against trade unions. It is famously believed that at the duo’s trial, they said, “If the deaf are to hear, the sound has to be very loud.”
A demise that continues to sadden us
April 8 marks another sad incident — the demise of Mangal Pandey, the revolutionary who had played a key role in the Mutiny of 1857, deemed as a Sepoy Mutiny by the British, which marks a significant step in the independence struggle of India. The mutiny was carried out against the British, as discontent was already growing among the Indians against them. The British, history notes, used to impose culturally unacceptable rules on the Indian soldiers it recruited. It also imposed laws that treated the Indians unfairly.
On March 29, 1857, Mangal Pandey attacked the British officers in North Kolkata’s Barrackpore region as a protest against these laws. He was one of the first to openly do so and this launched the mutiny much later. He was detained by the British and hanged on this day, April 8. This year marks his 161st death anniversary. Salutes from every Indian!