Bagha Jatin : biography
Bagha Jatin (Bāghā Jatin, lit: Tiger Jatin), born Jatindranath Mukherjee (Jotindrônāth Mukhōpaddhāē) (7 December 1879 – 10 September 1915) was an Bengali revolutionary philosopher against British rule.
He was the principal leader of the Yugantar party that was the central association of revolutionaries in Bengal. Having personally met the German Crown-Prince in Calcutta shortly before World War I, he obtained the promise of arms and ammunition from Germany; as such, he was responsible for the planned German Plot during World War I."Nixon Report", in Terrorism in Bengal,[abbreviation Terrorism] Edited and Compiled by A.K. Samanta, Government of West Bengal, Calcutta, 1995, Vol. II, p.625.
Another of his original contributions was the indoctrination of the Indian soldiers in various regiments in favour of an insurrection.Les origines intellectuelles du mouvemenr d’indépendance de l’Inde (1893–1918), PhD Thesis (Doctorat d’Etat) defended by Prithwindra Mukherjee in 1986.
In 1925, Gandhi told Tegart that Jatin Mukherjee, generally referred to as “Bagha Jatin”, was “a divine personality”. Little did he know that Tegart had once told his colleagues that if Jatin were an Englishman, then the English people would have built his statue next to Nelson’s at Trafalgar Square. In his note to J.E. Francis of the India Office in 1926, he described Bengali revolutionaries as “the most selfless political workers in India”.The Statesman, Calcutta, 28 April 2009
Jatin was born to Sharatshashi and Umeshchandra Mukherjee in Kayagram, a village in the Kushtia subdivision of Nadia district in what is now West Bengal. He grew up in his ancestral home at Sadhuhati, P.S. Rishkhali Jhenaidah until his father's death when Jatin was five years old. Well versed in Brahmanic studies, his father liked horses and was respected for the strength of his character. Sharatshashi settled in her parents' home in Kayagram with her husband and his elder sister Benodebala (or Vinodebala). A gifted poet, she was affectionate and stern in her method of raising her children. Familiar with the essays by contemporary thought leaders like Bankimchandra Chatterjee and Yogendra Vidyabhushan, she was aware of the social and political transformations of her times. Her brother Basantakumar Chatterjee taught and practised law, and counted among his clients the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Since the age of 14, Tagore had claimed in meetings organised by his family members equal rights for Indian citizens inside railway carriages and in public places. As Jatin grew older, he gained a reputation for physical bravery and great strength; charitable and cheerful by nature, he was fond of caricature and enacting mythological plays, himself playing the roles of god-loving characters like Prahlad, Dhruva, Hanuman, Râja Harish Chandra. He not only encouraged several playwrights to produce patriotic pieces for the urban stage, but also engaged village bards to spread nationalist fervour in the countryside.Paribarik Katha and Durgotsav, by Lalitkumar Chatterjee, Jatin's uncle and revolutionary colleague, who published also Jatin’s biography, Biplabi Jatindranath in 1947. Jatin had a natural respect for the human creature, heedless of class or caste or religions. He carried for an aged Muslim villager a heavy bundle of fodder and, on reaching her hut, he shared with her the only platter of rice she had, and sent her some money every month.Handwritten Notes by Benodebala Devi, preserved at the Nehru Museum, New Delhi.
Several sources mention Jatin as being among the founders of the Anushilan Samiti in 1900, and as a pioneer in creating its branches in the districts. According to Daly's Report: "A secret meeting was held in Calcutta about the year 1900 [...] The meeting resolved to start secret societies with the object of assassinating officials and supporters of Government [...] One of the first to flourish was at Kushtea, in the Nadia district. This was organised by one Jotindra Nath Mukherjee [sic!].".Terrorism Vol. I, p.14. Nixon reports further : "The earliest known attempts in Bengal to promote societies for political or semi-political ends are associated with the names of the late P. Mitter, Barrister-at-Law, Miss Saralabala Ghosal and a Japanese named Okakura. These activities commenced in Calcutta somewhere about the year 1900, and are said to have spread to many of the districts of Bengal and to have flourished particularly at Kushtia, where Jatindra Nath Mukharji [sic!] was leader."Terrorism, Vol. II, p.509. Bhavabhushan Mitra's written notes precise his presence along with Jatindra Nath during the first meeting. A branch of this organisation (Anushilan Samiti), was to be inaugurated in Dacca. In 1903, on meeting Sri Aurobindo at Yogendra Vidyabhushan's place, Jatin decides to collaborate with him and is said to have added to his programme the clause of winning over the Indian soldiers of the British regiments in favour of an insurrection. W. Sealy in his report on "Connections with Bihar and Orissa" notes that Jatin Mukherjee "a close confederate of Nani Gopal Sen Gupta of the Howrah Gang (...) worked directly under the orders of Aurobindo Ghosh."Terrorism, Vol. V, p.63.
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