People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 34

August 31 , 2008


Homage To Martyr Rajguru

PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY pays its revolutionary tributes to martyr Rajguru, a comrade-in-arms and comrade-in-death of martyr Bhagat Singh, on his birth centenary.

Born as Shivram Hari Rajguru, this revolutionary was born at Pune in Maharashtra on August 24, 1908. For the sake of the country’s independence from imperialism, he smilingly went to the gallows, along with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev, in the Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931. He was only 22 years, 7 months and 6 days old at that time.

Rajguru was very fond of physical exercise and shooting, and in the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) he was considered next only to martyr Chandrashekhar Azad as a sharpshooter. That was the reason he was chosen to accompany Bhagat Singh when the question came of assassinating J P Saunders, a police officer, in order to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.

One may note that Lala Lajpat Rai got severely injured in the brutal police lathicharge at Lahore on October 30, 1928, when he was leading a protest march against the Simon commission, and breathed his last on the November 19 following. The said lathicharge was ordered by Saunders.

On the occasion of the Saunders assassination on December 17, 1928, HSRA commander Chandrashekhar Azad saw to it that nobody was able to chase Bhagat Singh and Rajguru after the action. He shot dead Channan Singh, a hawaldar, when he chased the two revolutionaries.

Rajguru accompanied Bhagat Singh to Calcutta when, after the said action, he escaped Lahore along with Durga Bhabhi and her minor son Shachi. After Bhagat Singh and B K Dutt surrendered to the police after throwing bombs in the Central Assembly (now Parliament Building) in New Delhi, many revolutionaries were hauled up and they included Rajguru who was arrested at Jalgaon, now in Maharashtra. Three revolutionaries were sentenced to death and many were given heavy jail sentences after a farce of trial that came to be known as the Second Lahore Conspiracy Case.

Contrary to the usual practice of executing a convict in the early morning, the British slyly executed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in the dark of the evening, several hours before the scheduled execution time. This was because the rulers were mortally afraid of public reaction. As a very large number of people had already gathered at the jail gate, the bodies of the three executed martyrs were taken out through the back gate of the jail, and not handed over to their parents or comrades. The British also tried to slyly cremate the bodies at Hussaniwala in Ferozepur district, on the bank of the river Sutlej, but left then half-burnt and ran away when the people arrived there after getting the scent of the British misdemeanour. The people then cremated their martyrs with full respect and honour, and built on the spot a memorial which still stands there.