Bhagwati Charan Vohra

            May 28 is the 92nd death anniversary of Bhagwati Charan Vohra who sacrificed his life in 1930 at the age of only 25  while making preparations for rescuing Bhagat Singh from jail. As he was preparing for his own martyrdom in jail, Bhagat Singh paid very rich tributes to the great sacrifices of Bhagwati Charan Vohra in the course of his numerous activities relating to the freedom movement.

Bhagwati came from a very rich family, in fact he was perhaps the wealthiest among his many comrades in the revolutionary movement as a result of his family background. Yet right from his teen years he did not show any interest in enjoying this wealth and instead was always inclined towards the freedom movement. At the age of only 16 he was an enthusiastic participant in the non-cooperation movement started by Mahatma Gandhi.

Due to the wide prevalence of child marriage in those times, even before this he was married to Durga at the insistence of the two  families. With rare maturity, even as a teenager he shared the real mission with his even younger wife . Fortunately she was very receptive and henceforth the two started planning their life in terms of the real aims of their life. They named their son Shachi, after the legendary revolutionary Shachindranath Sanyal.

At an early stage he formed a close friendship with the two other most prominent revolutionaries from Lahore—Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev. As he had much better circumstances at that time his house in Lahore used to be a place where many revolutionaries could meet and were well looked after. He contributed at an intellectual level as well as at action level.

His wife Durga increasingly shared his willingness for sacrificing everything for the freedom movement. She became famous in the freedom  movement as Durga Bhabhi and is identified with many daring activities. With passing days both Bhagwati and Durga were drawn more and more into the freedom movement.

Bhagwati Charan was soon known in the circle of revolutionary freedom fighters  as a selfless person who was willing to take up any hazardous or difficult  work for the sake of his party and the freedom movement.

His encouragement was a strong motivating force which led Durga also to take up many difficult and daring activities.

There was an exceptionally difficult time when partly due to some misunderstandings and partly due to some persons acting in bad faith, Bhagwati was very unjustly suspected by some revolutionaries to have betrayed the movement. After some time it became clear to all that these suspicions were baseless and the relationship of great trust was soon restored. As later events were to show soon, the  trust in the courage and integrity of Bhagwati was more than justified.

Bhagwati was a very studious person and when he was not on the action lines he was more than busy in the world of books. He had an important role in preparing many documents of his party which were widely discussed in his own lifetime and are still remembered and read. However the fact that he was a scholarly person never made him reluctant to accept the more risky assignments and in fact he was more than ahead of several others in opting for high risk assignments.

Even after several revolutionaries had been arrested, Bhagwati Charan had managed to evade arrest. He was involved in making a daring plan for arranging the escape of Bhagat Singh and some other revolutionaries from prison. However this plan could not succeed.

One of the hazardous acts in which Bhagwati Charan was involved was the testing of some bombs. It was in the course of this work in Punjab that Bhagwati Charan met a serious accident and died. Thus this brave freedom fighter died very suddenly at a very young age which also proved to a big setback for the plans for the prison-escape of other freedom fighters. His many-sided contributions to the freedom movement need to be known and recognised at a much wider level.

He and Durga provide a rare example of a couple taking up many high risk assignments and being equally determined in terms of making any great sacrifice for the freedom movement

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth NOW, His recent books on freedom movement include When the Two Streams Met and Azadi ke Deewanon Kee Daastaan.


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