Remembering Jatindra Nath Das

"The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by that soul and he believes in the justice of his cause.''
( Courtesy: Prof. Chaman Lal)
These are the words of Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a part of the speech given in Central Assembly condemning the act of brutality by the Government of Punjab on Bhagat Singh and His comrades. Jinnah delivered this historical speech on the day of 12th September 1929 just one day before the martyrdom of Jatindra Nath Das, who left the cage of body on 13th September 1929 in Lahore Central Jail after 63 days of Extensive hunger strike that was pursued by Bhagat Singh and His comrades  for the legitimate demands of decent behaviour to the Indian Prisoners by British regime. Lahore Central Jail administration tried everything to break the strike, but all it's cheap and devilish tactics could not deter the firm determined conscience the revolutionaries. Jatindra Nath Das also met this act of brutality when a doctor forcibly tried to feed him putting a pipe through his nose into the lungs and put one litter milk into it. This resulted in the death of Jatin Da due to severe infection and pneumonia.






Jatin Das's House (Courtesy: Prof. Chaman Lal)


Jatindra Nath Das, a serious looking, sound and soft-spoken as Shiv Verma (comrade) recalls him in his Samsmritiyan, was born on 27th October 1904 in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Born in the era of British dominance over the country and in the air of revolutionary activities for the freedom of the motherland, Jatin Das got all the traits of a revolutionary in his nature from a very early age. He had been involved in various revolutionary parties and movements including Anushilan Samiti, Gandhi's Non Co-operative movement and foundation of Hindostan Republican Association by Sachindra Nath Sanyal. During all these revolutionary activities, he got captured so many times and experienced Jail life for several short terms. The arrest in Lahor Conspiracy Case was his last and most influential that stimulated the conscience of the people of the country and infused revolutionary feelings in the youth of India. 

Jatin Das was proficient in the craft of Bomb making. When Bhagat Singh approached him in Calcutta asking him to help the revolutionary in the purpose by teaching them the art of bomb making, he first refused it by saying that his ideology did not allow him to involve in the act of "individual terrorism", but later accepted Bhagat Singh's proposal and joined the revolutionaries in the activities of bomb making and trial explosions. This was the time when Jatin Das came more close to Bhagat Singh considering him the bravest and most influential revolutionary of the time. It is narrated in the incidents associated with the hunger strike that Jatin Das never accepted any medicine or anything given by the doctors not even when the dignitaries of Congress tried to convince him. It was only Bhagat Singh who made him take medicine. When someone asked him why he always accepted Bhagat Singh's proffer, he replied, "You know not how brave he is! I can never refuse his offerings."

Though soft looking from outside , Jatin Das was the toughest among the revolutionaries. He had this firm and immoveable determination that has the tendency the shatter the mountain into pieces. Shiv Verma narrates the words of Jatin Das that he shared with the comrades before setting off the hunger strike. He said, " By declaring this hunger strike, we are jumping into a battle that will be hard to fight, harder even than gunfight. Creeping towards death inch by inch is more difficult than meeting death by the bullet or dying on the gallows. It will be against the dignity of revolutionaries to step back after jumping into the struggle. It is better not to join the struggle, than taking yourself back in the midway." This was the spirit of that great revolutionary, who fought till his last breath and never compromised, not even on the death bed. 

Followed by severe infection in the lungs and pneumonia, Jatin Das started losing health.The hunger strike was fatal enough. He was not taking any medicines, not even an injection. His condition was getting worse day be day. Government tried to get rid of him by giving bail and lifting up all the charges against him, but he never accepted the proposal. He was determined to accept it only after demands of the revolutionaries were approved. He died on 13th September 1929.  In the very age of 25. His death shocked the nation. Nation mourned his death with great pain and sorrows. He is dead body was taken in train to Calcutta. Every station where the train reached, hordes on countrymen would come and pay him tribute. His cremation was performed in Calcutta. History witnessed gathering of about half a million people. It was the biggest of that time. Jatin Das left his body, but not his determination and revolutionary spirit.

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