Khudiram Bose was born on December 3, 1889, in Midnapore district of West Bengal. (File)
Khudiram Bose, an epitome of fearlessness, was one of the youngest revolutionaries of the Indian Independence movement. Arrested for trying to assassinate British judge Douglas Kingsford, he was executed on August 11, 1908, in Muzaffarpur jail in Bihar at the age of 18. Bose and his colleague Prafulla Chaki had conspired to kill the judge as his judgments were seen as biased, harsh and unjust against Indian nationalists. They had targeted the judge's vehicle with a bomb but he was not in there and thus escaped attack. Rather, two others died. Bose was arrested and sentenced to death while Chaki killed himself before police could arrest him.
Early life and influence
Bose was born on December 3, 1889, in Midnapore district of West Bengal. He was the youngest of four siblings. He lost his parents early and was raised by his eldest sister. He showed an inclination towards revolutionary activities after getting inspired by the public lectures of Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita in Midnapore in the early 1900s.
When Bengal was partitioned in 1905, he participated in several protests against the British. At the age of 15, he would know how to make bombs and plant them near police stations. Around the same time, he was first arrested for distributing literature against the colonial rulers.
The historic trial
A decisive moment came in the life of Bose in 1908. He and Chaki were given the task of killing Judge Kingsford, who was transferred to Muzaffarpur from Bengal. In Bengal, his judgments against Indian freedom fighters had earned him the ire of the nationalists. There had been multiple attempts to assassinate him but he survived. Initially, Bose, Chaki, and others had thought of targeting him with a bomb inside the courtroom, but the plan was abandoned to avoid injuries to civilians.
Then it was finally agreed that the judge would be targeted when he is alone or outside the court. On April 30, 1908, Bose hurled a bomb at a vehicle he suspected was carrying the judge. But he was not in there. Two women travelling in the vehicle were killed.
A huge crowd had gathered at the Muzaffarpur police station to get a glimpse of Bose, who was brought there in handcuffs. The trial began on May 21, 1908, during which Bose's lawyer said his client was too young to be able to make bombs. However, there was evidence against him. On July 13 that year, Bose was sentenced to death. When he was hanged, reports claim he went to the gallows with a smile and carried the Bhagavad Gita with him.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tribute to Bose, said "he stood up for the cause of freedom and sacrificed his life at the age of just 18 years."
The fact that Khudiram Bose was hanged at the age of 18 made him one of the youngest freedom fighters of India to have sacrificed his life for the nation.