“They sang the song of victory of life from the platform, they mounted for gallows. The rope was a divine garland of death to them.” {Gobindalal Banerjee}

Failure of Revolt of 1857, Failure of Congress Constitutional Policy of Political Mendicancy, Failure of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement 1905, Failure of Militant Nationalism and Revolutionary Activities {1907-1914}, Failure of Home Rule Movement [1916], Failure of Non-Cooperation Movement [1920-1922], failure, failure and failure after failure, but the nationalist struggle for INDEPENDENCE, for SWARAJ, for POLITICAL EMANCIPATION, continued… The timeline of 1922-1930 witnessed the mushrooming of wide range nationalist activities on Indian land for accomplishing the goal of “SWARAJ” aftermath the fallout of the famous Gandhian Non-Cooperation Movement, the three important national trends were-

1) Genesis of Swaraj Party by C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru and others for demanding the “self-rule” from the colonial government by entering into the Provincial and Central Legislative Councils and obstructing into government decisions.
2) Emergence of Socialist, Communist and Marxist ideologies as an impact of the Soviet Revolution in Russia
3) Resurgence of Revolutionary Phase-II in India which was different from the First Phase of Revolutionary Terrorism [1907-1914] because it involved the concept of “SOCIAL JUSTICE” in its foundational goals in addition to Nationalism and Anti-Imperialism that was missing in the first phase.

Through this article, I wish to highlight the political outlook of Indian Revolutionary Phase-II that spontaneously resurged in colonial India aftermath Gandhian Non-Cooperation Movement to exterminate the colonizers from their motherland. Furthermore, I also intend to compare Revolutionary Phase-I with Revolutionary Phase-II so to understand the ideological maturity of revolutionaries during the struggle for independence.


Aftermath the withdrawal of Gandhian Non-Cooperation Movement [NCM] in February 1922, Indian National Congress leaders- Swarajists and No-Changers were internally debating over the matter of whether or not to enter into the legislative councils and in no time, an unprecedented wave of revolutionary activities re-surged throughout India that stressed on Marxist, Socialist and Communist ideologies.

This energetically gigantic revolutionary wave was deeply impacted and influenced with the success of Russian Revolution 1917, the rising trade unionism, the emergent Marxist and Socialist concepts and influential literature like-Bandi Jiwan by Sachin Sanyal and ‘Pather Dabi’ by Sharatchandra Chatterjee etc. but was momentarily gravitated towards Gandhian Satyagraha during NCM and when the movement was suddenly called off, it outburst with more potential and euphoria majorly in four provinces of India- Punjab-United Provinces-Bihar and Bengal.

 Revolutionary Phase-II in Punjab-United Provinces-Bihar: 

HSRA in UP-Bihar-Punjab
HSRA in UP-Bihar-Punjab

In October 1924, the revolutionaries like Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chatterjee, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sanchin Sanyal gathered together in Kanpur for establishing Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) for channelizing youth energies for organizing armed revolution against colonial empire and for ascertaining the Federal Republic of the United States of India. It criticized every socio-economic system that sanctioned exploitation of man by man and therefore, its Marxist and Socialist ideologies, later after the sacrifice of its chief architect-Bismil, were reflected in its name and it was renamed as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) on 10 September 1928.

HRA’s manifesto titled “The Revolutionary” was drafted by Ramprasad Bismil and Sachin Sanyal while HSRA’s manifesto titled “Philosophy of the Bomb” was drafted by Bhagwati Charan Vohra and both these documents answer the criticism of its action offered by other nationalists. The achievements of HRA and HSRA are enumerated below:

  • KAKORI ROBBERY [August 1925]Conducted by HRA on 9 August 1925, the Kakori Robbery was the revolutionaries’ successful attempt to loot the official cash from 8- Down Train at Kakori near Lucknow. In this case, 17 revolutionaries were imprisoned and 4 were hanged who were- Ramprasad Bismil, Asafaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri.
  • SAUNDERS’ MURDER CASE OR LAHORE CONSPIRACY CASE[Lahore, December 1928]: To avenge the brutal death of renowned nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai, three popular revolutionaries- Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Rajguru, mustered their courage and shot dead the police official Saunders who was responsible for lathi-charge in Lahore during Simon Commission Reception.
  • BOMB IN CENTRAL LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY [8 April 1929]; For expressing their scathing criticism against Public Safety Bill and Trade Dispute Bill and “to make the deaf hear”, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in Central Legislative Assembly because these bills intend to curtail the civil liberties of Indians. The revolutionaries intended to manifest their ideologies to the countrymen so rather than running from the spot, they surrendered themselves and hereafter, they used the law court as a pedestal to promote and propagate their ideologies to countrymen.
  • In 1929, HSRA Revolutionaries bombed the train-compartment that was supposed to be carrying Lord Irwin but he wasn’t harmed.

Thereafter, the revolutionaries of HSRA were slowly imprisoned for their violent actions in Delhi Jail but later they were shifted to Central Jail Mianwali where they undertook a hunger strike for rebelling against the unequal treatments of Indians and Europeans. Jatin Das, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt resisted against miserable prison conditions by continual starvation and demanded equal treatment as political prisoners.

On the 64th day of peaceful fasting, Jatin Das martyred his life and Bhagat continued his strike for 116 days and thereby compelling government to hear their appeal. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged on 23 March 1931 for assassinating Saunders and presently, 23 March is celebrated gracefully throughout India for commemorating the revolutionary struggles and sacrifices of these unsung heroes.

[For analysis of Bhagat Singh ideologies, refer to ]

Revolutionary Phase-II in Bengal: Losing faith in Gandhian philosophies of Non-Violence and Non-Cooperation, the revolutionaries of Second Phase in Bengal returned to their violent strategy for gaining SWARAJ, the notable achievements of Revolutionary Phase-II in Bengal were:

  • In 1924, Gopinath Saha attempted to assassinate the Calcutta Commissioner Charles Tegart but mistakenly, another official was shot and for this action, Saha was hanged.
  • CHITTAGONG ARMOURY RAID: Carried out by armed Indian revolutionaries and raiders from Indian Republican Army led by Surya Sen on 18 April 1930, Chittagong Armoury Raid was a revolutionary effort to raid the armouries of police and destroy telephone and telegraph lines in Chittagong, Bengal. Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and Lokenath Baul are the prominent names associated with this uprising.


Bhagat Singh: A Revolution against Capitalism and Colonialism
Bhagat Singh: A Revolution against Capitalism and Colonialism

Although the prime objective of revolutionaries of the both-first and second phase was to overthrow the deeply-stabilized inglorious colonial empire from India and both adopted the violent methodology of political assassination, dacoity and robberies for achieving its goal, but the viewpoint of Revolutionary Phase-II was much more effective and different from the first phase of revolutionary activities in India, as enlisted below:

  1. Revolutionaries of First Phase concentrated on terrorizing colonial officials and carried out individual heroic action for eroding British power but the heroes of Revolutionary Phase-II stressed on mass-politics and collective revolutionary action not only to terrorize officials but also to ignite the general masses to violently agitate against colonial oppression.
  2. Revolutionary Phase-II involved the concept of “SOCIAL JUSTICE” and “SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION” in its foundational goals besides “ANTI-IMPERIALISM” and “NATIONALISM” that was absent in First Phase of Revolutionary Terrorism. For example- Militant nationalists wanted to remove colonial supremacy but  Second-Phase Revolutionaries, not only wanted that but also believed in the eradication of CAPITALISM and CLASS-DOMINATION and its replacement with newer socialist order on a Marxist basis.
  3. Women and Muslim Participation in Revolutionary Phase-II is comparatively significant but it was almost negligible in Phase-I. For example- Kalpana Dutt, Bina Das and Santi Ghosh were participants in revolutionary activities under Surya Sen in Bengal and Assafullah Khan was a member of HRA who was among millions who sacrificed their lives for political freedom for India.
  4. In terms of social impact, Revolutionary Phase-II was more effective because the heroes of this fold could efficiently communicate with countrymen, politically educate them about their ideologies and thereby it had strong mass-base but Revolutionary Phase-I could only temporarily terrorize Britishers and couldn’t strengthen itself.
  5. Despite strong momentum and mass-support, neither Revolutionary Phase-I nor Revolutionary Phase-II could survive against repressive colonial suppression but on the broader analysis, it could be noticed that both these waves incited indelible cathartic emotions in Indians.

Though from Revolutionary Phase-I to Revolutionary Phase-II, the nationalists failed to achieve SWARAJ for India this transitional phase from the 1920s to 1930s witnessed the ideological maturity of not only revolutionaries who were involved in this phase but also national leaders who were functioning constitutionally in a way that the national demand became more clear and precise, from SWARAJ to POORNA SWARAJ.


Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.