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Excerpts from Revolutionary Nationalism in Jharkhand - L. N. Rana

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

This article is an except from Revolutionary Nationalism in Jharkhand was written by L. N. Rana. Source: Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 61, Part One: Millennium (2000-2001)

Sachindra Nath Sanyal (Left) & Nani Gopal Mukherjee (Right)

Jamshedpur was the most important revolutionary centre in Jharkhand. The Tata Iron and Steel Company (established in 1907) never made any enquiry before appointing a person in the firm. Company's register did not contain the full names and home addresses of the employees. In such circumstances, it was perfectly easy for revolutionaries to make use of the place as shelter or as a centre from where to carry their activities unmolested.

In the early period of revolutionary activities, both Indian and European revolutionaries had been visiting Jamshedpur. The Marathas, employed in the Tata's Works at Sakchi, had formed an association called the Samaraht which was ostensibly religious in its aims and objects but essentially a revolutionary organisation.

A large number of Bengali youths were working in Tata's establishment at Jamshedpur. One such youth, Durgadas of Calcutta working in the Chemical Department since March, 1915, was an active revolutionary. Satya Ranjan Roy, another revolutionary youth worked in the same department. Durgadas had met Aurobindo Ghose after his acquittal from Alipore Bomb Conspiracy Case (1908). At Jamshedpur, he used to supply arms to Atul Ghosh's party. He knew well the preparators of Radda's Arms theft. His brother's shop at Jamshedpur was the rendezvous for the revolutionaries. Another revolutionary Bankim Chandra Mitra, a teacher at Sakchi School, was removed at the instance of the DPI. Baroda Prasad, Nagendra Narayan Rai Choudhury and Rasik Lal Das all important revolutionaries of Bengal, were arrested at Jamshedpur. The Bengal IB informed the Bihar Government that a Punjabi, who was active among the troops, was at Sakchi.

In latter phase of revolutionary activities, Jamshedpur became more prominent. After the formation of HSRA in 1928, its branch was organised at Jamshedpur that consisted of Madhu Dutta, Chinta Haran Roy, Jitten Mitter, Haran Chandra Chakravarty, Ram Chandra Chakravarty, Manoranjan Ghosh, Prafulla Ganguly, Jiban Kanhai Pal, Kedareshwar Sen, Nani Gopal Mukherji, Pravesh Chandra Mitra, Prithwish Bose and Bindu Bhushan Das. Of them, Haran Chandra Chakravarty was the leading spirit. A resident of Barasalika, P.S. Chatmoha, District Patna, he came to Jamshedpur in 1925 and got employment in Gas Production Plant of the Tatas. He joined the Anusilan party (later HSRA) which planned an attack on the Viceroy who was to visit Jamshedpur but this could not be carried out. Haran also got in touch with the communist and labour leaders including Manek Homi and Amritlal Verma and formulated ambitious plan for amalgamating all parties. He favoured the idea of mass revolution on a grand scale rather than isolated acts of terrorism. The close police surveillance, which had been imposed on him throughout, hindered his participation in active operations and he, therefore, concentrated on organising supply of arms, funds, explosives and occasionally harbouring absconders. With the assistance of the Tatas, on the plea of being a strong advocate of physical culture and the art of self-defence, he founded the 'G' Town Athletic Club. The purpose was recruitment of boys and girls for the party. He raised the membership to 250. He also succeeded in inculcating the revolutionary spirit in women folk. Dagger drill and the other forms of physical exercise were taught regularly and the girls squad gave an impressive display during the Puja festivities in 1933. A couple of fairly prominent female suspects were employed in Jamshedpur as teachers and through the Athletic Club, they easily kept in touch with Haran and apparently worked according to his instructions.

Haran extended his revolutionary activities to other places in Jharkhand too. He took over the control of the Chakradharpur organization which was formerly run by Lalit Bhattacharji, brother of M. N. Roy, the well-known communist. He was also in touch with revolutionary parties at Ranchi, Purulia, Jharia and Ghatshila. He took keen interests in youngsters who were budding revolutionaries. His activities ultimately led to his externment in 1934.

Besides Haran, about thirty to forty revolutionaries belonging to different parties were actively engaged in spreading revolutionary principles and engaged in conspiracies at Jamshedpur. In 1929, Nani Gopal Mukherji imported bombs and intended to an attempt on the life of Manek Homi, leader of the Labour Federation, Jamshedpur. Another extremist Tara Sing, active in the labour field, also secured bombs and pistols to finish Homi. Manoranjan Ghosh, Prithwish Bose and Bidhu Bhusan Das were also active revolutionary workers at Jamshedpur. Bomb-cases were being manufactured in Tata's works. The bombs used in Chittagong Armoury Raid were prepared at Jamshedpur. Arms and bomb-shells were being regularly supplied to Bengal revolutions. 1930, Madhu Dutta and Chinta Haran Roy supplied at least hundred bomb-shells @Rs.3/8/ (6 anna)- each to Bengal revolutionaries from Jamshedpur. Members of Tilak Book Depot, Bistupur, were in touch with revolutionary absconders. About twelve absconders of Chittagong Armoury Raid were hiding Jamshedpur. Surapati Chakravorty very often visited Jamshedpur for securing explosives and Jitten Mitter purchased a number of firearms which he supplied a group for committing dacoity. The revolutionaries were working at Jamshedpur under the cover of clubs and associations which they had formed there. Many of them were collecting arms and were active in labour fields. Sachindra Nath Sanyal, Mangal Singh, Dharam Bir Singh and others were busy in organising labour at Jamshedpur. They had established contact with Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Kirti Kisan Party of Punjab. However, by the year 1935, the Jamshedpur branch of revolutionaries collapsed due to constant police actions.

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