While Bollywood movie Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey,based on the Chittagong uprising of 1930,has hit the screens all over the country,one of the real life characters who had participated in the struggle,was in Kolkata this week to undergo medical treatment.
Binod Bihari Choudhury,who turned 101 on January 10,came to Kolkata from Chittagong for some medical check up and shared his memory of the uprising.
The centenarian,who is currently staying at his sons house in Barasat in North 24 Parganas,told The Indian Express today that the motto of the bravehearts of the 1930 uprising was Do and die and not Do or die.
He said they had not dreamt of the kind of independence that prevails today in India. Todays leaders are different….they are greedy,selfish and dishonest, rued Choudhury,
Choudhury recalls how time and again Master da Surya Sen,the leader of the armed revolutionaries,refused to make him part of his revolutionary party and how he relentlessly kept trying to convince him. Finally I told him that I will join some other revolutionary group as I was determined to serve my country. The moment I said that,he embraced me,saying he was testing my perseverance. Master da was like a coconut ¿ very strict and hard on the surface,but loving and caring at heart, Choudhury said.
Today only a handful of people recall the Chittagong armoury raid,when Master da Surjya Sen led his fellow revolutionaries into storming a powerful citadel of British imperialism on April 18,1930.
Choudhury was barely 20 then when he in the company of revolutionaries like Surya Sen, Preetilata Waddedar,Kalpana Dutta,Kalipada Chakrabarty,Ambika Chakrabarty,Makhan Ghoshal,Tarakeshwar Dastidar raided the armoury,the police station and the telegraph office. They also proclaimed a revolutionary government for a free India that was to wage a guerrilla war over the next three years.
He recalled how they braved the bullets of the British army,shouting Vande Mataram and Inquilab Zindabad,after their successful attack at all the prominent places of British administration in Chittagong. Do and die and not do or die was our plan of action and it was successful. With just 100 boys and girls,Masterda was able to challenge the British administrations might for quite some time, Choudhury said.
Choudhurys neck was pierced by a bullet in the course of the armed action and he was captured and sent off to imprisonment in distant Rajputana. He survived loneliness and brutality and was eventually to be witness to the departure of the British from India.
Choudhury chose to remain in East Pakistan when many of his community members crossed over to India in the aftermath of partition. In 1971,with his fellow Bengalis in East Pakistan,Choudhury threw in his lot with the struggle for Bangladeshs freedom.
Even at 101,Choudhury,keeps track of every political development.
Ireland,Vietnam,Myanmar…all these countries got independence through armed struggle but none of these societies are morally as degraded as we are. We had fought to make the people happy. Unfortunately,that dream remains unfulfilled. The character-building of the nation has remained an unfinished task, he sighed.