Thursday, 21 July 2016

Indu Bhusan Roy

Indu Bhushan Roy
Indu Bhushan Roy

The story of the inhuman torture that Indian freedom fighters had suffered in the jails on the mainland of India and the far off Andamans is not fully known because this has not been properly narrated, not even by those who had undergone the sufferings themselves. There is one case which gives a meagre detail of just a fraction of the limitless methods of diabolical treatment that had been meted out to those whose names ought to go down in history in letters of gold.

Eighteen year old Indu Bhusan Roy, was arrested on 02 May 1908, from 32 Muraripukur Road, Manicktala, together with Barindra Kumar Ghose and others, as an accused in the Alipore Conspiracy Case. The yearning for independence had infected the young heart of Indu and he wanted to serve his motherland by making her free from the 'feringhi' yoke and establish a better Government. He was a student of a High School in Khulna and appeared at the Entrance Examination in 1907 in which he failed. In those days parents used to get their children married at an early age. Indu's father pressed him hard for marriage but he chose to leave behind his parents to lead the life of an ascetic. He had been roaming around when he met Barindra at College Square and was told of the preparations that were secretly going on. He took his residence at Manicktala and began studying the Gita seriously. He gradually developed the idea of sacrificing his life for the country and thus to set an example to his countrymen. He was a keen student of history and books like 'Ananda Math' and other such literature helped him to form this idea.

Indu Bhushan Roy
Indu Bhushan Roy

As he had little attachment for life, he was selected for the task of throwing a bomb at the Mayor of Chandernagore on 11 April 1908. Indu was convicted in the Alipore Conspiracy Case and was awarded a punishment of transportation for ten years. Indu reached the Andaman Cellular Jail, a name that used to strike terror to the hearts of even the most heinous and hardened criminals, in December 1909.

He had to work outside the jail which for him was more troublesome and humiliating than the work done inside the jail. The position was that if a common prisoner working outside the jail fell ill, he was sent to a hospital other than the jail hospital that was better than the one inside. However the case was different with political prisoners. If he was sick, he was declared to be feigning illness and was punished all the more. The degree of the malady was overlooked and though he was suffering from a illness that had partly incapacitated him from doing any heavy work, he was made to walk a distance of over four miles carrying his bedding on his shoulder as punishment. He was immediately locked up in his individual cell.

Indu was at the end of his physical endurance when he requested for duties inside the jail. On arrival, chains were placed on his hands and legs and he was marched to his old cell. In a day or two, he was ordered to go back to his scheduled duty in the settlement which he refused to do. He was charged with the offense of breach of jail discipline. Indu was in a pitiable condition of health and was scarcely able to carry on with the work that he had to perform. On 28 April 1912, Indu desired to see the jailer and he was taken to his office. He requested the jailer in the most entreating terms, to change his work of making white flax out of rambash plant. He had been suffering from blisters caused by the juice of the rambash so much that it was even difficult for him to move his fingers freely. It became so painful that he could not get a wink of sleep during the whole night. The pain and the raw sores in his hands prevented him from eating with his hand. The touch of 'dal' caused him so much pain that tears would roll down from his cheeks and the food could not be touched at all. He pleaded that if the same state of affairs were allowed to continue, he would die of starvation.

He prayed again for a change of work or alternatively to be sent to the hospital for a few days so that his palms might heal up. All his entreaties met with blunt rebuff from the jailer, who used the most abusive language befitting the guardian of hell on earth. Indu persisted in asking the jailer to allow him to see the Medical Officer so that he might show the condition of his hands to him and get redress. The jailer shouted "You must carry out my orders." Then after a pause he blurted out "All right I will change your work" and asked the warder-in-charge to engage Indu in the 'Kolu' or the dreaded oil-crusher (ghani) from the next morning. Indu muttered that he would simply die if he had to work in the oil mill with those hands of his. The jailer was obdurate. Indu was dismissed amid a shower of abusive language. After a few hours Indu was found dead, hanging in his cell. At 1 O'clock of 29 April 1912, he was found hanging from the top window by a noose made of strips of his torn kurta. One of the inmates of the Cellular Jail at that time (Veer Savarkar: Story of my transportation for life, Page 214) wrote that "the young man must have found life too burdensome for the loss of his self-respect, to bear or to endure." One of the warders in his morning round found Indu hanging in his cell. An alarm was raised. The jailer hastened to the spot, the matter was telephoned to the Medical Superintendent four or five times and a police orderly was sent to the said officer's bungalow situated nearby. No response came before 8 O'clock next morning. In the meantime a Madrasi hospital assistant was sent for, but when he came, the body was found as stiff as a log.

Next morning when the Superintendent, the District Magistrate and the police came to investigate, the jailer, a veritable scoundrel, gave his own version of the affair which was accepted on the spot. It was given that the suicide was due to hallucination that his fellow convicts were contemplating to murder him. A more specious pleas could never have been discovered even by the Devil himself.

The news of Indu's tragic death reached India after many weeks and was received by all concerned with a sense of profound sorrow and grief. The state of helplessness of the Indian people in such circumstances must have steeled a thousand hearts to avenge the death of Indu Bhusan Roy by making India free so that nothing of the sort could happen again in a civilized administration.

2 comments:

  1. Does the nation remember him and the others who perished for the freedom of the country?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The British Officers posted at India were basically scoundrels.

    ReplyDelete