18th April 1930: The day when 64 Indians formed an army that attacked a British Army Armoury as well as a Police Armoury. They were led by a teacher called ‘Surya Sen’. The raid was moderately successful and the raiders hoisted an ‘Indian flag’ atop the fortified British compounds in a British Army cantonment. Surya Sen took a military salute and declared war on the British. This was in fact a declaration of war against the British.
Incidently, this raid happened during Gandhiji’s much glorified Dandi March.
The plan was elaborate and included seizing of arms from the armoury as well as destruction of communication system of the city (including telephone, telegraph and railway), thereby isolating Chittagong from the rest of British India. However, although the group could loot the arms, they failed to get the ammunition. They hoisted the Indian National Flag (was a tricolour with the Charkha at the centre) on the premises of the armoury, and then escaped.
A few days later, a large fraction of the revolutionary group was cornered in the nearby Jalalabad hills by the British troops. In the ensuing fight, twelve revolutionaries died, many were arrested, while some managed to flee, including Sen.
After the attack, most of the raiders escaped but were pursued and killed.
Surya Sen himself was caught after a comrade of his gave him up to the British (sigh!). He was tortured and hanged in 1934.
Thank God for Philately which has its benefits in discovering unknown heroes. As an avid stamp collector, in my childhood I came across this stamp of a man called Surya Sen. The first day covers of stamps are released with a brochure related to the stamp, wherein I first read his story. The story remained with me. http://www.indianpost.com/viewstamp.php/Paper/Watermarked%20Adhesive%20stamp%20paper%20with%20’Ashoka%20Pillar’/SURYA%20SEN%20(REVOLUTIONARY) :
- https://prashantb.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/the-unsung-heroes-of-chittagong-uprising/ – an interesting blog on the issue
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalpana_Datta – wikipedia link of a freedom fighter who was part of the Chittagong Raid.
P.S: A brilliantly made flop movie of Abhishek Bachchan covers this story in exquisite detail; no one ever saw the movie – Khelein Hain Jee Jaan Se.