Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The unfortunate assassination of British officer Arthur Jackson

During India's freedom struggle against the British in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there existed  a section of Indian freedom fighters, driven by wrong ideology, perversely thought violence was a way to instill fear among the administrators as the peaceful protests did not make any dent in the progress towards freedom. The British had held India close to their heart for more than 200 years because  India  was a sort of golden hen for them. British economy, to a large extend, was dependent on India's vast resources and its systematic depredation. In the midst of economic exploitation, racial discrimination perpetrated by the British, there were present innumerable administrators, officers and engineers who were not only sympathetic to the Indians, but also identified  themselves  with the Indians and their culture and, on the sideline, took keen interest in Indian languages and history. The unfortunate part of it was a few of  these good officers became victims of hatred on filmy ground and were killed by Indian patriots  in the name of freeing India from the British yoke.
Assassin Anant Laxman Kanhere, World News

Arthur Mason Tippetts Jackson (1866 -1909), a British officer in Indian Civil Services (ICS) was altogether a different administrator. Being an intellectual, he did not want to waste his extra time and, over a period of time, developed keen interest in Indology- studies related to Indian languages, culture, etc. His obsession for Indian history, dramas etc., was so much, he became a well-known British historian and his contribution was sizable. Obviously, he was tagged as  Pandit Jackson.
 

 Mr. A. M. T. Jackson, the then Collector of Nasik, was shot dead on 21 December 1909 in a theater at Nasik (now in Maharastra). It came to be called  the "Nasik Conspiracy case". Countless freedom fighters and the local community were at a loss to know the motive behind killing a nice British officer who, unlike many arrogant and corrupt British officials, was sympathetic towards Indian aspirations for a free India. Besides, like Judge William Jones, he was a student of Sanskrit, and was man of erudition and scholarship who firmly stood above polities, but never failed to do his duty in a dharmic way.

On the fatal day in December, 1909 when Jackson came there to attend the performance of a Marathi drama at Nasik. the unfortunate assassination occurred  during the interval in the performance. The young 17-year-old Brahmin student of Aurangabad, Anant Laxman Kanhere, all of a sudden, stepped forward, whipped out a pistol, and shot Mr. Jackson  at point blank range. This bizarre incident took place in the presence of hundreds of people around Jackson. They just stood there dumb-founded.
Arthur Jackson, ICS, Nasik www.nashik.com
Anant Laxman Kanhere, Twitter
It became a sensational news in Nasik, Poona, Bombay and other places and the disgusted Indian nationalists could not find one good reason for killing an affable English gentleman. Anger and resentment prevailed among them and the general consensus was that only a perverted mind wold  indulge in such a despicable  and dastardly murder.
  Jackson' was a very sympathetic and popular district officer and mixed with the people well  without any inhibition. On occasions, he told people that he was a Vedic literate Brahmin in his previous life and that was why he felt affection towards the Indian people.
map showing Nasik, Maharasra. Weather Forecast

It is believed that  Jackson  was shot dead by Ananat Kahere as Jackson, in his capacity as the Magistrate, had ordered Ganesh Savarkar (an Indian freedom-fighter and elder brother of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar ) to face trial.

However, it is believed, that several unsavory incidents took place that exposed the exploitative nature of the British Raj. 1. One Indian was beaten to death for touching the golf ball and the British official was let out scot-free; reason for the boy's death: Diarrhoea, 2. Some youths, upon their return from a fair were arrested and prosecuted; reason: they shouted 'Vande Mataram', 3. Lawyer, Babasaheb Khare, was barred from practicing in the court, had his property was confiscated and was finally sent to jail; reason: as a lawyer, he appeared for the revolutionaries on whom the government had foisted  cases and 4. Babarao Savarkar was arrested and prosecuted; reason; he printed  a 16-page book of songs of Kavi Govind. 

The case of Babarao Savarkar came up before  Jackson, who based on evidences found him guilty. A revolutionary group headed by Krishnaji Karve  could not digest the verdict and decided to eliminate Jackson soon, not withstanding his other good attributes. Jackson was soon to assume the post of Commissioner of Mumbai. Krishnaji Karve, Vinayak Deshpande, and Anant Kanhere  conspired to kill Jackson before his departure for Bombay. Jackon was given a farewell party and as part of the function, he was watching a Marathi drama 'Sharada', presented in his honor. The unexpected murder took place in the interval  on 21 December 1909.  Anant Kanhere  pumped four bullets at Jackson and he , immediacy, slumped dead. The assassin wanted to commit suicide but was overpowered by Indian security officers. Anant Kanhere, then barely 18 years old, was prosecuted in Bombay court presided by Judge Basil Scott, who headed the Tribunal, and hanged in the Thane prison on 19 April 1910,  about four months after Jackson was killed. As  Krishnaji Karve and Vinayak Deshpande happened to be other prime conspirators, they were also hanged to death. Their bodies were cremated by the prison officers, and the 'Asthi' (Ash left after the body is burnt) was also not handed over to their relatives but were thrown in the sea near Thane.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._M._T._Jackson