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Madan Lal Dhingra was born on 8 February 1883 in a Punjabi family in Amritsar, India, his father was a civil surgeon and all his brothers had their education abroad. When he was a student at the Government College University, Lahore in 1904 he headed a students' protest rally against the principal, refusing to wear the college Blazer made of cloth imported from England for which he was expelled from the college. At that time Dhingra was a student in the Master of Arts program. Being a man of independent thinking, he slowly became obsessed with India's fundamental problems, poverty, extensive impoverishment and famine partly created by the British Raj. He was drawn close to nationalist Swadeshi movement as the British were dumping imported clothes,etc and damaging India's vast cottage industries. Only Swaraj - Self rule alone could solve India's mounting problems and it would stop exploitation of Indians by Britain. Dhingra had a brief chequered career in India as his labor union activities got him into trouble. Upon his brother Dr. Bihari Lal's advice, from Mumbai he went to England in 1906 for higher studies and there he joined University College, London, to study mechanical engineering. Financial help came from his elder brother.
|Sentenced 17 Aug. 1908 Martyr Madan Lal Dingra. Twitter|
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Earlier Dingra's attempt to assassinate Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, the ex-Governor of Bengal, Bramfield Fuller could not materialize as the timing was not suitable to him. So, he decided to target Curzon Wyllie who had joined the British Army in 1866 and the Indian Political Department in 1879. His distinguished service got him promotion quickly and at last he became Political Aide-de-Camp to the Secretary of State for India. Further, being the head of the Secret Police and he had been trying to gather information about Savarkar and other revolutionaries. So, Dingra made up his mind to target him as Wylie was spreading the net wide on the revolutionaries.
On the evening of 1 July 1909, the Indian National Association at the Imperial Institute, London hosted the annual 'At Home' function. Also present at the gala function were a large number of Indians and Englishmen. Sir Curzon Wyllie, political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India was to be present and Dhingra never wished to miss the opportunity to shoot Wylie. When Wylie was leaving the hall with his wife, Dhingra fired five shots, four of which hit their target. Cawas Lalcaca[, a Parsee doctor who tried to save Sir Curzon, was hit by the 6th and 7th shot and died.
Dhingra's suicide attempt, having been failed, he was arrested by the police. Dhingra was tried in the Old Bailey on 23 July. He argued for himself and did not have a lawyer for him. He said he killed Wylie Curson as part of his patriotic duty to free India from the oppressive and inhuman rule. It was exploitation of land and people by the British masters all the way. Further, it may be taken as a revenge for the inhumane killings of countless Indians by the British Government in India who wanted their Home Land back. His killing of Cawas Lalcaca was just accidental. He was sentenced to death by the British Court. When the judge handed down his verdict, Dhingra is believed to have stated: "I am proud to have the honor of laying down my life for my country". Madan Lal Dhingra was hanged on 17 August 1909 at Pentonville Prison.
'' I do not want to say anything in defence of myself, but simply to prove the justice of my deed. .......''
'' ..... if it is patriotic in an Englishman to fight against the Germans if they were to occupy this country, it is much more justifiable and patriotic in my case to fight against the English. I hold the English people responsible for the murder of eighty millions of Indian people in the last fifty years, and they are also responsible for taking away ₤100,000,000 every year from India to this country. ............. the English people have no right to occupy India, and it is perfectly justifiable on our part to kill the Englishman who is polluting our sacred land. I am surprised at the terrible hypocrisy, the farce, and the mockery of the English people. They pose as the champions of oppressed humanity—the peoples of the Congo and the people of Russia—when there is terrible oppression and horrible atrocities committed in India; for example, the killing of two millions of people every year and the outraging of our women......''