Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Murder of British Collector James Peddy, Midnapur, Bengal - Why was he killed by the revolutionaries?

India's freedom struggle. www.google.com
If  calm and composed Indian natives were quite infuriated over the way  the British ruled India, one ought to understand the undercurrent of frustration and abomination that was running in the back of their mind. Since the East India company and later the British Crown administration used Kolkata as their base of operation, obviously, there arose a  small  section of  dejected young Bengalis  who felt India's freedom could not be achieved   through peaceful means.  At stake were their Bengali pride, freedom of expression and fundamental rights. Because they thought the British mistook their endurance to their misdeeds and arrogant behavior  for an act of cowardice. The division of Bengal on the basis of religion by the British under the pretext of administrative efficiency was a hoax.  The clarion call for 'Quit India' by great leaders like Tilak and Patel attracted lots of freedom fighters. As for patriotic young Bengali men, having no other recourse or choice, only way to achieve freedom was through violent means. They knew very well that ''violence will beget violence''. However, the acts of violence here and there against the British rule would attract the international media and the  western countries and other countries as well and they would  pay more attention to the explosive political situation in India. An embarrassment for the British  if the Indian natives were not happy under the oppressive British rule in their own land, not to speak of exploitation of their natural resources by a foreign power, not for the benefit of India, but for the benefit of Britain.
Jallianwalla Bagh massacre 1913 India's freedom struggle. www.google.com
The district of Midnapur, now in West Bengal became  a center of revolutionary activities. People's anger and frustration was so much in a span of just two years three I.C.S. British officers were murdered by the Indian patriots. The path chosen by them was not a good one as Mahatma Gandhi had been preaching Satyagraha and non-violence against the British to  get freedom. It was true Gandhi's approach had a slow impact on the British administration both in India and in England. All the martyrs  were young Bengalis, including a woman. Dinesh Gupta, when he was a college student in Midnapur, organized a group of revolutionaries in 1927 and the help came from this group. The disciples had to coordinate their activities with the  nucleus organization in Kolkata which was busy with covert activities against the repressive British administration
India's freedom struggle. www.google.com

The activists focused their attention on the repressive and arrogant British officers and chose three among them. Their first target was
James Peddy. Though well-read, this ICS  officer was a tough man and had a lousy reputation for his rude treatment of the natives. His notoriety  was quite well-known and his specialty was to beat a victim as long as he could. When dealing with freedom fighters, he was much worse than  a ferocious, mad  dog and his bite would be a bad and painful one.  With respect to  satyagrahis, never had he shown any mercy, rather  he would beat them hard till they became unconsciousness. As for Indian women, there was no  consideration for their gender.  Without scruples, with glee, he would drag them to the middle of the street and  strip them naked and leave them right there in full public view.  Just imagine what sort of mental agony and torture, these women would have experienced under these circumstances. Can Collector Peddy pay for the psychological damages done to the women who wanted freedom for their land? How could they walk on the same street after this shameful incident?  Indian women always give due importance to human dignity and  modesty. As far as Peddy was concerned, if women' modesty was hurt, mentally they would become weak  and  next time they won't ever raise their voice against the Raj.  Activists decided that this despicable devil - Collector  James Peddy should not go unpunished. 

Shashanka Dasgupta (comet), Phani Kundu, Jyoti Jeevan Ghosh and Vimal Dasgupta were chosen for the task of finishing Peddy. They got the weapons from Kharakpur, WB on 11 April 1931. On a couple of occasions, their scheduled plan to murder him did not happen for various reasons. The last one being an exhibition event on May 7 which was to  be inaugurated by Peddy.

The activists got a third chance. Taking advantage of a big playground close to Peddy's Bungalow, two of the comrades decided to go after him  for the 'final kill'. He was surrounded by teachers. The advantage was the interior was poorly-lit, perhaps there was no power supply.  A good chance was on the silver platter, a chance to escape undetected in the dim light. Around 5 pm on 8th May 1931, two courageous youngsters posing as helping the Collector went close to him, whipped out the gun and  fired at him in close range. Severely injured, Peddy died following day in the hospital.   For the patriotic people, it was a great relief something like slaying a notorious Asura (demon), an occasion to rejoice.  Both Jyoti and Vimal came out of the scene of crime secretly and safely without raising suspicion. This murder took place after  Salt Satyagraha by the Congress had taken place and gained  wide publicity across India and abroad. The British Raj levied tax on the cooking salt, an important item in cooking and there were wide spread protests across India. Gandhiji  undertook salt Yatra to Dandi in Gujarat  and broke the law by collecting salt on 6 April 1930 and later Sri C. Rajagopala Chari (Rajaji) went on a padayatra from Tiruchirapalli city, Tamil Nadu   to Vedaranyam in Nagapatnam district and collected salt on 28 April, 1930 along with Kamaraj Nadar, T.S.S. Rajan, Kakkan and  Sardar Vedaratnam Pillai. 

Soon a spate of violence took place in Midnapur district and countless British officials  were scared and not happy to work in a place ridden with violent nationalists.  The killing of D. E. Burge  and Robert Douglas, both I.C.S. officers added a  new dimension to the British administrative machinery. They tightened the security and, however, they had begun to realize that India's freedom from the British yoke was not that far off. 
https://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2018/08/murder-of-three-colonial-british.html