Updated January 13, 2023
Rajendra Nath Lahiri was an Indian revolutionary, and one of the masterminds behind the Kakori conspiracy and Dakshineshwar bombing. He was an active member of the Hindustan Republican Association aimed to oust the British from India.
All Indians are familiar with the names of three Kakori martyrs: Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Roshan Singh. This is because they were all hanged on the same day, December 19, 1927. Two days earlier on December 17, 1927, Rajendranath Lahiri was hung as the fourth martyr and is almost forgotten.
Life Story and Education of Rajendra Nath Lahiri
Rajendra Nath Lahiri was born on June 29, 1901, in the village of Mohanpur, Pabna district of the Bengal Presidency, in an upper-caste landlord family. At the time of his birth, his father and elder brother were in Jail, for participating in the activities of the banned Anushilan Samiti.
At a very early age, the feeling of patriotism first came inside him. When he was just nine years old, he went to his maternal uncle’s house in Varanasi, filled with patriotism. Later, he was sent to Varanasi for his education, where he met the famous revolutionary Sachindranath Sanyal, the co-founder of the HRA.
Lahiri, an economics and history graduate, served as honorary secretary of the Bengal Sahitya Parishad and secretary of the health union at BHU. He wrote many articles for papers like Bangabani and Shanka – a magazine edited by Sanyal. He also wrote some articles for Agradut, a handwritten monthly magazine. At the age of 24, Lahiri was pursuing an MA in history when he was hung.
Lahiri was a member of the Hindu Republican Association’s (HRA’s) provincial council and a district organizer in Varanasi. Charu, Jawahar, and Jugalkishore were some of his aliases. During the Kakori action, it was Lahiri who stopped the train by pulling a chain from a second-class compartment.
Lahiri was involved in multiple holdups for the HRA in the United Provinces to gather funds for revolutionary activities before participating in the historic Kakori rail dacoity. He was also invited to the Hindustan Republican Association’s secret meetings as a result of his dedication and loyalty to the cause. His passion for Bengali literature and reading led him to establish a small library in his mother’s honour.
Role Played by Rajendra Nath Lahiri in Kakori Conspiracy
He was a key part of the planning of the Kakori incident. Ashfaqullah Khan first heard about the concept, he was skeptical, believing it would draw undue attention to the revolutionaries. It was Lahiri who stood ground and forced Ashfaq to reconsider.
On August 9, 1925, Lahiri pulled the chain at Kakori station as per the plan, signaling Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Ashfaqullah, and ten others to rob the money-filled bags. After the incident, Bismil sent him to Bengal to learn how to make the bomb. There
Just as he was finishing up gathering the materials for the bombs, another revolutionary acted carelessly and set off a bomb. Rajendra Nath Lahiri and 9 other people were taken into custody and arrested from a bomb factory in Dakshineswar, after the explosion of a bomb.
Although, the revolutionaries were sentenced to ten years in prison, however, the British government filed a lawsuit against them over the Kakori event. Using manufactured evidence and fraudulent witnesses, the revolutionaries were found guilty of starting a war against the British monarchy and looting the treasury. Rajendra Nath was taken to Lucknow and imprisoned there.
Despite numerous requests and arguments, the British government refused to change its mind, and Rajendra Nath Lahiri along with Roshan Singh, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Ashfaqullah Khan was sentenced to death by hanging. While the others were scheduled to be hanged on December 19, Lahiri was scheduled to be hanged at the Gonda district jail two days earlier on December 17.
Legacy and Death of Rajendra Nath Lahiri
Rajendra Nath Lahiri was hanged on December 17, 1927. In the morning of that day, he was doing his usual exercises. When the jailor asked him “why are you doing this even on your last day”, Lahiri replied:
“JAILOR SAAB, I AM A HINDU, I BELIEVE IN REBIRTH. I WANT TO BE BORN WITH A PHYSICALLY FIT BODY IN MY NEXT BIRTH SO THAT I CAN COMPLETE MY UNFINISHED TASKS. TODAY IS THE MOST GLORIOUS DAY OF MY LIFE, HOW CAN I FORGO MY DAILY ROUTINE? I AM NOT DYING, BUT I SHALL ONCE AGAIN BE REBORN IN A FREE BHARAT”.
With a smile on his lips, Rajendra Nath Lahiri went to the gallows, kissed the rope, and shouted Vande Mataram. Another brave son of Bharat had dedicated his life to the freedom of his country.
In the Gonda district, Rajendra Nath Lahir’s sacrifice is commemorated every year on December 17 as Lahiri Diwas. In his honour, cultural activities are held in the Gonda district jail, and a yagna is held in front of his statue. There is also a memorial in his honour.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Ans: Because he was involved in the Kakori train robbery on 8 August 1925.
Ans: Yes, he was hanged two days before the decided date, on December 17, 1927.
Ans: The robbery plan was executed by Rajendra Lahiri, Bismil Khan, Chandrashekhar Azad, Manmathnath Gupta, Mukundi Lal, Sachindra Bakshi, Keshab Chakravarty, Murari Lal Gupta, and Banwari Lal. One passenger was killed unintentionally.