In the early months of 1934, a group of young revolutionaries met at a local club house in Calcutta. The small club house situated at the Park Street was ordinary to say the least and only used by the local boys of the neighbourhood as a means to spend time playing various indoor games. At around 7pm of the fateful day, a group of individuals walked in. These rather grim looking individuals were neither member of the club nor from the neighbourhood. Among them were Bhawani Bhattacharya, Rabnindranath Banerjee, Manoranajan Banerjee, Ujjwal Majumdar, Madhusudan Banerjee, Sukumar Ghosh and Sushil Chakroborthy. A conspiracy to assassinate the Governor of Bengal John Anderson was subsequently hatched by these individuals and Bhawani Bhattacharya and Rabindranath Banerjee chosen for the same. As per the plan, both Bhawani Bhattacharya and Rabindranath Banerjee left for Darjeeling and on arrival began to live in the town incognito. Though it is not clear as to where they lived or who hosted them, it is known that they met frequently with the underground revolutionaries and supporters at the Nipendra Narayan Hindu Public Hall and practiced firing at the forests below the Shrubbery Park. On the 8th May 1934, the assassination attempt on the Governor however, failed when both the revolutionaries were arrested and the Governor saved by the local police. Bhawani Bhattacharya was eventually sentenced to death and Rabindranath Banerjee sentenced to life in prison. Later other revolutionaries who were found co-conspirators were also sentenced to prison. Among those who were indicted were all those who had conspired at the club in Calcutta-Manoranjan Banerjee, Ujjwal Majumdar, Madhusudan Banerjee, Sukumar Ghosh and Sushil Chakroborthy.

Darjeeling was truly humbled by the blood of these great revolutionaries. A great spurt thence was noticed among the local people who took up the cause of the motherland. Names of the great Nepalese freedom fighters like Helen Lepcha, Gaga Tshering Dukpa, Mitra Sen Thapa, Major Durga Malla, Dal Bahadur Giri, Chabilal Upadhyay, Captain Dal Bahadur Thapa, Jungbir Sapkota, Ram Singh Thakuri, Krishna Bahadur Mukhia and Pushpa Kumar Ghising are today, legendary. During the call of the Netaji also, the Gorkhas gave up everything to rally behind him and die for the motherland. The Indian National Army was filled with Gorkhas willing to fight.

While Helen Lepcha and Gaga Tshering Dukpa became ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi and plunged into the nationalist movement, Pushpa Kumar Ghising participated in the 1946 Naval Uprising. Puspa Kumar Ghising had actually got into the naval ammunition dump alone and taken its control after bringing down at least three British soldiers stationed there. The weapons thus procured then from the ammunition dump were used by the Indian sailors to hold back the British for 5 days. Ultimately on the fifth day, Ghising and his friends were arrested and taken to the Mulundi Jail where he was court-martialed but acquitted during the trail. He resigned from the Navy on September 8, 1946 to plunge into the independence movement now on its ultimate stage. Truly, for such a small district, to have so many of Freedom fighters is remarkable to say the least.

Copyright - FALLEN CICADA, "Unwritten History of Darjeeling Hills" written by Sanjay Biswas/Barun Roy.

 
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