Ram Prasad Bismil entered the portals of the Arya Samaj, Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh then known as the United Provinces, at the age of 18 and lived every moment as a committed Arya till he kissed the gallows as a freedom fighter and a revolutionary at the age of 30.
He had led a wayward life as a teenager but was always keen to find his moorings to fix a goal a Lakshya and strive to attain it. He found a mentor in Rishi Dayanand through his book, Satyarth Prakash and stuck to the principles of the Arya Samaj till his last breath.
Ram Prasad met a friend, philosopher and guide in Swami Somdev in the Arya Samaj and followed his teachings as a shishya follows in the footsteps of his Guru. Swami Somdev ji reformed the wayward man and guided him to the good life of a Krantikari, a revolutionary ever ready to live and die for the Matribhoomi Bharat and free Bharat Mata from the clutches of the wily British rulers.
It was indeed the teachings of Rishi Dayanand that emboldened young Ram Prasad to even sacrifice his life to liberate the motherland. Any means to achieve the goal was good enough. Never mind if it involved breaching the code of conduct of Ahinsa as interpreted by Gandhiji. What mattered most to Ram Prasad ji was the goal, viz liberation of Bharat Mata.
Indeed it was Rishi Dayanand who had written in the Satyarth Prakash that Self Rule was always better than foreign rule even if the latter treated its subjects like a mother loves her son. Rishi Dayanand had heard of the whispering campaign encouraged by the British masters that Queen Victoria, Empress of India, was treating her Indian subjects like a mother. Rishivar was not prepared to buy this canard and campaigned against this kind of slow poisoning. Ram Prasad the revolutionary did exactly the same and followed his Guruvar Rishi Dayanand Saraswati.
Ram Prasad Ji was a preacher of sorts and came to be known as Pundit Ram Prasad. He was a consummate poet both in Hindi and Urdu. As a poet he chose three aliases, Ram, Agyant and finally BISMIL.The last one became an everlasting one when he composed the lines:
Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna ab humare Dil mein hai,
Dekhna hai zor kitna Bazue Qatil mein hai.
The element of supreme sacrifice was there and it caught the imagination of the youth. They were so inspired by Pt Ram Prasad Bismil that they were ever ready to dedicate their lives for the cause of freedom of the motherland. Thus they also tested the resolve of the British masters in the role of killers and found it wanting in the face of zeal to make the supreme sacrifice. Bismil was indeed a great leader of men and super motivator of the youth.
Pt Ram Prasad Bismil had the spirit of Freedom in his blood. His ancestors were products of the Chambalriver and ravines. They had never accepted subjugation, neither of foreigners nor of Indian rulers who were political slaves of their British masters. It was Luxmibai, Rani of Jhansi to whom freedom fighters of the Madhya Bharat and other regions had looked to for taking up arms against the barbarian rule.
It was his grandfather who had migrated from the Chambal riverine area to Shahjahanpur to find avenues for earning bread and butter by sweat of the brow. His son Murlidhar sired a son named Ram Prasad who rose to be a revolutionary. Ram Prasad's early education was in traditional schools from elementary school onwards. In Hindi he found the letter U fascinating as it stood for the night bird, ULLU or owl.
Later he moved to the Islamia School for Urdu education and finally to the Mission School for English education. The tradfitional teaching did not find a votary in young Ram Prasad and he failed in the VII class twice. He fell in bad company and devoted more time to reading cheap novels than to learning the prescribed text books.
Credit goes to Swmi Somdev of Arya Samaj Shahjehanpur for bringing the gone-astray Ram Prasad back on track and inspire the wayward young man of 18 years to become an Arya Samajist to his fingertips. Ram Prasad never looked back and moved forward to achieve the aim of bringing the garland of Freedom to decorate the Bharat Mata with.
Pt Ram Prasad indulged inlooting the wealth of the corrupt rich and slaves of the British Empire to invest the looted money in the cause of freedom of motherland. Nevertheless he was Not a Lutera in the conventional sense.He was a Freedom Fighter.
As advised by prominent politicians of the day, Ram Prasad and a few friends attended the Indian National Congress session in Lucknow in 1916. It gave him a good grounding in what was going on in the political sphere He found his moorings with the Garam Dal and chose not to associate with the Naran Dal.In 1920 he attended the Delhi session of the party but chose to live in isolation for sometime to develop a strong will power. It was in an area now known as Greater Noida that he lived in for sometime in isolation.
In 1921 Ram Prasad attended the Congress session in Ahmedabad and found his Thought at variance with that of Gandhiji. He decided to part company with the Gandian thought and never reverted to him. The very fact that Gandhi had withdrawn the National Movement of Non-Cooperation with the British Government in India after the Chauri-Chaura incident in which 21 policemen were killed by the Satyagrahis after they had manhandled the peaceful demonstrators, hurt many men like Ram Prasad and they parted company with Gandhiji for good.
9th August 1925 was a red letter day in the life of our revolutionary hero, Pt Ram Prasad Bismil. The Government Treasury was being transferred to Lucknow by railway train. Bismil and his revolutionary colleagues decided to loot the government money and buy weapons with it to be used by other revolutionaries to overthrow the foreign rule.
At Kakori, short of Lucknow the Daredevils did it successfully. In the melee a passenger was killed by the Mauser pistol bullet fired by a young man accidentally. Now the British government of the day left no stone unturned to apprehend the revolutionary Pt Ram Prasad Bismil and his colleagues. They were eventually hanged to death.
Bismil was imprisoned in the Gorakhpur jail awaiting the day of hanging. On the appointed day, 19th December 1927, melodious sound of singing of a Ved mantra came from the isolation cell where Bismil was kept in solitary confinement. He sang the Ved mantra:
"Aum Vishvanidev Savitur Duritani Parasuv, Yad Bhadram Tann Aasuv."
He walked the gallows cheerfully wearing a smile. At the gallows he put the hanging rope around his neck himself as if it were a garland of flowers. His body was handed over to his parents and hundreds of thousands of compatriots followed the body of the great Martyr who was cremated on the banks of the Rapti river amidst chanting of Ved mantras as prescribed by Rishi Dayanand in his Sanskar Vidhi.
Thus Pt Ram Prasad Bismil sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom of motherland which was attained on 15th August 1947. We bow to the great Arya martyr who inspires many of his compatriots even now, almost a century after his Martyrdom.