1932: Richard Johnson, great-grandfather of Craig Watkins 1469: Richard Woodville, father of the queen

1908: Khudiram Bose, teenage martyr

August 11th, 2012 Headsman

The investigations following upon the recent raids on Anarchist dens here prove the existence of a revolutionary plot on a vast scale and show that there was a systematically organized “college” … where bombs were manufactured and instruction in explosives was given … The prisoners talk freely of their “heroic conduct” and “noble design,” while refusing to impart any informaton incriminating those working behind the scenes and furnishing the funds. They all confess, however, that their minds have been fired by writings in the Press and speeches on platforms.

-London Times

It’s a timeless story, really; with a tweak here or there, the excerpt above could do for reportage on seditious movements by the hundredfold. As it happens, its dateline is May 11, 1908 — Calcutta.

Separatist stirrings on the subcontinent were then manifesting themselves in the explosive revolutionary language of the day, and the chief magistrate of that ancient city of Calcutta — Kingsford by name, as in charcoal — was a character notorious for his harshness toward the movement. The year before, he’d had a 15-year-old flogged for trying to stop a British soldier beating Indian activists.

Among the more militant types excited to wrath against Kingsford was an 18-year-old Bengali who would have the privilege of martyrdom for the cause of national self-determination.

Khudiram Bose sought the judge out in Muzaffarpur and, with another young revolutionary, attempted to assassinate him in April 1908 by tossing a couple of bombs into Kingsford’s carriage.

Minor problem: it was the wrong carriage.

Instead of popping the nefarious judge, the bombs killed the wife and daughter of a barrister.

The other assassin committed suicide when cornered by police, but Bose would meet his end via the judiciary.

Bose played his patriotic martyr’s role to the hilt in the few brief weeks before his hanging, and found himself on the leading edge of a growing movement of anti-British bombers. “People are prepared to do anything for the sake of swarajya [home rule] and they no longer sing the glories of British rule,” one contemporary newspaper (quoted here) put it. “They have no dread of British power. It is simply a question of sheer brute force.” The editor was convicted of seditious libel.

One can now find plentiful Khudiram Bose hagiographies celebrating the youthful freedom fighter … regardless of his target selection.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Assassins,Capital Punishment,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,India,Martyrs,Murder,Occupation and Colonialism,Revolutionaries,Separatists,Terrorists

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