Shaheed Smarak: 7 Unsung Heroes of Bihar martyred for upheaving the Flag

When Quit India Movement was launched across the country on 8th August 1942, every Indian protested in their way against the British Raj to quit India. Nationalism was all that mattered more than their lives. Every state has its struggle, a handful of heroes were honoured and remembered, and a plethora was forgotten by time and in present underappreciated. Likewise, in Bihar, in this article, you would read about those unsung heroes whose statue is in front of Patna’s Old Secretariat. The statue of seven men is the icon of freedom struggle from the incident that happened 81 years back to underage boys who had the same anger against the brits as any other grown men, the iconic statue of Patna is called Martyr’s Memorial or generally known as the Shaheed Smarak.

Three days post the Quit India Movement, on 11th August 1942, almost 6,000 students rushed into the former Patna Secretariat. The commotion was also the reaction of Dr Anugarah Narain, who was sentenced for trying to unfurl the national flag in the capital. The unarmed students causing no ruckus to lives or properties had only one intention of unfurling the tricolour.

The command of Military Police was under W G Archer, District Magistrate for the British Government. The forces resisted the students from entering, but their anger pushed them to march into the Secretariat. The only option for Britishers to stop any Indian from revolting was to open fire. Like any other Brit, Archer also ordered open fire. The force intended to kill the flag bearer, and they succeed in doing so but little did they know about nationalism which gives courage to happily sacrifice their lives for the nation, the force kept barging bullets at students one after another and the students kept passing the flag to one after another. Finally, the open fire was seized resulting in the killing of seven students. The seven martyred students were dead for the sole reason of watching the flag unfurling on the Secretariat.

These martyred seven students were identified as:

· Jagatpati Kumar – Bihar National College, Second year, Kharati, Aurangabad

· Ramanand Singh – Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, Class IX, Sahadat Nagar, Patna

· Devipada Choudhry – Miller High English School, Class IX, Silhat, Jamalpur

· Ramgovind Singh – Punpun High English School, Class IX, Dasharatha, Patna

· Umakant Prasad Sinha (Raman Ji) – Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, Class IX, Narendrapur, Saran

· Satish Prasad Jha – Patna Collegiate School, Class X, Khadahara, Bhagalpur

· Rajendra Singh – Patna High English School, Class X, Banwari Chak, Saran

· Devipada Choudhry – Miller High English School, Class IX, Silhat, Jamalpur.

The list above is of students from classes X and IX, who were no more than seventeen, but among them was one man who not only survived the open fire but also hoisted the flag on the Secretariat. He was the oldest among the martyrs, he was a III year student from Patna Collage recognized as Ram Krishna Sinha.

A report published in the Telegraph stated, “He was arrested when he was a student of III year class of Patna College at the secretariat on 11.8.42. Lodged in Bankipore Jail and while escorted to Phulwari camp jail, mobs attacked the escorting party and were let loose. His house and other belongings were attached for a period of another two months. Was again arrested on the 29th November 1942 and kept undertrial up to 30.8.42 and convicted section 225B IPC on 31.9.43 and sentenced to four months. Thus he suffered terribly on account of his participation.”

The bronze statue of seven men holding the flag was cast by Devi Prasad Choudhry in Italy and later moved to Patna. On 15th August 1947, the foundation was laid by the Governor of Bihar, Shri Jairam Das.

Every citizen must at least learn about their local freedom fighter, who sacrificed everything for us so that we breathe in democracy. Those sacrifices can never be appreciated or acknowledged enough irrespective of what one does.