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Jatindra Nath Das

(1904 -1929) – (West Bengal)

Jatindra Das (Aged 25) was born on 27 October 1904 in a Maulika Kayastha Family in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He joined the Anushilan Samiti, a revolutionary group in Bengal, at a young age, and participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation movement in 1921 when he was just 17.

While studying for a B.A. at Bangabasi College in Calcutta in November 1925, Das was arrested for his political activities and imprisoned at the Mymensingh Central Jail. He went on a hunger strike there to protest the ill-treatment of political prisoners. After fasting for twenty days, the Jail Superintendent apologized, and he gave up the fast.

Das was contacted by revolutionaries in other parts of India and agreed to participate in bomb-making for Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Sachindra Nath Sanyal taught him how to make bombs. On 14 June 1929, he was arrested for revolutionary activities and imprisoned in Lahore jail to be tried under the supplementary Lahore Conspiracy Case. In Lahore jail, Das began a hunger strike along with other revolutionary fighters, demanding equality for Indian political prisoners with those from Europe. The conditions of Indian inhabitants of the jails were deplorable.

Jatindra Das’s hunger strike started on 13 July 1929 and lasted 63 days. The jail authority took measures to forcibly feed him and the other independence activists. Eventually, the jail committee recommended his unconditional release, but the government rejected the suggestion and offered to release him on bail.

Jatindra Das died on 13 September 1929. Durga Bhabhi led the funeral procession, which went from Lahore to Calcutta by train. Thousands of people rushed to the railway stations to pay homage to Das. A two-mile-long procession in Calcutta carried the coffin to the cremation ground. Subhash Chandra Bose received Das’s coffin at Howrah railway station and led the funeral procession to the cremation ground. The hunger strike of Jatin Das in prison was a crucial moment in the resistance against illegal detentions.