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Virendranath Chattopadhyaya

(1880 – 1937) – (Telangana)

Virendranath Chattopadhyaya (Aged 58) affectionately called “Chatto,” was born on 31 October 1880 in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. His father’s name was Aghorenath Chattopadhyaya. He was the brother of Sarojini Naidu and the famous actor-poet Harindranath Chattopadhyay. He was a prominent Indian revolutionary who aimed to overthrow the British Raj in India using armed force. He created alliances with the Germans during World War I and was part of the Berlin Committee, which organized Indian students in Europe against the British and explored actions by the Japanese at the time.

He went abroad for higher education and met Shyamji Krishna Verma and Bhikaji Cama. He soon became a revolutionary and became part of the Ghadar party activities. He went to Germany, where he met and lived with writer-activist Agnes Smedley for many years. Along with Smedley, he went to Moscow in 1920 to develop support by the Communists for the Indian movement, including among Asians in Moscow who were working on revolutionary movements. He joined the German Communist Party (KPD). Virendranath accompanied Jawaharlal Nehru in 1927 to the Brussels conference of the League against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression.

He wrote extensively for the communist journal Imprecor. He succeeded in putting revolutionary ideals before the people and instilling revolutionary fervor in the minds of Indian youth abroad. He lived in Moscow for several years in the 1930s. He was chased by the British authorities and remained in exile all his life. Chatto was arrested in July 1937 in the Great Purge and was executed on 2 September 1937 in the Soviet Union.