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Vishwanath Vaishampayan

(1910 – 1967) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Vishwanath Vaishampayan (Aged 57) was born on November 28, 1910, in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, India. When his father was transferred, he moved to Jhansi and began his studies at Saraswati School. During college, his arts teacher Rudra Narayan introduced Vaishampayan to Shachindranath Bakshi, a revolutionary who had come to Jhansi to recruit for the Hindustan Republic Association (HRA).

Vaishampayan became a sort of bodyguard-cum-secretary to Azad. Azad trained him in marksmanship and taught him how to make bombs. Vaishampayan was assigned to evaluate the possibility of freeing Bhagat Singh from Lahore jail. He visited the jail disguised as a Punjabi gentleman and managed to contact Bhagat Singh, but the latter had no intention of escaping from jail. Nevertheless, Azad and others decided to attack the police convoy and free Bhagat Singh. They rented a half section of a bungalow near Lahore and the team consisted of Azad, Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Vishwanath Vaishampayan, Dhanvantari, Sukhdev Raj, Yashpal, and Durgawati Devi. Chail Bihari, Madan Gopal, and Tahal Ram worked under the guise of house servant, cook, and driver, respectively.

On May 28, 1930, at around 1625 hours, Vohra, Vaishampayan, and Sukhdev Raj proceeded towards the River Ravi on bicycles. They took a boat and headed towards the dense forests by the river bank to test bombs that could be used during Bhagat Singh’s rescue attempt. Vohra unpinned a bomb, but before he could hurl it, it exploded, fatally wounding Vohra, whose hand was blown off and who was almost disemboweled. Sukhdev Raj’s foot was hit by a splinter and he rushed to the bungalow to inform others while Vaishampayan stayed with Vohra. He peeled some oranges for Vohra to sip but the latter died soon, wishing before death that Bhagat Singh should be rescued soon.

Once, when they wanted to travel from Allahabad to Kanpur, Azad and Vaishampayan donned woolen coats instead of shawls. The police started searching people wearing shawls. Azad ordered Vishwanath to escape, but if there was a fight, both of them should fight till the last bullet. Azad hired a porter, and all three simply walked out of the station.

Vaishampayan was tried in multiple cases like the Gwalior Conspiracy and the Delhi Conspiracy Commission. He served imprisonment of varying terms in the jails of Kanpur, Nainital, and Delhi before being released on March 19, 1939. He passed away on October 20, 1967.