Sukhdev the revolutionary freedom fighter was born on 15th May 1907. He was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru. He was born to Ramlal and Ralli Devi Thapar in Ludhiana, Punjab. He was raised by his uncle as he lost his father at an early age. His uncle’s arrest led him to the revolutionary activities for freedom from colonial rule.
He showed a defiant spirit from an early age itself. When he was in school, he refused to salute the British officers. In college, he studied the various revolutions of the world. Particularly, the Russian Revolution. In 1926, he joined the Naujawan Bharat Seva, which had been started by Bhagat Singh and both became close friends and associates. He was also an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. The HSRA was involved in revolutionary activities against British Govt. He participated in many activities to promote national consciousness among the young people in Punjab. In 1928 anti-Simon Commission, Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally beaten by lathi by a British police officer. His name was James A Scott. Lajpat Rai succumbed to the injuries. The young revolutionaries including Sukhdev decided to avenge his death. Sukhdev chose Bhagat Singh to assassinate Scott. However, on 17th December 1928 Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Rajguru killed ASP, John P. Saunders. He was killed in a case of mistaken identity. But they still declared that Lala Lajpat Rai’s death had been avenged. The three fled from Lahore to Lucknow. Rajguru went to Banaras from Lucknow and returned to Lahore few days later. The British Govt captured all the people. Those who were involved in the assassination. The trio were sentenced to death by hanging in the trial that ensued. In 1928, he and his friends went on a prison hunger strike demanding improved conditions for political prisoners. He also wrote a letter to Gandhi while in prison. Despite the tremendous pressure on Govt to pardon them, they were executed by hanging on 23rd March 1931.Their bodies were secretly cremated on the banks of Sutlej river. In academic historiography & popular public imagination, Sukhdev remains a less-discussed figure. Wonder why! Perhaps, it’s because of the fact that other martyrs such as Bhagat Singh loom large over the imagination of revolutionary freedom movements, chiefly because of their heroic acts! Sukhdev is remembered for his daring attacks in the Lahore Conspiracy Case. It shook the very foundation of the British Government. He has left behind very few writings. There are only five documents written by him. As a political thinker and strategist, Sukhdev’s chief concern was building a robust revolutionary organisation. Shiv Verma notes in his memoir: “In reality, Bhagat Singh was political mentor of Punjab party ;Sukhdev was the organiser – one who built its edifice brick by brick..”.
He’ll always be remembered for his patriotism & courage. His story will continue to inspire future generations.
(As Published by @VandanaJayrajan)