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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Madan Lal Dhingra



Madan Lal Dhingra


Name : Madan Lal Dhingra
Date of birth : 1887
Date of Death : August 17, 1909
Place of birth : Punjab
Father : Sahib Ditta Mal

Madan Lal was born in 1887 in a prosperous family of Punjab. His father, Sahib Ditta Mal, was a Civil Surgeon at the Civil Hospital in Gurdaspur and Hissar. On retirement, he settled at Amritsar where he held a huge property. A friend of the Britishers, he was given the title of 'Rai Sahib'. In 1906, Madan Lal was sent to England to join the University College, London, to study Mechanical Engineering.

Dhingra came into contact with noted Indian political activists Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Shyamji Krishnavarma, who were impressed by Dhingra's perseverance and intense patriotism, and turned his focus to the freedom struggle. Savarkar believed in revolution by any means, and supposedly gave Dhingra arms training, apart from membership in a secretive society, the Abhinav Bharat Mandal. He was also a member of India House, the base for Indian student political activity.

During this period, Savarkar, Dhingra and other student activists were enraged by the execution of freedom fighters such as Khudiram Bose, Kannai Dutt, Satinder Pal and Kanshi Ram in India. It is this event that is attributed by many historians as having led Savarkar and Dhingra scheme of exacting direct revenge upon the British.

On the evening of July 1, 1909, a large number of Indians and Englishmen had gathered to attend the annual day function of the Indian National Association. When Sir Curzon Wyllie, political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India, entered the hall with his wife, Dhingra fired five shots right at his face, four of which hit their target. Cowasji Lalkaka, a Parsee doctor who tried to save Sir Curzon, died of Madan Lal's sixth and seventh bullets, which the latter fired because Lalkaka caught hold of him. Failing to commit suicide by turning his pistol on himself, Dhingra was arrested after a brief struggle.

Dhingra was tried in the Old Bailey Court on July 23. He stated that he did not intend to kill Cowasji Lalkaka. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to death. After the judge announced his verdict, Dhingra is said to have stated, "I am proud to have the honour of laying down my life for my country. But remember we shall have our time in the days to come." Contemporary press reports record a somewhat different version. Dhingra was hanged on August 17, 1909


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