Batukeshwar Dutt was an Indian revolutionary. In the early 1900s, he joined the Indian revolutionary organisation Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). In the Assembly Bombing Case, on 8 April 1929, Batukeshwar Dutt accompanied Bhagat Singh and was involved in throwing bombs in the central assembly (now parliament) to protest against the Trade Disputes Bill and Public Safety Bill. The British government introduced these bills to abolish working-class politics, which involved the activities of Indian socialists and communists.
Batukeshwar Dutt was born on Friday, 18 November 1910 (age 54 years; at the time of death) in Khandaghosh, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day West Bengal, India). His zodiac sign was Scorpio. He received his school education from the Theosophical High School and Prithvinath Chak High School, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Batukeshwar Dutt’s father’s name is Goshtha Bihari Dutt, and his mother’s name is Kamini Devi. He had a sister.
Wife & Children
Batukeshwar Dutt got married to Anjali Dutt in 1937. The couple has a daughter named Bharati Bagachi. She is the only daughter of Batukeshwar Dutt.
During his school days, Batukeshwar Dutt became friends with Surendranath Pandey and Vijay Kumar Sinha, who later participated in various freedom fighting activities together. In his teens, Batukeshwar Dutt saw an Indian child who was being brutally beaten up by a British official on the Mall Road in Kanpur. At that time, Indians were not allowed to roam freely on roads. This incident deeply affected the young Batukeshwar Dutt, and consequently, he decided to participate in the Indian revolutionary movements against the colonial rule in India. Soon, he met Sachindranath Sanyal, the co-founder of the Hindustan Republican Association (HSRA), through Sureshchandra Bhattacharya, who was the editor of Pratap Newspaper at that time. Batukeshwar Dutt joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HSRA) at the same time when Bhagat Singh became its member.
Friendship with Bhagat Singh
The ‘Tarun Sangh’ mission was initiated by HSRA in 1924 amid the Kanpur floods to help the flood victims, and Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh joined the mission voluntarily. During this period, they became good friends. Bhagat Singh used to learn the Bengali language from Batukeshwar Dutt, who also introduced Bhagat to the poetry of Kazi Nazirul Islam. Batukeshwar Dutt writes in one of his writings,
…both of us were assigned duty together. Both of us stood by the side of Ganga in the night, holding Lanterns so that, somebody who went into the stream made an attempt to reach the shore could be saved …”
In 1925, several major leaders and activists of the Hindustan Republican Association were arrested by the British government in the Kakori conspiracy case, and the management of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) got completely disturbed, and many of its members escaped to distant places for some time. Batukeshwar Dutt escaped to Bihar, and then he went to Calcutta. In Calcutta, he participated in various revolutionary activities organised by the Workers and Peasant Party. He used to write Hindi pamphlets and posters for the party. During this time, he got involved with the Howrah branch of Scavengers’ union of Bengal. Later, Bhagat Singh, along with Chandra Shekhar Azad, re-organised the HRA in Kanpur. Soon, Batukeshwar Dutt returned to Kanpur to rejoin HRA. The organisers of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) changed its name to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1927. They included socialism as one of the major goals of the group to uproot colonial rule from India. The armed struggle and retaliation against British rule were the main agendas of HSRA, and it made reading socialist literature a mandatory practice for its members. Long live the motherland, Long live the revolution, and Down with Imperialism were the famous slogans used by these revolutionaries. The British government decided to introduce two controversial bills named the Public Safety Bill and Trade Dispute Bill in India during 1927-28 following which the Indian workers faced various protests and lockdowns. The British decided to consider all the strikes by Indian workers as illegal and a revolt against the British administration through these bills. The situation provoked the HSRA group to retaliate against the bills. The two members of the HSRA, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs at the central assembly (now Parliament) on 8 April 1929, just before the passing of the bills, from the Visitor’s Gallery while reciting the slogans ‘Down with Imperialism and Long Live Revolution’ and scattering the pamphlets of HSRA. Both of them were detained by the British government soon after the incident.
History in picx: 1929:: Indian revolutionaries #BhagatSingh & #BatukeshwarDutt exploded bombs in Central Legislative Assembly, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/GNSfI3loFa
— Prasar Bharati प्रसार भारती (@prasarbharati) September 28, 2016
Batukeshwar Dutt was awarded life imprisonment by the British government for throwing bombs in the Central Assembly. Later, he was shifted to the Andaman Cellular Jail where Batukeshwar Dutt initiated two hunger strikes for the rights of the Indian revolutionary and political prisoners. In the jail, he witnessed the inhuman treatment provided to the Indians by the Britishers following which Batukeshwar Dutt sat on a 114 days strike, which is regarded as one of the longest strikes in the modern political history of India. Batukeshwar Dutt, along with his comrades Shiv Verma, Jaidev Kapoor, and Bejoy Kumar Sinha, started a Marxist study circle titled Communist Consolidation during his detainment period in Andaman jail. Meanwhile, in the jail, he also wrote a number of editions for the magazine ‘The Call.’
Release from the Jail
Batukeshwar Dutt was sent to Hazaribagh jail in Delhi from Andaman jail in 1937. Then, he was shifted to Patna jail from Delhi. On 8 September 1938, he was released from jail as his health conditions deteriorated due to the inhuman torture by the British authorities in the jail. Various noted Indian Congress leaders including Mahatma Gandhi requested the British government for his release. However, he again started participating in freedom fighting activities soon after his health started improving. A revolutionary organisation named ‘Navchetan Sangh’ was started by Indian revolutionaries Shiv Kumar Mishra and Shekhar Nath Ganguly during 1933-34, and a lot of youth from Kanpur and Unnao district started participating in its anti-colonial activities. This group was initiated in Kanpur after taking inspiration from Bhagat Singh and HSRA. ‘Navyuvak Sangh (Youth Association), another group in the same region, which was led by Jogeshchandra Chatterjee and Pt. Parmanand of Jhansi got merged with ‘Navchetan Sangh’ during 1937-38. Later, these groups were associated with the Communist Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party of India. In May 1939, the former HSRA revolutionaries including Sachindranath Sanyal, Manmanthnath Gupt, Ramkishan Khatri, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Bhagwandas Mahor, and Yashpal organised a three-day revolutionary conference in Mukar village of Unnao district. Batukeshwar Dutt was the president and the organiser of this conference. Shiv Kumar Mishra, in his book ‘Kakori se Naxalbari Tak, mentioned that this conference was crucial in Indian history as it joined the communist party and revolutionary groups together. He participated in the Quit Indian Movement in 1942 following which he was arrested by the British on the condition that he would be released only after the independence of India.
Batukeshwar Dutt did not join Indian politics after the independence of India. According to Batukeshwar Dutt, the freedom for which the Indian revolutionaries fought was something different. Manmathnath Gupt, in one of his writings, stated the wordings of Batukeshwar Dutt. Manmathnath wrote,
During our political discussions, he, like other of our comrades, used to say that this is not the freedom (Swarajya) we fought for, we never fought for this, and we wanted something different.”
Reportedly, the Central government did not help Dutt financially after the independence of India, and for his livelihood and hospital expenses, he worked as an agent in a cigarette company for some time. Meanwhile, he also started a transport business, but that did not last long. He was appointed as a member of the legislative council in Bihar, but only for four months.
On 22 November 1964, he was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi after his health deteriorated. At the hospital, the then Prime Minister and the president of India once went to meet him. Dutt remarked when he was on his death bed,
When you think of revolutionaries, you only think of them as men holding guns and completely forget the vision of society they stood for.”
Batukeshwar Dutt was diagnosed with cancer, and he breathed his last on 20 July 1965. On his death bed, he used to say,
I had never imagined that I would be carried like a cripple to the city where I had thrown a bomb and shouted slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.”
- He was also called by the names B. K. Dutta, Battu, and Mohan.
- According to one of the companions of Batukeshwar Dutt, in Andaman jail, he started reading books and articles related to socialism and gradually developed an interest in the same field and became a hard-core socialist. In one of his writings, Manmathnath Gupta stated that Dutt underwent ideological training by thoroughly reading the socialist theories and books. Manmathnath Gupta wrote,
Although [Initially] Dutt was not a studious revolutionary, in the studious environment of Andaman Jail he thoroughly read and engaged with Socialist theory….He had become a hard-core Socialist.”
- Later, the Government of India named a residential locality in Delhi as BK Dutt Colony after his name to honour his sacrifices during India’s struggle for independence. Asaf Ali, the advocate of Batukeshawar Dutt in the central assembly bombing case trials, once, revealed in a media conversation that in his statement Batukeshwar Dutt stated that on 8 April 1929, he did not throw bombs in the central assembly, but he allowed the British police to arrest him as he wanted to be with Bhagat Singh in jail. Asaf Ali said,
Both the revolutionaries were sentenced for transportation for life (convicts were deported from mainland India for the remainder of their lives) in this case for “causing explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, unlawfully and maliciously.”
- The Government of India renamed the Bardhaman Railway Station of West Bengal after Batukeshwar Dutt in July 2019 to honour his struggles for the freedom of India.
- When Batukeshwar Dutt was hospitalised in AIIMS in Delhi in 1965, the mother of Bhagat Singh used to visit him often. Batukeshwar Dutt in his last days wished that after his death, he must be cremated in Hussainiwala in Punjab, where his comrades Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru were cremated in 1931 by the Britishers.
1965 :: Bhagat Singh's Mother Mata Vidyawati With Freedom Fighter Batukeshwar Dutt In Hospital .
Batukeshwar Dutt's Last Wish Was to be Cremated In Hussainiwala, Punjab, Where His Friends Bhagat Singh , Sukhdev and Rajguru Were Cremated #AzaadiKiNishaniyan pic.twitter.com/tXFJbbMXas
— indianhistorypics (@IndiaHistorypic) July 20, 2021
- One of the letters that Bhagat Singh once wrote to the sister of Batukeshwar Dutt was kept as Bhagat Singh’s token of love by Dutt after many years of Bhagat’s death. Bhagat Singh used to inform about the whereabouts of Dutt to his family members when they were involved in anti-colonial activities during India’s struggle for independence.
- Later, the Government of India renovated the ancestral home of Batukeshwar Dutt after many years of independence of India and inaugurated the same as a memorial place. The government of India also established a statue of Batukeshwar Dutt in Patna to recognise his struggles for the freedom of India.