Madan Lal Dhingra: A Forgotten Martyr

Madan Lal Dhingra was perhaps the first Indian freedom fighter to be executed on British soil. He died in London on Aug 17, 1909. It is strange that no one in the Indian government has paid any attention to the need to commemorate the event.

Dhingra was born Feb 18, 1883 in Amritsar into a very rich family. His father, Ditta Mal, retired as a government civil surgeon and had 21 houses in Katra Sher Singh and six bungalows on G.T. Road. Ditta Mal shifted from his village Sahiwal in Sargodha district, now in Pakistan, in 1850 and he held 10 bigha land and a haveli in his ancestral village. He held the title of Rai Saheb, given by the British government.

Dhingra's father also had six buggies and his car ran on Amritsar's roads, the first Indian to have this privilege in the city. He had seven sons and a daughter. Three of his sons were trained medical doctors and three were barristers-bar at law. One of his brothers, Bihari Lal Dhingra, was a notorious prime minister of Jind state.

It was into such a family that the rebellious son was born. He did physical labor while studying science in Lahore, where he got influenced by the "Pagdi Sambhal Jatta" movement of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh, uncle of Bhagat Singh. He later went to England for higher studies, reaching London after two months by ship.

Dhingra took admission in an engineering course but quickly became involved in India's freedom struggle. He was influenced by Shyamji Krishan Verma and Veer Savarkar.  

Veer Savarkar, who was on a scholarship established by Shyamji Krishan Verma, also reached England in 1906, the same year as Dhingra. Both were of the same age group, but Savarkar was inclined to Hindutva ideology. Shyamji Krishan Verma was more liberal and rational in his views, but he had to leave for Paris as the British government harassed him a lot.

Dhingra was now under the spell of Savarkar and it was he who inspired him to shoot Curzon Wyle, who was notorious for using Indians to serve as spies in England. The pistol for this purpose was provided by Savarkar to Dhingra, who shot Wyle dead in June 1909.

After a trial lasting one-and-a-half months, Dhingra was executed Aug 17, 1909 at the age of 26 years.

Madan Lal Dhingra assassinated Sir Curzan Wyllie, political Aide-de-Camp to the Secretary of State for India, Lord Morley in London in 1909. He was hanged at Pentonville Prison, London, on 17 August, 1909. Before going to the gallows on that day, Madan Lal Dhingra, spoke the following inspiring words: 'I believe that a nation held down by foreign bayonets is in a perpetual state of war. Since open battle is rendered impossible to a disarmed race, I attacked by surprise. Since guns were denied to me I drew forth my pistol and fired. Poor in health and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the mother but his own blood. And so I have sacrificed the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause till the cause is successful. Hail Bande Matram! Hail Bande Matram !'

Bhagat Singh wrote about Dhingra in his sketches about revolutionary freedom fighters. It is the duty of the nation at both the government and people's level to commemorate the event in a befitting manner.

Thirty-one years after Dhingra died, another Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, followed his path in England. He too was executed July 31, 1940, under almost similar circumstances. 

By arrangement with IANS


More by :  Prof. Chaman Lal

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Views: 3880      Comments: 6

Comment Madan la dhingra bahut brave freedom fighter the

Ashutosh Kumar Singh
07-Feb-2019 09:25 AM

Comment saheed madan lal ji dhingra ki saheedi ko shat shat naman. zamindara party sri ganganagar ki taraph se maden l al dhingra ji ki sahadet ka parchar kiya jayega

gurbal pal singh sandhu
02-Jul-2013 14:42 PM

Comment 23rd of may 2013. Ko maine ye article parha hai.....aur mujhe aaj bohut afsos hai es baat ka ki hum Sw. M.L.Dingra ji ke bare me kuch nahi jaante..desh ko chaiye ki inka b naam use tarah mashoor ho...jaise hamare baki krantikariyo ka hai..enke naam k b article chapne chaiye inke b filmein banani chaiye...taki hum aur ane wali gen. Enke bare me jaan sake....aur inka naam b bharat k itihaas me sunhere aksharo me likha jae.....mera aap ko shat shat pranaam hai.....jai hind....jai bharat.....

23-May-2013 10:54 AM

Comment Excellent read. Thanks to the author and to Boloji for carrying such wonderful articles.

Pankaj Kumar
02-Oct-2012 22:23 PM

Comment Saheed-e- Aazam Madan lal dhingra Amritsar boy ko bhagat singh uadam singh or freedom fighter ke tarh saman nahi milla why kam log Madan lal dhingra ke bara ma janta ha why birth day or saheedi din ko koi leader Amritsar nahi atta koi pro gram nahi hotta .iss saheed kebara ma Amritsar punjab India program hona chahia ( punjab goverment kahti ha jo kom saheedo ko zad rakthi ha wo agga barti ha saheed Madan lal dhingra kass kom sa ha ) peace respect Madanlal dhingra sahdat Jai hind

vikas gupta
24-Sep-2011 04:14 AM

Comment Accidently I read this article regarding Saheed-e- Aazam Madan Lal Dhingra today on 17-Aug-2011.Its a mere coincidence that on this day in the year 1909 he achieved Martyrdom.I am writing this article to pay homage to this great son of our soil.From my point of view people like Kudiram Bose, Madan lal Dhingra , Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil , Ashfaq Ulla Khan , Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and others like them should be considered for being called as the Father of the Nation rather than any other person to infuse patriotism, honesty, loyalty towards justice and bravery.This can truely help to eliminate the cowardness infused in us by prior and post independence political leaders and parties

Desh Bakht Chatterjee
17-Aug-2011 06:24 AM

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