There are stories which never become a part of daily folklore. We often hear such stories from grandpas. These stories come back to us only during our darkest hours. These are the stories of heroes who never made it big, who are forgotten with the passage of time. The story of Benoy, Badal and Dinesh is one such story. Benoy Krishna Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta were merely teenagers when they attained martyrdom the in the finest traditions of humankind.
They were a part of Bengal Volunteers, an underground revolutionary group created by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, against the British colonial rule in India. The Bengal Volunteers planned to liquidate infamous British police officers. In 1930, they planned to kill Lowman, the Inspector General of Police who was infamous for assassinating innocent people. On 29th August 1930, Comrade Benoy casually clad in a traditional Bengali attire, breached the security and fired at close range. Lowman died on the spot.
The next target was Col. Simpson, the Inspector General of Prisons, who was infamous for the brutal oppression of the prisoners in jails. The revolutionaries decided to murder him and shake the very roots of British imperialism by launching an attack on the Secretariat Building – the Writers’ Building in Kolkata. On 8th December 1930, the three musketeers, Benoy, Badal and Dinesh, dressed in European costume, entered the Writers’ Building and shot Simpson dead.
In the gunfight that followed, the police outnumbered them. However, they did not wish to be arrested. Badal took potassium cyanide and attained martyrdom on the spot, while Benoy and Dinesh shot themselves with their own revolvers. Dinesh was the only survivor to be hanged on the 7th July 1931. His good fortune, however, was that he could meet Netaji while in jail. Dinesh wrote a number of letters from his prison cell on the heroism of the revolutionaries and his belief in the greatness of self-sacrifice for the cause of proletariat uprising.
More then 80 years have passed since the supreme sacrifice of three teenagers who believed in this land and it’s people. My grandfather tells me these tales with great pride. I wonder how much we have lived up to the dreams of these comrades? These days, when I read newspaper or hear unproductive debates in parliament or on TV, when I see masses suffer and inequality grow, I wish I could tell dadu, how far we as a society have drifted away from where it intended to reach.