Tuesday July 16, 2019
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Revolution and freedom: Some lesser known organizations that helped build independent India

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By Ridham Gambhir

With local markets putting tricolour banners and little boys selling paper flags on roads, one knows that Independence Day is around the corner. Or to talk of the contemporary times, different e-commerce websites giving their “freedom sale” advertisements in the newspaper.

The paraphernalia associated with this day reminds us of the freedom and fraternity that India gained after a long series of rebellions. While Mahatma Gandhi is the first name to pop in our heads when we think of this day, there are a lot more people whose contribution gave us Independence.

Congress, All-India Muslim League are some prominent names that we all associate with our independence struggle, but the list of revolutionary parties neither starts with these two nor ends with them. Here is a brief enumeration of some lesser known revolutionary parties and youth wings.

Jugantar or Yugantar  and Anushilan Samiti were two major clandestine parties in Bengal that propounded the ideology of revolutionary violence to oust the British Rule from India. Jugantar was established by Aurobindo Ghosh and Barin Ghosh. Bagha Jatin was a notable leader of this organization. Few senior members of the group were sent abroad for political and military training and on their return had set up a bomb factory in Calcutta. After World War I, Jugantar supported Mahatma Gandhi in the Non-Cooperation Movement.

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On the other hand, Anushilan Samiti was founded by Pramathanath Mitra. Jugantar was formed from an inner circle of Anushilan Samiti.

Ghadar Party, an organization based in US and Canada, was formed by Punjabi Indians. This organization sitting miles away from the country, facilitated the revolutionary movement by providing them arms and ammunitions. The party was built around the weekly paper The Ghadar, with its subtitle being- Angrezi Raj Ka  Dushman (an enemy of the British rule).

Furthermore, the HSRA ( Hindustan Socialist Republican Association) was established in 1924 in UP by 72_gai_orevolutionaries like Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chatterjee, Chandrashekhar Azad, Yogendra Shukla and Sachindranath Sanyal. Since the organization needed money for its operations and ammunitions, they plundered a train. That incident is popularly known as Kakori Train robbery. The robbery led to the hanging of a few notable men of the party. Later, the party was joined by Bhagat Singh, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and Sukhdev and came to be known as HSRA, while earlier they were HRA (Hindustan Republic Association).

The independence that we relish was a work of these fighters. It was not Mahatma Gandhi alone who brought the change or Nehru, it was a combined effort of all these parties that resulted into our Independence.

Happy Independence Day.

 

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India Aborts Launch of Spacecraft Intended to Land on Far Side of Moon

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher

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India, Spacecraft, Moon
A spectator holds an Indian flag after a mission of Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-2, with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle on board was called back because of a technical snag in Sriharikota, India, July 15, 2019. VOA

India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher, Indian Space Research Organization spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said.

The countdown abruptly stopped at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said that the agency would announce a revised launch date soon.

Chandrayaan, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing on the lunar south pole and to send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
FILE – Indian space scientist and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Kailasavadivoo Sivan speaks during a press conference at the ISRO headquarters Antariksh Bhavan, in Bangalore, June 12, 2019. VOA

With nuclear-armed India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology. If India did manage the soft landing, it would be only the fourth to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.

Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said at a news conference last week that the estimated $140 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s “most prestigious” to date, in part because of the technical complexities of soft landing on the lunar surface, an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes.”

After countdown commenced Sunday, Sivan visited two Hindu shrines to pray for the mission’s success.

Criticized program pays off

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Practically since its inception in 1962, India’s space program has been criticized as inappropriate for an overpopulated, developing nation.

But decades of space research have allowed India to develop satellite communications and remote sensing technologies that are helping solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this month, the world’s biggest space agencies are returning their gaze to the moon, seen as ideal testing grounds for technologies required for deep space exploration, and, with the confirmed discovery of water, as a possible pit stop along the way.

“The moon is sort of our backyard for training to go to Mars,” said Adam Steltzner, NASA’s chief engineer responsible for its 2020 mission to Mars.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff. Pixabay

Seeking water on the moon

Because of repeated delays, India missed the chance to achieve the first soft landing near the lunar south pole. China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed a lander and rover there last January.

India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. The Indian Space Research Organization wants its new mission’s rover to further probe the far side of the moon, where scientists believe a basin contains water-ice that could help humans do more than plant flags on future manned missions.

The U.S. is working to send a manned spacecraft to the moon’s south pole by 2024.

Also Read- Around 53% People Interested in Travelling to Space: Survey

Modi has set a deadline of 2022 for India’s first manned spaceflight. (VOA)