Taraknath Das: Revolutionary Scholar and Indian Independence Leader

Taraknath Das: Champion of Freedom and Internationalist Scholar

Taraknath Das was an extraordinary figure in the Indian independence movement and an internationalist scholar whose life spanned continents and ideologies. Born on June 15, 1884, in Majupara, West Bengal, Das emerged from humble beginnings to become a pioneering immigrant in North America and a distinguished professor at Columbia University.

His journey from a lower-middle-class family to an influential revolutionary and academic is a testament to his unyielding spirit and dedication to the cause of freedom and justice.

Taraknath Das: Early Life and Patriotic Awakening

Born to Kalimohan Das, a clerk at the Central Telegraph Office in Calcutta, Taraknath exhibited remarkable intellectual prowess from an early age. Encouraged by his headmaster, he participated in an essay contest on patriotism at sixteen, catching the attention of Barrister P. Mitter, founder of the Anushilan Samiti.

This marked the beginning of his secret involvement in the Indian independence movement. After excelling in his Entrance Examination in 1901, he pursued higher education at the General Assembly’s Institution (now Scottish Church College) in Calcutta, with unwavering support from his elder sister, Girija.

Genesis of a Mission

Taraknath Das’s revolutionary fervor was further ignited in 1906 when he attended the Sitaram Festival in Jessore with Bagha Jatin, a prominent freedom fighter. This clandestine meeting underscored the importance of acquiring military training and fostering international support for India’s independence.

Das and his compatriots embarked on a mission to gain specific education abroad and create a global climate of sympathy for India’s struggle for freedom.

Life in North America

Disguised as a monk, Tarak Brahmachari, Das left for Madras on a lecture tour, inspiring young revolutionaries across the region. By 1905, Taraknath Das fled to Japan to escape British persecution but soon found himself on the west coast of North America, arriving in Seattle in 1907.

Working initially as a farm laborer, Taraknath Das later secured a position at the University of California, Berkeley, and became involved in the Department of Immigration in Vancouver.

Here, Das founded the Indian Independence League with Pandurang Khankhoje and launched the journal Free Hindustan. His efforts extended to establishing the Hindustani Association in Vancouver and founding the Swadesh Sevak Home, a boarding school for the children of Asian Indian immigrants.

Taraknath Das’s activism was relentless, advocating for the rights and welfare of Indian immigrants while promoting the cause of Indian independence.

Founding the Ghadar Party

Taraknath Das’s tireless efforts culminated in the establishment of the Ghadar Party in 1913, a significant milestone in the Indian independence movement.

Collaborating with Lala Har Dayal, Ras Bihari Bose, and others, the Ghadar Party aimed to overthrow British rule in India through armed revolution. The party’s publication, Ghadar, became a powerful voice against colonial oppression, inspiring countless Indians to join the struggle for freedom.

Also Read:Akhay Kumar Mozumdar: The Journey of an Indian American Spiritual Leader

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