cause, not death

A carriage. Fire.

Scene: Room.

– You are just a boy. Why did you do it?

– Tell me boy. Have the decency to answer me…

– Sir, I don’t think he understands English.

– You translate then. Ask him.

– He says British have been killing Indians for two hundred years.

– My wife and daughter? My little…bengali_revolutionary_khudiram_bose_under_guard

Scene: Gallows

– How old is he Kingsford?

– 18 year and 8 months.

– What were we doing when we were 18?

– Bournemouth, playing cricket mostly.

– Huh.

– How can he smile? Throwing a bomb at a car carrying women…

– He thought it was you.

A procession. Hundreds of man. One dead boy.


“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr”- Napoleon Bonaparte. This prompt reminded me of Khudiram Bose, the 18 year old Bengali revolutionary of British Raj. He and Profullo Chaki tried to assassinate Kingsford, Magistrate of Muzaffarpur. During his previous posting as Chief Magistrate of Calcutta Presidency, Kingsford had become unpopular for passing harsh and cruel sentences on young political workers. He was also noted for inflicting corporal punishments on such workers. But at the time Kingfords carriage was occupied not by him but instead by the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy, a leading pleader of Muzaffarpur Bar.

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7 thoughts on “cause, not death

  1. You raise so many moral questions in this short piece. Can the oppressed be judged by the same standards as the privileged? Should the situation even arise? Is violence, which can always backfire, ever be justified? I’m glad I don’t have to judge.


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