Revolutionary nationalists in Bengal began reorganising and expanding their underground activities as well. Many of them continued to work in the Congress organisation at the same time. They were able to gain access to the vast Congress masses as a result of this, while also providing the Congress with an organisational base in small towns and rural areas.
Reason for setback of revolutionary activities:
• Following Das death, the Congress leadership in Bengal was split into two wings,
1. One led by Subhas Chandra Bose
2. Other led by J.M. Sengupta
The Yugantar group allied with the first, while Anushilan allied with the second.
• The attempted assassination of Charles Tegart, the despised Police Commissioner of Calcutta, by Gopinath Saha in January 1924 was one of the reorganised groups' many "actions." Another Englishman named Day was killed as a result of an error. The government used a heavy hand against the people. A new ordinance has resulted in the arrest of a large number of people suspected of being terrorists or their supporters. Subhas Chandra Bose and a slew of other Congressmen were among them.
• Despite widespread public outrage, Saha was hanged. The revolutionary movement suffered a significant setback.
• The constant factional and personal divisions within nationalist groups, particularly when it came to the Yugantar-Anushilan rivalry.
• Younger revolutionaries, on the other hand, quickly organised themselves into new groups, developing fraternal ties with active members of both the Anushilan and Yugantar parties.
Surya Sen: He was a member of the Non-Cooperation Movement who went on to become a teacher in a national school in Chittagong, earning him the nickname Masterda.
• He was arrested and imprisoned for revolutionary activity for two years, from 1926 to 1928, but he continued to work in the Congress.
• He and his group were heavily involved in the work of the Congress in Chittagong. Surya Sen was the Secretary of the Chittagong District Congress Committee in 1929, and five of his associates were members of the committee.
• Surya Sen, a brilliant and inspiring organiser, was a down-to-earth, soft-spoken, and openly sincere individual. He was a man of great personal courage who was also deeply humane in his approach.
• He had a habit of saying: ‘Humanism is a special virtue of a revolutionary.’
• He quickly gathered a large group of revolutionary youth around him, including Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh, and Lokenath Baul. They decided to stage a rebellion, no matter how small, to show that it was possible to challenge the British Empire's armed might in India.
The Chittagong Armoury Raid:
• The occupation of Chittagong's two main armouries and the seizure of their arms, with which a large band of revolutionaries could be formed into an armed detachment
a. The destruction of the city's telephone and telegraph systems
b. The dislocation of the railway communication system between Chittagong and the rest of Bengal were all part of their action plan.
• The action was meticulously planned and carried out at 10 p.m. on the night of April 18, 1930. The Police Armoury was taken over by a group of six revolutionaries led by Ganesh Ghosh, who shouted slogans like Inquilab Zindabad, Down with Imperialism, and Gandhiji's Raj has been established.
• The Auxiliary Force Armoury, along with its Lewis guns and 303 army rifles, was taken over by another group of ten led by Lokenath Paul. Sadly, they were unable to locate the ammunition.
• The revolutionaries' plans were doomed as a result of this setback. The revolutionaries also managed to disrupt telephone and telegraph communications, as well as train travel. The raid, which was carried out in the name of the Indian Republican Army, Chittagong Branch, involved 65 people in total.
• Surya Sen, dressed immaculately in a white khadi dhoti, a long coat, and a stiffly ironed Gandhi cap, took a military salute, hoisted the National Flag amid shouts of Bande Mataram and Inquilab Zindabad, and proclaimed a Provisional Revolutionary Government outside the Police Armoury.
• The band of revolutionaries would not have been able to fight the army that was expected in the town. As a result, they marched out of Chittagong town before dawn, looking for a safe haven in the Chittagong hill ranges. On the afternoon of April 22, several thousand troops surrounded them on the Jalalabad hill.
• Surya Sen decided to disperse into the surrounding villages after a fierce battle in which over eighty British troops and twelve revolutionaries were killed. There, they formed small groups and conducted raids on the government, personnel, and property.
• Despite the authorities' repressive measures and combing operations, the villagers fed and housed the revolutionary outlaws, allowing them to survive for three years. Surya Sen was apprehended on February 16, 1933, tried, and hanged on January 12, 1934. Many of his comrades were apprehended and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
THE IMPACT OF THE CHITTAGONG ARMOURY RAID
The Chittagong Armoury Raid had a huge impact on Bengal's people. It ‘fired the imagination of revolutionary-minded youth,' according to an official publication, and ‘recruits poured into the various nationalist groups in a steady stream.' The year 1930 saw a major resurgence of revolutionary activity, which continued into 1931 and 1932. There were numerous instances of heroism that defied death.
1. Rise in revolutionary activity: Three British magistrates were assassinated in the Midnapore district alone. Two Governors were assassinated, and two Inspectors General of Police were killed. Twenty-two officials and twenty non-officials were killed over the course of the three-year period.
2. Increase in collective action: The Chittagong rebels made significant progress in comparison to the old revolutionary nationalists, including Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Instead of an individual act of heroism or assassination, theirs was a collective action directed at the colonial state's organs. However, the goal remained the same: to set an example for the youth and demoralise the bureaucracy.
3. The large-scale participation of young women: They provided shelter, acted as messengers and custodians of arms, and fought with guns in hand under Surya Sen's leadership.
• Pritilata Waddedar was killed in the course of a raid, while Kalpana Dutt (later Joshi) was arrested and tried alongside Surya Sen, and was sentenced to life in prison.
• Santi Ghosh and Suniti Chowdhury, two Comilla schoolgirls, shot and killed the District Magistrate in December 1931.
• Bina Das fired a point-blank shot at the Governor while receiving her degree at the Convocation in February 1932.
4. Support from Muslim: Many Muslims were among the Chittagong IRA's cadre, including Sattar, Mir Ahmad, Fakir Ahmad Mian, and Tunu Mian, and they received widespread support from Muslim villagers in the Chittagong area. They did not, however, evolve broader socio-economic goals or retain elements of social conservatism. Those revolutionary terrorists who worked for the Swaraj party, in particular, failed to support the Muslim peasantry's fight against the zamindars.
• The official response to the Armoury Raid and the resurgence of revolutionary terrorist activity was panic at first, followed by brutal retaliation.
• The government enacted twenty repressive statutes and unleashed the police on all nationalists.
• It set fire to several villages in Chittagong, imposed punitive fines on many others, and imposed a general state of terror.
• Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for sedition in 1933. He had condemned imperialism, praised the heroism of revolutionary youth (while criticising the terrorism policy as futile and out-of-date) and condemned police repression in a speech in Calcutta.