Madanlal Dhingra

London 16 July 1909

                 English newspapers from The Times, Daily News, Daily Chronicle to local village  papers, are full of details about Dhingra.* (* Madanlal Dhingra – He came from Amritsar where his father was Civil Surgeon.  Madanlal had completed his course in Diploma in Civil Engineering from University  College, London. He had a wife and a son. If he wanted to, he could have lived a life of  luxury, but he chose to be a Martyr for India’s freedom struggle. In 1992, Government of  India issued a postage stamp in his honour.) They are full of discussions about Indian  affairs. When the news of death of Wyllie became known, the papers had headlines –  Murder by Dhingra, Hatred of Hindusthan, Daring of a Hindu. Everyone in England had  been discussing nothing but India, even cricket was forgotten, let alone other subjects. 

On the day Dhingra shot dead Sir Curzon Wyllie, he was talking to Miss Beck just half an hour before. She is the secretary of the society mentioned in that day’s news. They  talked about Dhingra’s recent examination. He rose when he saw Sir Curzon Wyllie and  approached him with intention to talk. As soon as they started their discussion he came  closer to say something in the ears of Wyllie and took out his pistol and shot four bullets  in succession. When Indian doctor Lalkaka tried to intervene, Dhingra shot him too.  Three men tried to grab him. Even then he managed to push aside Sir Proben so  forcefully that he was badly bruised. Dhingra refused to shoot any Indians and was  caught by others. He was so calm and quiet that the doctor who examined him and took  his pulse said Dhingra was the calmest in the crowd. In his pocket, police found two  pieces of paper with justification of his deed. When he was taken to police station he  shut his eyes and rested for a while. Afterwards he talked freely. He had a good nights  sleep. Next day morning, he enjoyed his food. At first, Indians were strictly forbidden to  visit Dhingra. After a few days, his friends sought permission to see him. Once this was  granted, his friend found him so brave that he had asked for a dressing mirror. Such  defiant attitude shines in a good cause.

Over the last year, Englishmen had been running some societies to convert Indian  students and make them loyal citizens. They arranged tea parties and had large  gatherings. Dhingra was a member of such a society. He had obtained trust and  confidence of many Anglo-Indians. When such a person killed Sir Curzon Wyllie at a tea  party, many Anglo Indians have declared that they will no longer host such functions.  Even Sir Charles Elliot has publicly declined to hold such a function.  

Government had appointed a committee to keep an eye on Indian students. Members of  that committee have now ceased to function. First they were seeking a conspiracy and  could not find one. So they stopped their enquiries. They withdrew English detectives  who were shadowing Indian students. The reason being that Indian detectives are to be  employed in place of English ones. There was an outcry in the papers that because  English detectives cannot understand the language of Indians they are ineffective. The  problem remains even if English detectives who understand Hindi are employed,  because then Indians talk in Marathi, Bengali or Punjabi. So 

everyone has agreed to employ Indian detectives. But what would they do? When there  is nothing to detect, what will they detect even if they are very clever? The irony  is that many ordinary Indian students were un-necessarily shadowed by the police, but  Dhingra was not followed by them. The British detectives could not save their own boss.  Therefore loyal and peace loving Indians are demanding that the Detective department  must be improved.  

Last week, Dhingra was committed to the sessions. On that day, everyone was  discussing his testimony in Magistrate’s court – Incredible statement of an Indian, he  says that his countrymen will seek revenge after his death. In his defence Dhingra says,  “ I am a patriot. I die for our emancipation.”  His statement has caused more sensation  that the assassination of Sir Curzon Wyllie. I will write about the proceedings in the Court  of Sessions. It is certain that Dhingra will face the death penalty. But that is exactly what  he wants. In his statement, he said,

I made the statement not because I wished to plead for mercy or anything of that kind.  I wish that the English people should sentence me to death for in that case the  vengeance of my countrymen will be all the keener. I put forward this statement to show  the justice of my cause to the outside world, especially to our sympathisers in America  and Germany.

3 Aug 1909

source : Newsletters from London

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *