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