Mokshadacharan Samadhyayi - The Yugantar Split

The Yugantar Split

On the breakup of the Yugantar, Mokhoda had joined Kartik, and had helped in giving advice and shelter to revolutionaries, as well as in obtaining arms and disposing of stolen property. In spite of several charges, they were unanimously acquitted. Resulting from the Bighati case, there was a fusion with Jogen Tagore’s Bhatpara group, with Naren Bhattacharya, "a notable personage", intimate with Mokhoda. Nixon mentioned seven major outrages between 22 June 1908 and 15 April 1909, committed by this group. At this stage, the Police found the Province divided up as follows:

1) Kolkata : led by Indra Nandi; 2) 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly: Nanigopal Sengupta; 3) Rajshahi, Nadia, Jessore, Hooghly: Jatindra Mukherjee; 4) Natore, Dighapatiya, Amalpur: Satish Sarkar; 5) Mymensingh, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Jamalpur, Cooch Behar: Amaresh Kanjilal; 6) Berhampur, Murshidabad : Suren Chakravarti.

Nanigopal and Jatindra had originally been members of the Kolkata Anushilan Samiti and acted directly under Sri Aurobindo's guidance, maintaining a constant collaboration. After quarrelling with Satish Basu, Nanigopal absorbed most of the members of Mokhoda-cum-Kartik’s dispersed group, since the latter’s arrest. Amaresh and Satish Sarkar worked under Jatindranath Mukherjee. Belonging to Indra’s group (Atmonnati), Bepin Ganguli, Noren Bose and Noren Chatterji, too remained close to Jatindra’s policy. These revolutionaries committed sixteen outrages between March 1908 and October 1909. Denham noted in 1909 on the 'Sarathi Jubak Mandali': "perhaps second only in importance to the Anushilan Samiti for the number of persons included in its ranks who actually took part in crimes of violence".

Their spiritual guide was Tarakshepa alias Tarapado Banerji, a "mysterious Sadhu, who wandered about Bengal, being most frequently heard of in the districts of Birbhum, Nadia or in Kolkata". He was disciple of Bamakhepa of Tarapur in Birbhum, "having possessed hypnotic power"; Nanigopal Sengupta was his disciple. He frequented Jogendranath Tagore, "an undesirable member of the Tagore family": his "influence with the revolutionary party is still considerable"; he was a link "between the parties who work in Bengal proper and the Eastern Bengal and Assam dacoity gangs." Denham knew that Kartik's arrest was rather a shock to the members of this group.

Kartik was acquitted, to be charged again with harbouring four of the revolutionary ‘bandits’, but acquitted by a Howrah jury. He was released on 27 December 1909, after having served a term of Rigorous Imprisonment in connection with the assault committed on Higginbothams as well as with the dacoities at Bajitpur and Bighati : leaders of the Nadia units - Jatindranath Mukherjee and his uncle, the pleader Lalitkumar Chatterjee of Krishnagar-received him with a hero’s ovation, as recorded by the approver Lalit Chakravarti nicknamed Benga.

On 30 March 1910, Benga confessed that even before the Netra outrage, he had spent one day at Nanigopal's, before Suresh Majumdar alias Paran took him to a pleader of the Kolkata High Court. He spent there two or three days. The "Nimai chogra" took him by night train to Krishnagar. Nimai or Nirmalkumar was the son of the Government pleader Basantakumar Chatterjee, Jatindra Mukherjee’s uncle. He left Benga with the pleader Lalit Chatterjee’s mohurrir (clerk), Nibaran Chakravarti alias Karuda : the latter had bedding and food ready for Benga. Bholadanga zamindar’s son Manmatha Biswas was "of our society". After a few days, he returned to Kolkata.

On 24 January 1910, the assassination of Shamsul Alam led the Viceroy Minto to admit the efficient spirit of the new 'Yugantar' under the over-all leadership of Jatindranath Mukherjee: "A spirit hitherto unknown to India has come into existence (...), a spirit of anarchy and lawlessness which seeks to subvert not only British rule but the Governments of Indian Chiefs...". Minto's successor, Lord Hardinge regretted in a letter, in the slippery context of the Howrah Gang Case : "In fact, nothing could be worse, in my opinion, than the condition of Bengal and Eastern Bengal. There is practically no Government in either province, but I am determined to restore order.".

In the meantime, Mokhoda had gone back to Dhaka in February 1910. In March 1910 an attempt was made to assassinate G.C. Denham of the Criminal Investigation Department and a very prominent figure of the Alipore conspiracy (1908–1909). At the same time, a "Strictly Confidential" note (p. 184), added to Denham's report, mentioned that connection was established between Suranath and Amarendra Chatterjee, editor of the Bengali Karmayogin and esteemed associate of Sri Aurobindo and Jatindranath Mukherjee; the mess at 133 Lower Circular Road of Kolkata, served Amarendra and Makhanlal Sen for "seeing and conferring with the notorious Jatindra Mukherjee".

Amarendra's paper was almost a Bengali version of Sri Aurobindo's Karmayogin in English; it had also a Hindi edition published from Benares. It was Amarendra who sent Basanta Biswas to Benares, to assist Rasbehari Bose. "In or about this same year (1910) Gyanananda Swami (Jogeshwar Mukherjee), a great friend of Mokhoda, who was for sometime secretary of the Bharat Dharma Mahamandal ('All India Great Federation of Religion'), the headquarters of which are at Benares, was in correspondence with Amarendra Nath Chatterjee in Bengal.". Finding Bengal too hot to hold him, Jatindra’s associate Kiran Mukherjee visited Mokhoda at Benares in 1911, and stayed with Sarada Maitra of Rangpur. Mokhoda returned to Kolkata, in 1911: in February, the revolutionaries shot dead Srish Chakravarti, the head constable of Kolkata Police, who was a former member of the Yugantar gang, turned informer. According to F.C. Daly:

"It is a singular coincidence, if it is only a coincidence, that this murder took place on the evening of the day on which Jatindranath Mukherjee (…) was set free from the dock at the High Court (…) It is likely that Jatin's release put fresh heart into the people who had been contemplating further outrages but hesitating to act.”

Mokhoda was strongly suspected in this connection. Descendant of Mokhoda’s Bhatpara group, the Baranagar group reunited a series of small samitis (e.g. the 'Jubak Samiti' with its clubs and poor fund) in the north of Kolkata and in Howrah on the other side of the river Hooghly and operated since 1907; they had contacts with Jogen Tagore, Mokhoda and the Ramakrishna Mission.

Again, in December 1911, Mokhoda was seen in Benares and, in the same month, an Inspector of Police was shot dead: the man was "in possession of information regarding a dangerous organiser of political dacoities named Pandit Mokhoda Charan Samadhyaya." E.H. Corbet, Superintendent of Police, noted that Mokhoda:

"was a bosom friend of the police Bengali informer. The matter was referred to Government and I was sent to Benares to interview the Commissioner and Magistrate, with the result that he was arrested (…) A strong and elaborate case under Section 110(f), Criminal Procedure Code.”

Mokhoda was to have a conviction for three years; but it was decided after the Durbar (Coronation ceremony) to drop the proceeding. Mokhada was warned not to come back to Benares again.

Jatindra Mukherjee and Rash Behari Bose, however, visited Benares in May 1912 and associated with Sachin Sanyal, Mokhoda and Suranath. Soon, Sachin became the sole leader there. Vinayak Rao Kaple was one of its members. Sarada Maitra of Rangpur and Satish Mukherjee of Barisal frequently visited Benares; the latter associated with Mokhoda the members of the Sevak Samiti.

During 1913, Jogen Tagore led a series of dacoities; in 1915 he got contact with Bipin Ganguli’s followers including Probhas De and Harish Sikdar, and came to know members of other groups including Atulkrishna Ghosh and Ananta Haldar, (all of them acting under Jatindra Mukherjee). Bipin was sentenced to five years Rigorous Imprisonment on 2 August 1915 in the Agarpara Dacoity Case.

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