Prem Krishna Khanna

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Prem Krishna Khanna
Born (1894-01-02)2 January 1894
Lahore, British India
Died 3 August 1993(1993-08-03) (aged 99)
Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Freedom fighter
Organization Hindustan Republican Association
Movement Indian Independence Movement

Prem Krishna Khanna (2 January 1894[1] - 3 August 1993) was an active member of Hindustan Republican Association from Shahjahanpur U.P. Khanna was a contractor[2] in Indian Railways. He was a close associate of noted revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil.[3]

He had a license of Mauser pistol in his name which was occasionally used by Bismil for his revolutionary actions. He was arrested in Kakori conspiracy case against British Empire, and was prosecuted[4][5] for 5 year's rigorous imprisonment[2] for giving his Arm-Licence to Bismil who purchased 150 cartridges[6] on his behalf which was a criminal offense. He was released from jail in 1932. Later he did not marry and worked for Indian Independence.

He was elected as Member of Parliament from Shahjahanpur (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1962 and 1967.

He died on 3 August 1993[1] in the district hospital of Shahjahanpur.


Prem Krishna Khanna was born to Raibahadur[7] Ram Krishna Khanna on 2 February 1894 in Lahore[1] now in Pakistan. His grandfather Dr. Har Narayan Khanna was a Civil Surgeon in Western Punjab of British India in those days and the father a Chief Divisional Engineer in the then British Indian Railways whose headquarters was in Shahjahanpur, a historic city of the then United Province of Agra and Audh now Uttar Pradesh. When the child was born his father Ram Krishna Khanna was posted in Lahore and looking after the extension of railways in the state of Punjab, Pakistan. Ram Krishna Khanna was honored with the crown of Raibahadur by the British Government for his honesty in the work and diligent discharge of his duty.

Work as a contractor[edit]

As the child grew up instead of reading his course books, he started reading the books of seditious nature pertaining to the history of different revolutions. Since his father Raibahadur Khanna had good relations with the British Authorities, he could manage to get contractorship in Indian Railways construction for Prem Krishna.

Mauser pistol[edit]

Khanna's father was a rich person[8] and he was the only child in the family. His father built a grand Kothi in Shahjahanpur (U.P.) he started living there and looking after the contracting work of the railways. Since the job work had the life risk from decoits and thieves, he got an arms license for his personal safety. In those days the Mauser pistol was considered a good weapon, Prem Krishna purchased and kept it for his self-protection.

Contact with Ram Prasad Bismil[edit]

Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, who was always in search of fire arms and ammunition, he contacted Khanna for his support. Since there was no risk as he could purchase 50 cartridges at a time he gave the license to Bismil to purchase the ammunition on his behalf. Thus a close relationship developed between them. Khanna and Bismil occasionally visited the engineers' colony for their help and most of the engineers helped them.[3]

Delhi, Ahmedabad and Gaya Congress[edit]

In 1918 Khanna participated in the Delhi Congress as a volunteer of "Shahjahanpur Seva Samiti". Bismil was his group leader. Khanna along with other volunteers were selling a book "Amrika Kaise Swadhin Hua?" (en. How America became independent?) outside the Congress Camp. The police raided the camp but the unsold books were displaced from the camp by Bismil immediately and nobody was arrested.

Likewise Khanna also participated in 1921 Ahmedabad Congress where the proposal of "Poorn Swaraj" was placed before the delegates. When Maulana Hasrat Mohani spoke in favour of this proposal and Mohandas K. Gandhi opposed it, Khanna, Ashfaq and Bismil stood up in favour of Mohani and the audience became totally against Gandhi; the proposal was accepted and Non Cooperation Movement was announced to be moved throughout country in the leadership of Gandhi.

When Gandhi withdrew the movement after Chauri Chaura incident, Khanna started agitation against him along with Ram Prasad Bismil and others. He also went to Gaya with his team of young volunteers and condemned the decision of Gandhi in the Congress. When Subhas Chandra Bose and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru supported their stand Gandhi wrote very strong letter to Nehru not to support these miscreant elements in the Indian National Congress.

Switch to HRA[edit]

Although Khanna was a dedicated volunteer of Congress yet he accompanied Bismil in the formation of a revolutionary party with tooth and nail from Shahjahanpur itself. Khanna, Bismil Ashfaq and Roshan from the his city, Seth Damodar Swaroop from Bareilly, Manmath Nath Gupta, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Chandra Shekhar Azad from Benaras joined together and a revolutionary party was declared which was named as Hindustan Republican Association later. Khanna was a main figure for providing arms and ammunition to this new party.

Role in Kakori Conspiracy[edit]

After Kakori train robbery when the house of Khanna was searched by Police Sub Inspector Fasahat Husain,[9] a licensee Mauser Pistol and few cartridges were found in search; the police captured them along with his arm licence. The approver Banarasi Lal gave the clue to C.I.D. Inspector Mr Horten who enquired the sales register of M/s Vishwas and Co an arms dealer of Cownpore and found that a total of 150 cartridges were purchased in between 14 February 1924 to 5 January 1925 on his licence. In one entry of 7 August 1924 the forged signs of P.K. Khanna were done by R.P. Bismil, which was proved by the forensic examination of the handwriting.

In order to save Khanna from the severe punishment Bismil changed his statement[10] and affirmed in the court that the weapon and license was got through stealing by the servant of Khanna. Khanna was procecuted 5 years rigorous imprisonment in the Kakori Conspiracy Case.

Helping Congress[edit]

Police tried to use Khanna as a witness against Bismil but he denied and accepted the punishment. In spite of the resistance of his father, Khanna helped the Congress in further agitations after getting released from the jail because it was the order of his leader Ram Prasad Bismil.

He remained with the Congress and was elected M.P. on the party ticket and tried to bring the party on the lines of revolutionaries[11] unto death.

Projects in Shahjahanpur[edit]

With the inspiration and advice of his close associate Ram Prasad Bismil, Khanna devoted his whole life to the service of people and established half a dozen projects in the rural sector of his home district Shahjahanpur[12] viz;

  1. Kakori Shaheed Inter College, Jalalabad, Distt Shahjahanpur,
  2. Kakori Shaheed Higher Secondary School, Miranpur Katra, Distt Shahjahanpur,
  3. Kakori Shaheed Higher Secondary School, Khutar, Distt Shahjahanpur,
  4. Kakori Shaheed Krishi Prashikshan Farm, Village Chhivkuti, Distt Shahjahanpur,
  5. Kakori Shaheed Krishi Prashikshan Farm, Village Mahmoodpur Shaijania, Distt Shahjahanpur,
  6. Kakori Shaheed Krishi Prashikshan Farm, Village Marauri, Distt Shahjahanpur,

After Khanna's death the name of Kakori Shaheed Inter College, Jalalabad was changed to "Prem Kishan Khanna Government College".[13] Kakori Shaheed Higher Secondary School Miranpur Katra is now known as "Kakori Shaheed Inter College".[14] It is known as the best Higher Secondary School of the area founded by Khanna.

His other projects[edit]

Khanna had a lot of ancestral property and died as a bachelor. He established "Shahid-E-Azam Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil Memorial Trust" and donated his whole property through a registered will. He had two other dream projects;

  1. "Shahid-E-Azam Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil Memorial" and
  2. "Kakori Shahid Degree College" in Shahjahanpur.

Kakori is the place where ten revolutionaries stopped a train and looted the British government's treasury which was being taken in the guard's cabin. A memorial of these revolutionaries has been established in this town.

The ancestral house[15] of Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil in Khirni Bag Mohalla of Shahjahanpur is in the hands of a person who is still residing there, but neither India's central government nor U.P.'s state government tried to declare it a National Archival Property.

After the death of Khanna a government degree college has been established in his name in Shahjahanpur. This "Prem Kishan Khanna Government Degree College" is affiliated to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University, Bareilly. The college misson is to develop the outstanding managerial talent capable of providing enlightened and effective leadership. The college offers Bachelor of Arts Degree Course.

Lived for the welfare of freedom fighters[edit]

Khanna did a lot of work for the welfare of freedom fighters while living in the Congress. He was elected as M.L.A. consecutively two times and thereafter as M.P. also for two terms. He remained president of Uttar Pradesh Swatantrata Senani Sangathan and Uttar Pradesh Swatantrata Senani Kalyan Parishad.

Khanna died on 3 August 1993 in the District Hospital Shahjahanpur just 6 months before his 100th birthday[12]


  1. ^ a b c Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas (Volume-1) page 227
  2. ^ a b Kakori Shaheed Smriti page 89
  3. ^ a b Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna (Volume-1) page 7
  4. ^ Gupta Manmathnath Bhartiya Krantikari Andolan Ka Itihas page 213
  5. ^ Vidyarnav Sharma Yug Ke Devta: Bismil Aur Ashfaq page 118
  6. ^ Dr. Mehrotra N.C. Swatantrata Andolan Mein Shahjahanpur Ka Yogdan page 133
  7. ^ Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna (Volume-1) page 7
  8. ^ Hindu Panch-Balidan Ank page 179
  9. ^ Swatantrata Andolan Mein Shahjahanpur Ka Yogdan Page 132
  10. ^ Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas (Volume II) Page 227
  11. ^ Kakori Shaheed Smriti Page 89
  12. ^ a b Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas (Volume II) Page 227
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Vidyarnav Sharma Yug Ke Devta: Bismil Aur Ashfaq page 54
  • Pandey Kamla Dutt Hindu Panch-Balidan Ank (Hindi) 1930 Reprinted in 1996 by National Book Trust, India New Delhi 110016.
  • Dr. Mahaur Bhagwandas Kakori Shaheed Smriti 1978 Lucknow Kakori Shaheed Ardhshatabdi Samaroh Samiti.
  • Vidyarnav Sharma Yug Ke Devta: Bismil Aur Ashfaq, Delhi, Praveen Prakashan, 2004, ISBN 81-7783-078-3.
  • Gupta Manmath Nath Bhartiya Krantikari Andolan Ka Itihas Delhi Atmaram And Sons 1993 ISBN 81-7043-054-2.
  • Dr. Mehrotra N.C. Swatantrata Andolan Mein Shahjahanpur Ka Yogdan 1995 Shahjahanpur Shaheed-E-Azam Pt.Ram Prasad Bismil Trust.