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Hemchandra Kanungo Das (1871-1951) was one of the pioneer leaders of the secret revolutionary organization, and a principal co-accused with Aurobindo Ghosh in the Alipore Bomb Case (1908–09). He was sentenced to transportation for life in the Andamans, but was released in 1921.
He was probably the first revolutionary from India who went abroad to obtain military and political training. He obtained training from the Russian emigre in Paris. He returned to India in January 1908. He opened a secret bomb factory "Anusilonee Somitee" at Maniktala near Kolkata, founder members of which were Hemchandra Kanungo, Aurobindo Ghosh (Sri Aurobindo) and his brother, Barindra Kumar Ghosh.
Hemachandra decided that what was needed was technical know-how, and he went to Europe to get it. To get money for the trip he sold his house in Calcutta. Arriving in Marseille toward the end of 1906, he spent a few months trying to get in contact with revolutionaries, or people who knew revolutionaries, in Switzerland, France, and England. Finally he found a backer to support him while he studied chemistry in Paris. Someone introduced Joseph Albert, known as Libertad, to Hem and his friend Pandurang Bapat in July 1907. With the help of a female anarchist, apparently Emma Goldman, they were admitted to a party headed by a mysterious Russian known as Ph.D. During the latter part of 1907, the two Indians studied history, geography, economics, socialism, communism, and finally, the subjects they had come to learn: explosive chemistry and revolutionary organization. Hemchandra Das returned from Europe with a trunk full of up-to-date technical literature, the most important item of which was a seventy-page manual on bomb-making, translated from the Russian. Hem had not intended to join forces with Barin, but after a talk with Sri Aurobindo, agreed to cooperate.
A suicide squad of two members was sent to kill Kingsford (British Officer) at Mujjaffarpur, after bombing at wrong target, Shaheed Prafulla Chaki committed suicide before the British Indian Police detain him alive but Shaheed Kshudiram Bose failed to commit suicide in time and the Police arrested him. As a result of this incident, the covert bomb factory established by Hemchandra Kanungo was raided by the British Police and shut down. Almost all of the members were arrested in a short period of time.
Hemchandra Kanungo had turned atheist during his stay abroad. He returned with Marxian inclination. He believed that the religious symbols, which were being used by revolutionary groups in Bengal during the first decade of the twentieth century, had kept the Muslim participants aloof from the revolutionary activities of the Indian freedom struggle.
- Sarkar, Sumit, Modern India 1885-1947, Macmillan, Madras, 1983, SBN 033390 425 7, pp. 123
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