Ashfaqulla Khan

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Ashfaqulla Khan (22 October 1900 – 19 December 1927) was one of the first freedom fighter in the Indian independence movement.

Ashfaqulla Khan
Ashfaq Ulla Khan (2).JPG
Born(1900-10-22)22 October 1900
Died19 December 1927(1927-12-19) (aged 27)
Other namesAshfaq Ulla Khan.
OrganizationHindustan Socialist Republican Association
Known forIndian freedom fighter

Early lifeEdit

Ashfaqulla Khan was born in Shahjahanpur, North-Western Province, British India to Shafiqullah Khan and Mazharunissa. He was the youngest among his six siblings.[1][2]

In 1920, Mahatma Gandhi launched his Non-cooperation movement against the British rule in India. But after the Chauri Chaura incident in 1922, Mahatma Gandhi decided to withdraw the call for this movement. At that point, many young people including Ashfaqulla Khan felt depressed. Some of them including Ashfaqulla Khan became extremists and turned to organisations like Hindustan Socialist Republican Association which was founded in 1924. This association's purpose was to organize armed revolutions to achieve a free India.[3][2]

Kakori train robberyEdit

To give a boost to their movement and buy arms and ammunition to carry out their activities, the revolutionaries of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association organised a meeting on 8 August 1925 in Shahjahanpur. After a lot of deliberations, it was decided to loot the government treasury carried in the trains. On 9 August 1925, Ashfaqulla Khan and other revolutionaries, namely Ram Prasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri, Thakur Roshan Singh, Sachindra Bakshi, Chandrashekar Azad, Keshab Chakravarty, Banwari Lal, Mukundi Lal, Manmathnath Gupta looted the train carrying British government money in Kakori near Lucknow.[1]

A month passed after the train robbery, and yet none of the train robbers were arrested. Although the British government had spread a large investigative net.[1] On the morning of 26 September 1925, Bismil was caught by the police and Ashfaqulla Khan was the only one untraced by the police. He went into hiding and moved to Banaras from Bihar, where he worked in an engineering company for 10 months. He wanted to move abroad to learn engineering to further help the freedom struggle and so he went to Delhi to find out ways to move out of the country. He took the help of one of his Pathan friends who also was his classmate in the past. This friend, in turn, betrayed him by informing the police about his whereabouts.[3][1]

Ashfaqullah Khan was detained in the Faizabad jail and a case was filed against him. His brother Riyasatullah Khan was his legal counsel. While in jail, Ashfaqulla Khan recited the Quran and started saying his prayers regularly and during the Islamic month of Ramadan strictly fasted. The case for the Kakori dacoity was concluded by awarding death sentence to Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Thankur Roshan Singh. The others were given life sentences.[1][4]

Death and legacyEdit

Ashfaqulla Khan was put to death by hanging on 19 December 1927 at Faizabad jail.[3] This revolutionary man became a martyr and a legend among his people due to his love for the motherland, his clear thinking, unshakeable courage, firmness and loyalty.[1][5][2]

Popular media portrayalEdit

The actions of Ashfaqullah Khan and his compatriots have been depicted in the Hindi film Rang De Basanti (2006), where his character was depicted by Kunal Kapoor.[6] Chetanya Adib portrayed Khan in Star Bharat television series Chandrashekhar.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ashfaqulla Khan: The Immortal Revolutionary". Government of India website. Archived from the original on 5 November 2002. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Sameer (22 October 2017). "Ashfaqulla Khan, freedom fighter neglected on his 117th birth anniversary". The Siasat Daily (newspaper). Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Singh, Aparna (2 August 2004). "Daredevilry of sons of the soil". The Times of India (newspaper). Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  4. ^ S. Ravi (22 March 2018). "Wielding the pen and pistol". The Hindu (newspaper). Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  5. ^ Tributes paid to martyr Ashfaqulla Khan The Tribune (India newspaper), Published 22 October 2015, Retrieved 27 August 2019
  6. ^ Rang De Basanti (2006) film on IMDb website Retrieved 28 August 2019