When Hemu Kalani Compelled the Magistrate to Chant “Union Jack Murdabad”
Salute the Brave
Clamouring “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Inqlab Zindabad” on 21st January 1943, a young man of 18 years was hanged in Sakkhar in Sindh Central Jail.
The name of that brave son of “Bharat Mata” was Hemu Kalani. He was called by his nick name “Hemu”. Hemu’s only offence was that he opposed fearlessly and openly against the exploitative British Raj.
Hemu Kalani was born on 23rd March 1923 in renowned Kalani family in the Old Sakkhar. He got admitted to school at the age of 7 in Sakkhar. After passing the 6th class, he was sent to Tilak Municipal High School in New Sakkhar.
He was having the seed of patriotism embedded in him right from his childhood. As a result, he openly and actively started participating in the national movement for independence from the clutches of the British Raj.
Till this time Hemu was very clear that healthy soul lives in healthy body. So he dedicated himself to build a healthy body. He used to exercise in the Krishan Mandal Gym. He had won several prizes in Kabaddi, wrestling and swimming. He had made a record to swim the Sindhu River Shell in a very short time.
In those days, a secret institute “Swaraj Mandal” was a big name. The guide and the coordinator of this institute was Dr. Mangaram Kalani. The aim of this Institute was to finish the oppressive British Regime. The student’s unit of Swaraj Manadal was “Swaraj Sena” and Hemu became its leader.
The role model of Hemu Kalani was a man of height and strong body and attractive face: Martyr Bhagat Singh. Whenever alone, he used to imitate and practice the emotions and expression of Bhagat Singh.
Mostly he used to put a rope in his neck and tried to experience something. Whenever anyone asked him about this, he used to say that I like this only. I want to be hanged for my country.
On 8th August, 1942 in Mumbai,
“Quit India” resolution was passed in Congress Confluence. The early morning of 9th August, 1942 brought the news that Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Maulana Azad and all other big leaders have been arrested.
Jai Parkash Narayan, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Achyut Parvardhan and Smt. Aruna Asaf Ali took charge of the movement and the wave of anger and anxiety prevailed all over the country. Sindh State also didn’t remain untouched.
On 23rd October 1942 when the “Quit India” movement was on its peak, Hemu came to know that an army train with full of weapons for the British soldiers was coming towards Sakkhar to suppress the revolutionaries. He took two friends with him and reached out of the Sakkhar city border to break the rail lines and to destroy the army train.
But these teenagers could remove only one fish plate only. The police came running on hearing the noise of the hammer. Hemu told that there is no meaning in getting arrested all and suggested them to run away.
The friends agreed. Hemu was arrested. After the arrest only the story of Hemu’s character, the devotion and strength did set an example. He took all the responsibility. Police tortured him severely but neither he revealed the names of his friends nor the police could get any word about Swaraj Mandal and Swaraj Sena from him.
Then started the drama of court-trial! His trial was done in Army Court. He denied to engage any lawyer but the Government and the Sakkhar Panchayat hired an advocate for him.
During the trial, with total peace prevailing in his face like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he told the judge: “I have the birth right to fight against the slavery and tortuous regime of the British Raj and I am proud for what I have done.
I had the grudge that I could not complete the work of destroying the train which I had taken in my hand.”
He claimed that if the British can suppress the war of independence with their arms and weapons, then I have also the right to destroy the weapons of that army. The army court gave him life imprisonment but the Army Headquarters of Hyderabad in Sindh whose Commander was Lord Richardson changed his life imprisonment into death sentence.
On hearing the death sentence, Hemu became very happy. He was having satisfaction that he will die like Martyr Bhagat Singh. Outside the Jail, renowned personalities of Sindh including Swami of Sadhu Bela Ashram, Shri 108 Harnam Das Ji, Sadhu T.L. Vaswani of Hyderabad of Sindh, Jamshed Ji Mehta of Karachi and Abdul Sattar of Old Sakkhar tried their best to minimize or eliminate the punishment and requested the Governor General Lord Linlithgo.
But it did not happen and the brave Hemu was much satisfied and happy. How happily he was waiting for the death can be judged from the example that he gained weight between the time of hearing the death sentence punishment till his hanging.
On 21st January, 1943 the order came that today Hemu was to be hanged in the Central Jail of Sakkhar. He went to the Hanging Room by chanting the slogans “Inqlab Jindabad” “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. Before putting the rope in his neck, he was asked about his last wish. In the hanging room, he told the people around him that they should repeat with him “Indian Flag should always remain high”,
“Bharat ka jhanda sada uncha rahe” and “Union Jack Murdabad.” The district judge standing there was forced to repeat these words.