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Jatin Das - India's Terence McSwiney

Jatin Das of Calcutta was a Major in the volunteer corps of Subhas and had helped in training the youth volunteers for the 1928 Calcutta Congress. He was held under the Lahore conspiracy case. While still under trial, they went on hunger strike demanding better conditions in jail. Jatindra Nath Das at first was reluctant to join the hunger strike because he considered it as a dangerous game. But then once he joined he never turned back from it. The Government made a half-hearted attempt to compromise by promising better medical treatment of the fasting prisoners. But the prisoners were adamant to extract the same concessions for all prisoners and this the Government did not accede to. The movement received wide recognition and in Calcutta Subhas Bose and other Congress leaders were arrested while supporting the movement. Jatin fasted for 61 days and then he died on 13 Sep 1929. The pages of Young India of Gandhi, ordinarily filled with all sorts of observations on all political events and also on the topics of health, diet etc. had nothing to say about the incident of Jatin Das. Subhas writes in Indian Struggle, "A follower of the Mahatma who was also a close friend of the deceased, wrote to him inquiring as to why he had said nothing about the event. The Mahatma replied to the effect that he had purposely refrained from commenting, because if he had done so, he would have been forced to write something unfavourable." And yet, Gandhiji, had taken up fasting as a tool for waging war not only against the British, but also against anything and anyone he did not like and could not cope with. But his countrymen did their bits. As the dead body of Jatin was moved from Lahore to Calcutta, thousands and thousands of people assembled in every station to pay homage. In Indian Struggle Subhas mentions, "Among the many messages that were received on the occasion was one which touched the heart of every Indian. It was a message from the family of Terence McSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, who had died a martyr under similar conditions in Ireland. The message ran thus: 'Family of Terence McSwiney have heard with grief and pride of the death of Jatin Das. Freedom will come.'" Jatin was only 25 years when he died.

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