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Satyen Bardhan - A tribute

Satyen Chandra Bardhan (Kanu) was hanged in Madras Central Jail on September 10, 1943, on the 28th anniversary of Bagha Jatin's martyrdom. Their tales of grit and determination and that of fight were oddly similar. Bagha Jatin died fighting in Chashakhand near the coast of Chandipur while trying to wage war against the mighty British force taking advantage of the first world war, after fighting a decisive trench battle with a fully equipped mighty army. Satyen and four of his associates who came all the way from Penang via submarine to the Kathiawar coast, taking advantage of the second world war to wage a battle against the British, landed rather roughly. Odds were stacked against them, as they were against Bagha Jatin and his associates. Fighting for the whole night against a rough sea while struggling to reach the shore with a rubber dinghy, exhausted Satyen and his men were spotted by the local villagers, mostly fishermen folks, who alerted the local police. In India, the mostly ignorant and illiterate villagers with often no sense of patriotism, acted as reliable British spies, for the lure of a pittance. A group of villagers had similarly alerted the British police against Bagha Jatin and his associates and even chased them in the hope of getting the rewards by handing them over to the police. Of course the villagers were made to understand that Jatin and his team were ordinary bandits. It is likely that the villagers in that Kathiwawar region were similarly alerted by the British police on the basis of prior intelligence. In case of Satyen and his men, the villagers were convinced that they caught the Japanese spies or armed robbers. Like Jatin, Satyen and his men fought with their small consignment of arms fought with the British military from atop a sanddune for the whole day and even managed to kill atleast ten Britosh soldiers. But eventually they ran out of munitions and were caught. Satyen Bardhan and three others who had similarly led a secret mission from Rashbehari's INA, courted death on 10 September 1943 after a farcical trial in Madras's fort St. George. They were Fauja Singh, Abdul Khader, and Anandan. Satyen was a master with the transmitters and was entrusted with sending and receiving messages from India as part of his secret service activities.


Satyen or Kanu, born in the year 1914, when Bagha Jatin had already decided to strike at the heart of the British empire using an arms consignment supplied by the Germans, took a clerical post in Malay in the British Government department of posts and telegraphs. He however joined the Indian Independence League of Rashbehari Bose in 1942 and was entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out secret missions within India in March 1943, after a brief training. Unfortunately all the secret missions were caught, possibly owing to a betrayal by one or more of the British spies within IIL having a sound knowledge of the missions. One of the twenty men sent to India turned approver exactly as Tuhin Mukherjee did a year later against Dr. Pabitra Mohan Roy and others who were sent on a similar mission by Netaji. Satyen courted martyrdom heroically and sent a letter to his kins expressing his great happiness in dying for the country. Sadly India forgot all her great sons who sacrificed their lives for her freedom. And the remnants of the British rule's legacy of torture and execution of patriotic Indians - Fort St. George, is neither renamed (Indian Christians and their patron politicians belonging to a certain lineage of Dravida politics will be offended if any such attempt is ever made), nor there are any relics to commemorate the great sacrifices. It is as if the British is still ruling India by proxy using democracy as a garb to fool her people, and the collaborators, who aided and helped the British empire, are still prospering in the form of politicians, high ranking officials, media, and the elites.

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