Jatindranath (Jyotindranath) Mukherjee was born on 8 December, 1879 at Koya village in Nadia district of undivided Bengal. He was a strong-bodied, patriotic-minded young man who killed a tiger in his early life and hence came to be known as ‘Bagha Jatin’. Interested in public welfare, Jatin however did not take active part in the politics of the bomb (1906-8) in its initial phase.
Jatindranath (Jyotindranath) Mukherjee was born on 8 December, 1879 at Koya village in Nadia district of undivided Bengal. He was a strong-bodied, patriotic-minded young man who killed a tiger in his early life and hence came to be known as ‘Bagha Jatin’. Interested in public welfare, Jatin however did not take active part in the politics of the bomb (1906-8) in its initial phase. After the Majaffarpur killings on 30 April, 1908 (see Kshudiram Bose), most of the extremist youths involved in that politics were arrested and sent to jail. By 1910-11, the active members of the Dhaka branch of Anushilan Samity, the first revolutionary group formed in 1902 in Bengal, were also put behind bars while the others went underground.
It was at this crucial stage that Jatin became active and tried to organise the revolutionary-minded youths who were still at large. His group would later be termed ‘Jugantor’ after the fiery journal of the same name started by any extremist group of Anushilan in March, 1906 (see Barindra Ghosh, Bhupendranath Datta et. al). Jatin’s group began with a few actions (dacoities etc) but Jatindar had a larger plan of overthrowing the colonial rule by an armed insurrection.
Meanwhile, with the World War – I having broken out in 1914, Germany became Britain’s enemy. Jatin contacted a German agent through the Indian students studying in Germany (see Berlin Committee) to collect arms and sent his emissary Navendranath Bhattacharya (see M. N. Roy) abroad to make sure that the plan came through. Bt the British got wind of it probably through Czech espionage and the entire plot went in vain. Jatin along with his five comrades were waiting at Kaptipada off Baleswar (Balasore) in Orissa. But the ship carrying arms never turned up. The Calcutta (Kolkata) Police somehow learnt of their hideout and a police team headed by the Deputy Commissioner Charles Tegart left for Balasore.
Taking a cue from a postcard, they arrived at the Kaptipada hideout on 6 September, 1915. But fortunately, Jatindra and his associates were in another hiding place that day and hence they escaped arrest. Returning to Kaptipada on the following day, they learnt of the police raid from the villagers and decided to move to Calcutta. But later Jatin changed his mind and decided to face the force in an open encounter, if need be. Jatin and his comrades took to another path, crossed the Bura Balong (Buri Balam) river, walked a long distance and finally, exhausted, arrived at a rocky place called Chasa Khond on I September 1915.
A Police team accompanied by the District Magistrate Kilby and a battalion led by sergeant Ritherford had been chasing them for a long time. In the afternoon of that day they surrendered Jatindra and his comrades at Chasa Khond. An exchange of fire continued for about 25 minutes. While Chittapriya Roychoudhury fell to bullets on the spot, Jatin was fatally wounded and hence they could not but surrender. Jatin died a martyr on 10 September (1915) at Balasore hospital of the others, Nirendra Dasgupta was sent to the gallows and Jyotis Pal and Monoranjan Sengupta were sentenced to long-term imprisonment in the trial that followed.
The British press suppressed the news of encounter for a number of days and branded Jatindra and his associates as ‘criminals’. But Jatin, the undaunted martyr would become a household name and their sacrifice to inspire the next generation of the revolutionary youth in the courty.