An Indian nationalist and a staunch believer in revolutionary ideas and methods, Prafulla Chandra Chaki, also known as Dinesh Chandra Roy, was part of the Jugantar group of revolutionaries. This group was one of the most prominent revolutionary groups in colonial Bengal, and amongst its members were Aurobindo Ghosh, his brother Barin Ghosh, Bhupendranath Datta, Raja Subodh Mallik, etc.
Prafulla Chandra Chaki was born on 10th December 1888 in Bogra, a district in present-day Bangladesh (a part of the Bengal Presidency during the British Raj). The fifth child of Rajnarayan Chaki and Swarnomoyee Devi, the intense desire to see an independent India was sown in him at a very young age. After completing his primary education at Namuja Janada Prasad English School, he moved to Rangpur with his elder brother Pratap Chandra Chaki. In Rangpur National School, Prafulla Chaki’s association with revolutionaries like Jitendranarayan Roy, Abinash Chakravarti, Ishan Chandra Chakravarti inspired him to believe in and practice revolutionary philosophies.
While he was at Rangpur, he met Barin Ghosh, one of the founding members of the Jugantar Bengali weekly. Ghosh convinced Prafulla Chaki to move to Calcutta to join the Jugantar group. Prafulla’s first assignment was to shoot Sir Joseph Bampfylde Fuller (1854-1935), the first Lieutenant-Governor of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Unfortunately, the plan did not materialize, as there was a last-minute change in Sir Joseph’s itinerary. Prafulla was given yet another opportunity, when he and Khudiram Bose were picked to assassinate Kingsford, the Magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Kingsford had previously passed harsh and cruel sentences against the young political workers of Bengal, while he served as the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta. Kingsford's tenure was riddled with unfair orders, and so he became a target for revolutionary outfits. Prafulla and Bose were sent to Muzaffarpur (Bihar) to carry out the task. It was for this operation that Prafulla was named 'Dinesh Chandra Roy’ to conceal his identity.
Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose carried out what is known as the Muzaffarpur Bomb Case on 30th April 1908. On that day, both of them were waiting with bombs at the gates of the European Club in anticipation of the arrival of Kingsford’s carriage. As soon as it arrived, the bomb was thrown, shattering the carriage. Unfortunately, the carriage was not carrying Kingsford; instead, the wife and daughter of Mr Pringle Kennedy, a leading pleader at Muzaffarpur Bar, were travelling in it. The accidental killing of Kennedy’s wife and daughter caused widespread fear and anxiety amongst the people, and both Prafulla and Khudiram Bose fled the scene and took different routes to escape.
Prafulla reached Samastipur, where a railway staff member, Triguna Charan Ghosh, offered him shelter. On 01st May 1908, an inter-class ticket was also provided to him to board the night train departing for Mokama. However, Nandalal Banerjee, a police officer travelling in the same compartment, became suspicious of Prafulla and attempted to arrest him on the platform of the Mokama Railway Station. In the chase that ensued, the fearless and young Prafulla, to evade arrest, shot himself with his revolver.
It is said that his head was severed and sent to Kolkata to be identified by Khudiram Bose, who had also been captured at that time. Such was the British brutality towards these brave Indian revolutionaries. On 01st May 1908, the 20-year-old Prafulla Chandra became one of the youngest revolutionaries who martyred himself for the freedom of his motherland.