Sachindra Nath Sanyal, a hardcore nationalist and freedom fighter, was one of the founders of a revolutionary organization, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which later in 1928 became the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). The top priority of the HSRA was to use arms, force, and other stringent measures to resist British rule in India. He inspired many young zealots across the country and mentored revolutionists like Chandrashekar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
Sanyal belonged to the Bengali community and was a staunch believer in Hinduism. Born on 03 April 1893, in the North-Western Province in Benaras, from a very young age, he was known for his maverick views and revolutionary ideas. He married Pratibha Sanyal, who stood shoulder to shoulder with him in his fight against British rule.
Sanyal was the pivotal force in awakening revolutionary ideas during the British Raj in India, and it all began in 1913. During this period, he established a branch of the organization called the Anushilan Samiti in Patna. This outfit supported violent measures against British rule in India and was a conglomeration of local youths from akharas (gyms).
A close associate of Rash Behari Bose, Sanyal was believed to be the highest-ranking leader of India's revolutionary movement, after the departure of Bose to Japan. Sachindra Nath Sanyal was also a part of the Ghadar party conspiracy, where the plan was to smuggle in large scale arms and ammunition to India to initiate an anti-British uprising across the nation. However, their plans got thwarted as the British authorities got wind of this movement, and suppressed it in February 1915. Sanyal went underground to escape British action and to continue the freedom struggle. Sanyal was arrested and a life sentence was handed down to him for his involvement in the conspiracy. During his imprisonment at the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, he penned his book, “Bandi Jeevan” (A Life of Captivity, 1922).
Sanyal was briefly released from prison for unknown reasons, and he once again continued to take part in anti-British activities, which infuriated the British officials. Out of frustration, they imprisoned him once again, and this time they confiscated his ancestral property in Benaras. Sanyal has the unique distinction of being imprisoned twice in the Cellular Jail (Port Blair), one of the most deplorable prisons at that time. Unfortunately, during his second imprisonment, he contracted Tuberculosis that ultimately proved fatal. Due to ill-health, he was shifted to the Gorakhpur Jail during the last days of his life. He passed away on 7 February 1942.
An interesting narrative is the infamous argument between Sanyal and Mahatma Gandhi. Published in ‘Young India’, the discussion related to the issue of violence and non-violence. It is said that while on one hand, Sanyal vehemently opposed Gandhiji's gradualist approach, Gandhiji on the other hand, countered him by reiterating that non-violence was the only sensible way forward.
Sanyal's selflessness and patriotic zeal were legendary, and it is a known fact that he was the driving force behind the Indian revolutionary movement. Today, Sachindra Nath Sanyal's contribution is remembered and he is one among the hundreds of unsung heroes.