Following Gandhi’s call for ‘Quit India’ movement on 8th August 1942, the nation went into a turmoil not seen in the years since 185 7.There were large-scale demonstrations across the country, not limited to non violence and many cases of rebellion were reported to an extent that some part of the country were without any trace of the British rule for a brief period.
During this turmoil, on the morning of 11thAugust 1942, a crowd of 6000 students arrived at the gates of the then Patna Secretariat, mostly unarmed and with a declared objective to only hoist the Congress flag on the building without any damage to life or property. Facing them was the British Indian Military Police under the command of the District Magistrate W.G. Archer. Till 2:00 PM, the students struggled with the police to reach the Secretariat but by official accounts, they did not attack the police or indulge in vandalism. However, at this moment, Archer decided to order fire on the students not because they were turning violent but because in the persistence to hoist the flag, they were hurting the prestige of the British Empire.
Folklore say that when the Bihar Military Police and the Rajputs refused to fire on the agitators, the ever loyal Gurkhas were brought in. The firing was not indiscriminate and was rather targeted at the person coming forward with the flag. One by one the flag bearer fell down to the bullets, to be followed by another to take his place. By the time the firing stopped, there were 7 dead, and 14 wounded.
In their deaths, these young men showed the British what Gandhi meant when he raised the war cry of “Do or Die”. Their martyrdom was the pivotal event of 1942 which resulted in a mass eruption in Bihar with wide-spread agitations and chaos.
The names and details of the seven students are as follows:
- Umakant Prasad Sinha(Raman Ji) – Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, Class IX, Narendrapur, Saran
- Ramanand Singh – Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, Class IX, Sahadat Nagar, Patna
- Satish Prasad Jha – Patna Collegiate School, Class X, Khadahara, Bhagalpur
- Jagatpati Kumar – Bihar National College, 2nd year, Kharati,Aurangabad
- Devipada Choudhry – Miller High English School, Class IX, Silhat, Jamalpur
- Rajendra Singh – Patna High English School, Class X, Banwari Chak, Saran
- Ramgovind Singh – Punpun High English School, Class IX, Dasharatha,Patna