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Historic Events in Gorakhpur

The city of Gorakhpur got its name from the legendary saint known as Guru Gorakhnath, a famous ascetic, who is believed to have lived in the 12th century AD. According to the tradition he is said to be the founder of the ‘Nath’ sect, or ‘Nath Sampradaya’ as it is called, to enlighten the world with yoga and spiritual meditation. A magnificent shrine known as ‘Gorakhnath Temple’ was built to honour this eminent austere, where large number of devotees pay homage every day. Nevertheless, Gorakhpur has an enormous diverse history long before and after it got its name. Students of history will know that Gorakhpur history can be classified into three periods namely Ancient, Medieval and Modern.

Important moments in the history of Gorakhpur

History of Gorakhpur dates back as early as 4th century before Christ, when Iks’vaku’, the earliest known monarch, ruled ancient Gorakhpur with Ayodhya as its capital. The ancient Gorakhpur region comprised of districts Azamgarh, Basti, Deori, and Kushinagar. Since the region came in the hands of monarch who evidently belonged to Aryan race, it is little wonder that this region become the harbinger of Aryan culture. The Aryan culture and civilization progressively reached new heights during the reign of successive monarchs. Famous of them was lord Rama an illustrious king named in the great epic Ramayana. Later Iks’vaku’ dynasty gave way to Nanda Dynasty of Magadha, which in turn was followed by Maurya, Shunga, Kushana Gupta and Harsha dynasties. Such dynasties have left their foot print in Gorakhpur.

In the medieval period, when the entire northern subcontinent of India came in the hands of the Mughal emperor, Mohammad Ghori, the Gorakhpur region was not an exception. For centuries the region as was northern India, was under the strong regime of Mughal emperors, from Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak to Bahadur Shah. In the latter part of 12th century a Mughal emperor, Ala-ud-din Khilji, ordered to raze down an old temple Goraksha, a popular deity of Gorakhpur, and build a mosque in its place. There were several other attempts to demolish the temple during Mughal rule, apparently becoming a dark chapter in the history of Gorakhpur.

In the 16th century Akbar ascended to become a noble king. He exhibited tolerant attitude towards non-Islamic religion. As a benign ruler, unlike certain former Mughal emperors, he encouraged his non-muslim subjects to practice their own religion without any fear or apprehensions. As a matter of fact he even supported them materially so that they can follow the tenets of their faith to a full degree. With his unique style of reign, Akbar named Gorakhpur as one of the five local self administrative units in the province of Awadh of his large empire.

The modern history of Gorakhpur started with the advent of East India Company in early part of the 18th century. Before long Gorakhpur was constituted as a district after British took it from the Nawab of Avadh in 1803. Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has a place in the national uprising movement which began in 1857. Much of the modern history of this place is related to the Indian Independence Movement.

Eventful Moments in the History of Gorakhpur

No one can forget the historic and fateful incident of 4th February 1922 known as “Chauri Chaura” incident. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the incident can be termed as a turning point in the history of India’s freedom struggle. The police of the British-Raj irrationally dealt with the people who were taking part in the Non-cooperation movement led by Gandhiji. They opened fire at the participants killing several of them. Rightly enraged by the massacre of innocent demonstrators the inhabitants retaliated by setting fire on Chauri Chaura Police station, thereby killing about 20 policemen inside the station. Undoubtedly, this incident brought Gorakhpur into lime light in 1922.

Another important event came into scene in 1942. A protest under Quit India Movement was staged against British-Raj in Gorakhpur. As if the Chauri Chaura incident was not enough, British government blatantly responded by opening fire injuring many and killed some in the process. A monument was built in the memory of those who were killed and injured, which is called “Shahid Samarak.”

Ram Prasad Bismil, a great revolutionary, believed that British rule can be ousted by using force. This was in no way disregard for the Non Co-operation Movement led by Gandhiji. Rather he was of the opinion that armed struggle would reinforce and speedup the process of the Movement. He also thought perhaps such kind of struggle could sound the voice of Quit India Movement effectively in the ears of the British rulers, who were turning deaf ears to the cause. For the sake of achieving independence through extremism, Ram Prasad Bismal master minded the famous Kakori Revolution.

It was a train robbery stunt. The objective was to get the money needed to fund their extremist cause, to get the attention of fellow countrymen and to give a jolt to the British administration. They enacted the ploy on 9th of August 1925 by looting a train that was carrying money belonging to the British Treasury. Unfortunately there was a collateral damage resulting in the death of a passenger. After days of manhunt, Ram Prasad Bismil along with other revolutionaries were eventually apprehended. He was charged and found guilty as the main accused in the conspiracy. He was sentenced to Gorakhpur District jail, where he was hanged to death in 1927. Thus, ending the legacy of one of the great martyrs India as ever known.

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