>Madan Lal Dhingra

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Madan Lal Dhingra
Date of Birth : 1887
Date of Death : Aug 17, 1909
Place of Birth : Punjab

Madan Lal Dhingra was an Indian political activist studying in England, where he murdered Sir Curzon Wylie, a British MP, which is hailed as one of the first acts of revolution in the Indian independence movement in the 20th century. Madan Lal Dhingra was born in 1887 to a prosperous Hindu family in the province of Punjab. His father was a wealthy civil surgeon.


In 1906, Madan Lal departed for England to join the University College, London, to study Mechanical Engineering. Dhingra’s family were loyalists of the British, and disowned him after his expulsion from college in Lahore owing to illicit political activities. Dhingra had to work as a clerk, a tonga (rickshaw) puller, and a factory laborer. Dhingra attempted to organize a union there, but was sacked. He worked for sometime in Bombay, before acting upon the advice of his elder brother and going to England for higher studies. He was supported by his elder brother and some nationalist activists in England. Dhingra came into contact with noted Indian political activists Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Krishna Verma, who were impressed by Dhingra’s perseverance and intense patriotism, and turned his focus to the freedom struggle. Savarkar believed in revolution by any means, and supposedly gave Dhingra arms training, apart from membership in a secretive society, the Abhinav Bharat Sanstha. He was also a member of India House, the base for Indian student political activity. During this period, Savarkar, Dhingra and other student activists were enraged by the execution of freedom fighters such as Khudiram Bose, Kannai Dutt, Satinder Pal and Kanshi Ram in India. It is this event that is attributed by many historians as having led Savarkar and Dhingra scheme of exacting direct revenge upon the British. On the evening of July 1, 1909, a large number of Indians and Englishmen had gathered to attend the annual day function of the Indian National Association. When Sir Curzon Wyllie, a prominent British member of Parliament entered the hall with his wife, Dhingra fired five shots right at his face. Cowasji Lalkaka, a Parsee doctor who tried to save Sir Curzon, died of Madan Lal’s sixth bullet, which he fired in self-defence because Lalkaka caught hold of him. Dhingra did not resist arrest. Dhingra was tried in Old Bailey Court on July 23. He stated that he did not intend to kill Cowasji Lalkar, which was purely accidental. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to death. After the judge announced his judgement, Dhingra stated, “I am proud to have the honour of laying down my life for my country. But remember we shall have our time in the days to come.” Dhingra was hanged on August 17, 1909.

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