Court of Justice
In this way the police tried to win him over to their side and failed. They charge-
sheeted him in the court. By this time the Kakori Case had progressed much; the case
against Ashfaq was combined with it. A committee had been formed to defend the accused in
the main case. Pandit Motilal Nehru, father of Jawaharlal, was the chairman. There were
eminent men like Jawaharlal, Sriprakasha, Acharya Narendra Deva, and Govind Ballabh Pant
and Chandra Bhanu Gupta on the committee.
After some progress had been made in the case against Ashfaqulla, Sachindra Bakshi was
arrested at Bhagalpur. He was tried in a lower court separately and then the cases against
both Ashfaq and Bakshi were combined and tried in the Sessions Court as one.
Both of them tried to behave as if they did not know each other. But
they were very good friends and had worked together in the party. Now that they were
charge- sheeted together and met in the court they could not pretend to be strangers. They
embraced each other in the court with great emotion. The officers of the jail remarked,
'We too had been waiting for the reunion of Rama and Bharata."
Life in prison had made Ashfaq very pious. He grew a beard. He said his prayers
regularly. During Ramzan he fasted very strictly. Now and then the friendsdiscussed
religion. Sachindra Bakshi had no faith in God. But Ashfaq used to say, "I consider
the unseen power as supreme. It is above us and is greater than the world. That is my
faith. But you do not agree. Faith is an entirely personal matter." He believed that
religious faith is the greatest concept uniting God and man in a single principle. His
considered opinion was that it was not a matter for discussion in the streets.
The main case and the complementary case relating to the Kakori
train robbery came to an end. The Court of Justice under the British rule gave its
judgment. Ramaprasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan,
Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh were to be put to death; the others were given life
The whole country protested against the death sentences. Members of the Central
Legislature represented to the Viceroy that the death sentences should be reduced to
life sentences. Appeals were sent to the Privy Council, the highest court in those days.
But British imperialism was thirsting for the blood of the Indian revolutionaries.
'Death comes but once;
Why fear it?'
So Ashfaq has sung in one of his poems. This is the faith of all revolutionaries. The four
revolutionaries sentenced to death died with a smile-on their lips. They had only one
prayer: they wanted to be born again in India so that they could fight for the freedom of
the country. And so they became martyrs.