Hemu Kalani: Sindh’s revolutionary who fought against British

Hemu Kalani (Rahi Heman) was erased from the history of Pakistan because he was a Sindhi Hindu freedom fighter from Sukkur Sindh. He was one of the youngest revolutionaries to be martyred for the nation’s freedom struggle. He was also the first Sindhi revolutionary and freedom fighter during the Indian Independence Movement. At the young age of only 19 he was executed by the British.

Swaraj Sena, a student organisation which was affiliated with the All India Students Federation (AISF) was headed by him. Hemu Kalani joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India movement when it was started in 1942. In those days support for the movement in Sindh was such that the British rulers had to send special troops consisting of European battalions. Hemu Kalani, Parcho Widhyarthi and friends found out that a railway train of these troops and their supplies would be passing through their local town and decided to derail it by removing the fishplates from the railway track. This despite the fact that neither Hemu nor his friends had the necessary tools and so had to use a rope as a means to loosen the fixings.

They were seen by the British troops before being able to complete the sabotage. Hemu was caught, imprisoned, and tortured in an attempt to get him to reveal the names of his co-conspirators He refused to divulge any information, following which he was put on trial and sentenced to death. The people of Sindh petitioned the Viceroy for mercy but the condition of granting mercy was that the authorities must be told about the identity of Hemu’s co-conspirators. He however refused to do so.

In fact, Hemu was ready to sacrifice his own life for the freedom struggle. On the day of his execution, he appeared extremely overjoyed, and walked to the gallows with a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in his hands, smiling and humming the whole way. Sindh will never forget him. There was only one park in Sukkur Sindh named after him “Hemu Kalani Park”. But this was later renamed to “Qasim Park” which clearly shows the enmity of Pakistan with historical Sindhi nation, that our heroes are also persecuted. Thanks to India for remembering the Sindhi heroes!

India has a postage stamp in the honour of Sindhi freedom fighter Hemu Kalani.
Zafar Sahito
Zafar Sahito
Zafar Sahito is a Sindhi nationalist and Vice President of Jeay Sindh Thinkers Forum.

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1 COMMENT

  1. My grandfather Harichand Sahityani also knew and fought alongwith Shaheed Hemu Kalani. He too was imprisoned with 11 other of their accomplices. They were all whipped and jailed for a year. All the old Sindhi patriotic figures have been forgotten, just because they were Hindu and had to leave Sindh during Partition.

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