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Chand: Phansi Ank (Anti-Colonial Art)

Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh

January 25, 2023 to January 25, 2024

Chand: Phansi Ank” (Hanging Special) was a special edition of the Hindi journal Chand, published in 1926 and edited by Acharya Chatur Sen Shastri who hailed from the present-day Prayagraj district (formerly Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh.

Bhagat Singh, who understood the power of martyrdom and photography to move the masses, reconstructed the lives of several revolutionaries who were sentenced to death by the British, including members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), and incorporated their pictures along with text. The journal, which served as an homage to those who achieved martyrdom through the death penalty, featured a number of pictorial compositions of the gallows. The titular image depicted an unrecognizable revolutionary hanging from the gallows, with another martyr in the foreground, being hanged by two jailors, as functionaries of the British Raj, such as the magistrate, a padre and armed policemen observed triumphantly.

Though the journal received popular support, by 1928 it was officially censored. These images had a powerful influence on the masses, as readers preserved them in frames, scrapbooks, and on walls, serving as poignant reminders of the lives lost to the British Raj. Bhagat Singh had accurately assessed the potency of martyrdom, ensuring the nationalist fire never subsided.

Source: Indian Culture Portal