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Khudiram Bose never got his due as a freedom fighter, ZEE5 just made it worse

After outrage over the wrongful depiction of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose in a ZEE5 web series, the channel went on to issue a problematic apology.

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The new web series Abhay 2, which premiered on 14 August on OTT platform ZEE5, has caused outrage because of the way it used an image of Khudiram Bose, one of India’s youngest freedom fighters. Bose’s image appears in a scene in the show as part of a picture gallery of wanted criminals.

I would like to believe this was an unintended mistake by the showrunners, who seem to have absolutely no idea about who Khudiram Bose was or his role in the freedom struggle.

In 1908, Bose was appointed to kill Douglas H Kingsford, the Chief Presidency magistrate of Calcutta who was known for meting out brutal punishments to freedom fighters. Bose threw bombs at the carriage in which Kingsford was believed to be travelling, but ended up killing the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy instead. He was arrested by the police soon after, and took full responsibility for the entire operation.

When he was sentenced to death, Bose accepted the verdict with a smile, much to the shock of the English judge. He was eventually hanged to death on 11 August 1908.

Also read: If you opened the newspapers from 15 August 1947, here are the freedom ads you would see

Poor research

Even if there was no malintent on their part, such lack of knowledge and poor research about India’s youngest freedom fighter, who was hanged by the British when he was merely 18 years old, is unpardonable.

It is shameful that the makers of Abhay 2 didn’t know how Bose looked but still used an image of him. The young revolutionary gave up his life for India’s freedom. Wasn’t his sacrifice great enough to be regarded with the same respect and recognition as other freedom fighters?

It is beyond my comprehension as to how the crime thriller series, ironically helmed by a Bengali director, Ken Ghosh, could commit such a major goof-up.

Lack of recognition

Khudiram Bose sacrificed his life “with a smile” when he was just at the cusp of adulthood. Stories about the love he had for his motherland have been shared over generations, through popular folktales in Bengal. But outside the state, his name remains largely in the shadows. This could be because Bose never received the limelight that other freedom fighters got. Even after his death, his story never made it to popular culture, be it in films, biopics, TV shows, or well-known books based on India’s freedom movement. Everyone knows about Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and others, but there has hardly been any mention of Khudiram Bose in mainstream discussions about the freedom struggle.

It is also surprising that from Bengal, only Netaji received national attention. This, despite the fact that the state was a hotbed of the Independence movement, and gave numerous freedom fighters, including Masterda Surya Sen, Prafulla Chaki, Matangini Hazra, the famous trio, Binoy Badal Dinesh, Pritilata Waddedar — but all of them still remain relatively unknown, just like Khudiram Bose.

Half-hearted apology

The blunder didn’t end with the wrongful use of Bose’s image. ZEE5 went a step further by issuing a problematic apology — a statement saying they didn’t mean to “offend any community or hurt anybody’s sentiments”.

What do they mean by ‘any community’? Was Khudiram Bose just a Bengali freedom fighter and died only for his own state?

Whoever wrote that apology must have clearly Googled Khudiram Bose’s name in a haste, and after finding that he was a freedom fighter from Bengal, concluded that only Bengalis would be outraged over portraying him as a “criminal”.

This not only reflects a shallow mindset, but also undermines Bose’s struggle and sacrifice for the nation.

Also read: MN Roy, the Indian revolutionary who founded Mexican Communist Party

Not just a ‘Bengali hero’

Bose might be from Bengal, but he fought against the tyranny of colonialism for the Independence of our entire country. Any Indian citizen, and not just Bengalis, should feel enraged that Bose’s image was placed in a picture gallery of wanted fugitives.

His death did not just inspire young people in Bengal to join the freedom movement, but ignited the nation’s collective fury against British rule.

He is a national treasure, not just a Bengali freedom hero, as many Bengalis on social media rightfully pointed out.


Any mention of Bose is incomplete without an ode to the famous song penned by poet Pitambar Das in his honour.

Young Bose’s fearlessness, bravery and love for his motherland have been aptly captured in Das’ immortal song that opens with these powerful lines: Ekbar biday de Maa ghure ashi, Hashi hashi porbo phasi dekhbe bharatbasi (Mother, bid me farewell once, I will be back soon, India will watch me while I wear the noose with a smile).

Such moving lyrics not only remind me of the passion Bose had for his motherland, but also causes a lump in my throat every time I hear it.

Views are personal.

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  1. Nobody will forget the contribution of Bengalis in freedom struggle they are real nationalists with pride on their culture great revolutionary social reformers educationest scholers who were pioneers were born in Bengal
    Khudiram Bose was true petriot Bharatmata’s sons will never forget his sacrifice .

  2. Those who has such type of thinking about Kudiram Bose don’t have the right to live on Earth or they have lack of knowledge about Kudiram Bose or they may ignite the Kudiram lovers or they may be Mad.

  3. We have been told mislead history since independence and highlighted only a few selected leaders. Many series and films are being shown in n the ott platforms do not get censored so they’re are showing all the filthy stuff. Censorship is the immediate action needed to stop all kind of unethical and filthy stuff.

  4. Innumerable Khudirams who bore the torch of freedom remain unknown in realms of Indian history. Thanks to Nehru, Gandhi and Abdul Kalam our first education minister, special care was taken to give credit to O ly few. These unsung heroes sacrificed their lives for simple love and respect for their motherland. High time books r rewritten and at least we remember our unsung heroes with reverence

  5. Mr.Khudiram Bose was our National Hero. I have always heard his name since my childhood. How could these filmmakers don’t know him. These people don’t know Indian History and start making illogical films.

  6. I agree that our freedom fighters should be celebrated. However our outrage culture is pathetic. We cannot be outraged for every small thing. Let me outrage you a little further. I found your statement “What do they mean by ‘any community’? Was Khudiram Bose just a Bengali freedom fighter and died only for his own state?” amusing as all outrage seems to be coming from the Bengali community. We should learn to let things go

    • What you see here is “criticism” not outrage. No one is vandalising studios and wreaking havoc in the name of Bose here. There is no 9’o clock debate on this neither does anyone demand it. A look at the comment section says that it’s not only Bengali, but anyone who has learnt about Bose object to this callous representation.

  7. He is called the 1st shahid in Bengal . He should be the second as Mangal Pandey was 1st… Any how ZEE or any channel they do such series with a hint of reality and more with commercial adult scene and unneccesary violence only for money . Its unethical what these channels show us nowadays. But what can we do. So we dont expect much. But this is an insult to Bengal and India and its fight for independence.

  8. Nobody mentions about Jatindra Nath Mukhopadhyay known as Bagha Jatin , highly educated , respected leader of the revolutionaries, organised arm struggle for freedom of the country and was killed in the year 1915 by the British in Baleswar, Orissa. He had connections with political leaders of various countries in the interest of freedom for India . M.N.Roy considered Bagha Jatin as his Guru. Do the people of other states heard the name of Maharaja Troilakya Chakraborty who was imprisoned by the british for 30 years in different prisons in India. If any body visits Cellular jail , he or she will find the sacrifice of bengalees . Prime Minister visited cellular jail and highlighted Savarkar only and keept silence about other prisoners in cellular jail.. Govt of West Bengal is responsible for its negligence. It should have spread the names of freedom fighters from Bengal throughout the country. Many Indians know Bhagat Singh who was undoubtedly a great patriot and revolutioary. How they can not remember Bagha Jatin, Masterda Surya Sen, Arobindo Ghosh , Ullaskar Datta and many other freedom fighters whose contribution is not less . Our ancestors sacrificed everything but we received partition of our state resulted untold misery to Bengal.

  9. Why do you omit the names of outstanding revolutionaries like Bagha Jatin, Barindra Ghosh., MN Roy and above all Sri Aurobindo, the prime accused in Alipore Bomb Case of which Khudiram Bose was a part. One of the members of this group who had agreed to turn an approver was shot dead by these revolutionaries, with the help of a revolver smuggled into the jail.

  10. Debalina Dey , Wikipedia !!! It couldn’t get worse. Just goes to show that Martyr Khudiram Bose still doesn’t get his due. We can only hang our heads in Shame

  11. National media often show local character and elite bias. They portray those who are known, but not the important ones ignored due to one reason or the other.

  12. Debalina Dey , Wikipedia !! are you serious ? Just goes to show how much of a unsung Hero is Khudiram Bose.

  13. Not quite true. Khudiram Bose is well known in Maharashtra. In fact lokmanya Tilak wrote in his and Prafull’s defense in Kesri.

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