“Just before hanging me, say loudly with me HAIL FREEDOM”

–Hemu Kalani’s last wish before death

Born in Sukkur in 1923, Hemu Kalani got inspired by the struggles of the Indians against the British very early on in his life. He decided to take part in the Quit India Movement of Gandhi in 1942 when he was merely 19 years old and became a member of Swaraj Sena, a student organization affiliated with All India Students Federation. In 1942, he learnt about a British train carrying bombs and weapons to quell the political uprisings of Khudai Khidmatgaars of Bacha Khan in KPK. He decided to disrupt the track of the train but got caught while destroying the rail road. He was sentenced to death by the Military court. During his trial, he stated how if the use of ammunitions by the British to quell the freedom struggle of Indians was correct, then his act of derailing the train was also justified. He was given the option of signing an apology letter to avoid the death sentence but refused to sign it. He was hanged in Sukkur Jail in 1943. His shahadat at a young age of 20 further fueled the struggles of Sindhis, Indians to get freedom from the British.

After the partition, the heroism of Hemu Kalani has been recognized by the Indian Government. In his commemoration, a postal ticket was issued during Indira Gandhi’s tenure and his statue has also been placed in Delhi Parliament in 2003. On the other hand, in the land where he was born and died, Sukkur, the Government of Pakistan has renamed Hemu Kalani park as Qasim Park. Hemu Kalani is not our hero, Muhammad Bin Qasim is. The latter spread Islam in the sub-continent, what did the former do?