Biography of Ashfaqulla Khan – Indian Freedom Fighter and a Martyr for Kakori Train Robbery

Many young men and women from different parts of India jumped into the nationwide freedom movement against the British. In the interest of the country, many young people actively participated in this freedom movement and created an example of patriotism. Asfaqulla Khan was one of the most powerful fighters of the freedom struggle that started against the British and a very important person who played a very important role in India’s freedom struggle. Ashfaqulla Khan died for the country at the age of 27.

Biography of Ashfaqulla Khan

Biography of Ashfaqulla Khan

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Table of Contents

NameAshfaqullah Khan[1]
Date of BirthOctober 22, 1900
Place of BirthShahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Father’s NameShafiq Ullah Khan
Mother’s NameMazhoor-un-Nissa
DeathDecember 19, 1927

Early Life and Contribution of Asfaqulla Khan

Ashfaqulla Khan was born on October 22, 1900, in a family of a Muslim community belonging to the Muslim Pathans, of the Khyber community. His father’s name is Shafiq Ullah Khan and mother’s name is Mazhoor-un-Nissa. Ashfaqullah Khan was the youngest of the six siblings. It may be recalled that Ashfaqullah Khan’s mother’s family members were working professionally as police and administrative officers of the British government while most of the family members of the father’s family were uneducated or semi-educated.

Importantly, Ashfaqullah Khan, a believer in socialist ideals, had a deep passion for literature. In particular, he wrote various poems and ghazals in Urdu under the pseudonyms Warsi and Hasrat. Through his writings, he appealed to the public to be aware of the conspiracy of British colonialism and also to fight for their rights. Apart from this, he also pointed out the ill-effects of the British imperialist powers through his writings.

Interestingly, Ashfaqulla Khan’s elder brother Chota Ullah Khan was a classmate of Ramprasad Bismil. It is to be noted that Ramprasad Bismil had escaped from the British police in 1918 as he was involved in the Mainpuri conspiracy. Ashfaqullah Khan could hear the brave patriotic stories of Ramprasad Bismil from his brother’s mouth. Khan was inspired by the patriotic personality of Pandit Ramprasad Bismil. Inspired by Bismil’s brave personality, Khan also continued his efforts to meet him. It may be recalled that Khan had met Ramprasad Bismil at a public meeting in 1922 during the non-cooperation movement, started under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. However, their conversation was limited to the exchange of poems and ghazals.

In 1922, the incident triggered a dispute between the protesters who participated in the non-cooperation movement at Chauri Chura in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and later turned it to be violent. The protesters also rejected the police for the attack on the protesters by the police. As a result, many policemen and civilians had to embrace death. The movement whose main aim was non-violence later turned out to be violent, due to which Mahatma Gandhi suspended the non-cooperation movement started under his leadership. A large number of youth and revolutionaries became involved in this movement to fight for India’s independence. The suspension of the non-cooperation movement disappointed the young freedom fighters. Ashfaqulla Khan was one of the young man who was disappointed by the movement.

Also Read: Biography of Ram Prasad Bismil

Formation of Hindustan Republic Association

Significantly, even though the revolution was started with a pen, Ramprasad Bismil’s ideals of freedom struggle were in stark contrast to the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and he did not believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence. He was of the view that freedom cannot be achieved through non-violence. Due to various ideological conflicts, growing discontent with various Congress leaders, Ramprasad Bismil along with Sachindra Nath Sanyal and Jadugopal Mukherjee formed the Hindustan Republic Association in 1924 and leaders like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad became associated with this association. Importantly, Ramprasad Bismil initially did not want to involve Ashfaqulla Khan in the Hindustan Republic Association. Later, However, Ashfaqullah Khan also joined the revolutionary movement formed by Ramprasad Bismil.

After the formation of the Hindustan Republican Association focusing on armed revolution instead of non-violent policies against the British Raj in India, the members of the organization realised that financial capital was needed to wage a strong-armed struggle against the British rule. They were the first to loot the local area to raise financial funds. Unlike Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent movement, the main goal of the Hindustan Republican Association was to gain independence from the British through the armed forces and not through non-violence. It may be recalled that Ashfaqullah Khan was involved with the local robbery using his brother’s licensed rifle.

Kakori Train Robbery

Interestingly, in 1925, Ram Prasad Bismil and other revolutionaries of the Hindustan Republican Association organisation planned to loot the Kakori train to meet the cost of arms. At first Ashfaqulla Khan prohibited to loot the train. He was of the view that many innocent passengers are likely to die due to train dacoits due to which he advised the members of the organisation to abandon the plan. He remarked that it could be a good plan when analysed from one point of view. But it is only a hasty step. He also commented that punishment cannot be avoided if caught. A different plan needs to be adopted to strengthen the organisation. But Khan’s suggestion was ignored by other members of the organisation. Members of the Hindustan Republican Association could not take the right decision in the spirit of independence of India. ‌

On August 8, 1925, in Shahjahanpur, the revolutionary members of the Hindustan Republican Association held a meeting to loot the Kakori train. It may be recalled that members of the organisation had observed that the Kakori-Lucknow train did not have any security arrangements for the government treasury. Ashfaqulla Khan was the chief of Ram Prasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri and others.

On August 9, 1925, in the middle of the procession, the revolutionaries boarded the Kakori train and someone pulled the chain of the train and stopped it. As per the plan, they successfully carried out robbery work on the Kakori-Lucknow train. After the incident, the British government tried to catch the dacoits involved in several train incidents through an investigation, but the British government was unaware of their location.

But later on, October 26, 1925, the British government arrested Ram Prasad Bismil, the head of the movement of the Hindustan Republican Association, along with other members of the organization. But Ashfaqullah Khan fled to Kanpur via Nepal. Later, he left for Banaras Hindu University. Khan worked for some time in Palamau district. Khan had planned to fly abroad to seek help from the freedom struggle. For which he took shelter at his childhood friend’s house in Delhi. But unfortunately, his childhood friend cheated him. Khan’s condition was informed by his friend. Asfaqullah Khan was arrested by the police from his friend’s house.

Soon after his arrest, Khan was sent to Faridabad jail by the British government. Khan spent his days in jail in a very religious manner. He used to offer prayers every day in jail.

Death and Aftermath of Ashfaqulla Khan

Later, on December 19, 1927, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, Thakur Roshan Singh were hanged for kakori train dacoity at the Faizabad Jail, while other members were sentenced to life imprisonment by the judge. It is to be noted that Anfaqullah Khan was the first Muslim martyr in the history of Indian freedom struggle. However, Khan’s contribution to the history of India’s struggle for independence is not limited to being a martyr of the first Muslim community. Ashfaqullah Khan was a progressive thinker. He is often judged as the martyr of the first Muslim community, but Khan, who calls himself a socialist, is one of the most struggling fighters of India’s freedom fighters. He envisioned not only liberating Indians from the clutches of imperialism, but also freeing them from the exploitation faced by the working class and creating a classless society.

He was a clear thinker, courage, patriot was who stood up against British imperialism for India’s freedom struggle. Another important thing is that the friendship between Ashfaqullah Khan and Ramprasad Bismil is another role model of Indian society. Khan and Ramprasad Bismil worked together, fought together for India’s independence. Being a person of two different religions they fought together for freedom struggle and reflected their unity. While Ashfaqullah Khan offered prayers in the same room, Ramprasad Bismil also worshiped his religious deity.


Significantly, in January 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government announced the construction of an animal park on 121 acres of land in the name of Khan, in recognition of the sacrifice of martyr Ashfaqullah Khan in India’s freedom struggle. On December 19, 1997, the Indian Postal Service released postage stamps containing the names and photos of Ashfaqulla Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil to make their memories memorable. Apart from these, serials, films have been made in memory of Ashfaqulla Khan.


1. When and where was Ashfaqulla Khan born?

Ans: He was born on October 22, 1900 at Shahjahanpur, United Province, British India.

2. To which community did Ashfaqulla Khan belonged to?

Ans: He belongs to the Muslim Pathans, of the Khyber community.

3. What is the father’s name of Ashfaqulla Khan?

Ans: His father’s name is Shafiq Ullah Khan

4. What is the mother’s name of Ashfaqulla Khan?

Ans: His mother’s name is Mazhoor-un-Nissa.

5. How did Ashfaqulla Khan died?

Ans: He was hanged by the British Government at the Faizabad Jail, for kakori train dacoity.

6. Who was the founder of Hindustan Republican Association?

Ans: Ram Prasad Bismil and co founder Ashfaqulla Khan.

7. Name the organization Asfaqulla Khan was associated with.

Ans: Hindustan Republican Association.

8. When did Ashfaqulla Khan was hanged by the British Government?

Ans: On December 19,1927, he died for the country at the age of 27.

9. Who were the other members who were hanged along with Ashfaqulla Khan?

Ans: Ram Prasad Bismsil, Rajendra Lahiri, Thakur Roshan Singh were the other members who were hanged along with Ashfaqulla Khan Faizabad Jail, for kakori train dacoity.

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