The story of Kakori train robbery is never complete without the name of Ashfaqullah Khan. Born in 1900 to Shafiqullah Khan and Mahrunissa Begum, Khan was the youngest of six siblings. His entry into the freedom movement was because of his adoration for Ram Prasad Bismil. Khan’s elder brother, Riyasatullah Khan often used to relate tales of Bismil and his revolutionary work and Khan made it an imperative to be associated with Bismil.
Disheartened by Gandhi’s declaration to call off the Non-cooperation movement after the Chauri Chaura violence incident, Khan and a band of others – who believed that the way towards freedom was only a revolution – decided to plunder the train carrying British money. The money was to be used to acquire arms and ammunition for the revolution. Meetings and planning for the robbery were all conducted in Shahjahanpur.
On August 9, 1925, the No 8 Down Train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow approaching Kakori was successfully looted by a gang of ten. A chagrined British rule searched far and wide to find the culprits. They were tried in different places. Khan, one of the last to be caught, was arrested in Delhi was imprisoned in the Faizabad Jail. It was here that he was tried and sentenced to death. His death sentence was carried out on December 19, 1927. There is a small memorial in the jail dedicated to him.
Shahjahanpur is home to Khan’s ancestral home and his mausoleum. The other mausoleum the town is known for is that of Ahmadullah Shah who was a key member during the Revolt of 1857. The road connecting the two mausoleums has been named Shahid Ram Prasad Bismil Marg. The town also played a critical role during the Revolt of 1857. Thanks to the many freedom fighters who came from the region, the town is also known as Shaheedon ki Nagri or the Town of Martyrs.
How to reach there
By Air: Closest airports are those of Lucknow and Agra
By Rail: Shahjahanpur is well connected by rail and can be reached by regular trains from Delhi and Lucknow.
By Road: Shahjahanpur is 157 km from Agra and 149 km from Lucknow
Where to stay
Being relatively close to both Lucknow and Agra, accommodation can be looked at in these two cities.