Barely three years since the 1857 Mutiny, Edward set up India's second brewry in Murree, a sleepy mountain resort near Rawalpindi. The town had a small British garisson that had suffered significant depletion in the mutiny at the hands of local Hazara tribals.
Edward had sailed to India with wife Mary in the 30s to capitalizen his brewing skills. The trip proved opportune as his first enterprise in Solan started turning a profit right off the bat. Back then, beer was expensive as it had to be shipped all the way from England.
And since soldiers needed alcohol to function, a brewery in Solan and later another in Murree had few reasons to fail. Contrary to popular notions, the Brits didn't discriminate only against the natives. They did that to each other too. Classism was as prominent as racism.
Goras employed in the government looked down upon their own engaged in commerce. Self-employed Edward was derisively called "Boxwallah" by fellow Brits in Murree. In 1864, Ed and Mary had their first boy, Rex.
Rex was a "tender-hearted" kid who's said to have once lost appetite for almost a week over a monkey he mistakenly shot dead during a bird-hunting expedition. The Boxwallah insult only pushed the boy further into reclusion. His stammering didn't help much either.
Rex had a fairly lavish upbringing and attended the best schools of his time in both Murree and Shimla. After school, dad put him on a boat to Ireland for higher studies, a bold move for a Brit father given the prevailing sectarian hostilities in the country at the time.
At college, young Rex would be thoroughly derided as the "Wild Indian," wild for his feral Indian connection. He carried Hindi books, it's said, in order to maintain a good command on the language of his birthplace. That worked against him in an already racist Ireland.
Eventually Rex would grow into a fine young gentleman with a relatively stable career in various British regiments. Over the next couple decades, Rex would serve in places like Burma, Persia, Belfast, and Afghanistan, before finally appointing himself to a town in Punjab.
Just as Rex studied towards graduation, read Hindi, and fended off Irish bullies at Midleton College, County Cork, another child was born to a Muslim family some 650 miles from his birthplace. Their paths would cross much, much later.
Syed Fazl-ul-Hasan, the newborn, would later grow into a fine Urdu poet celebrated for more than just poetry. Just as Rex' ancestors weren't native to India, Syed's weren't either. His folks had immigrated from Nishapur, Iran and settled in a village called Mohan in Unnao.
Muslim Syed had a special love for Mathura's Janmashtami and participated in it every year. His formative years at the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (today's AMU) got him into both poetry as well as politics.
Boy went on to join mainstream revolution and was one of those very few who were officially members of both Congress and Muslim League. Syed would write under a nom de plume, Hasrat. Hasrat Mohani in full, Mohani for Mohan, his birthplace. All went well.
Until something happened in 1919. A series of oppressive legislations, collectively called the The Rowlatt Act, threatened to limit civilian liberties to humiliating levels. India couldn't take it anymore, it was already a tinderbox waiting for the spark.
On a sunny April morning that year, coincidentally also the day of Baisakhi, the spark was lit. A crowd of protestors had gathered in a walled space a little over five football fields in size called Jallianwala Bagh. About 10,000 men, women, and children.
Although this gathering was peaceful, enough violent precedent existed to get the alarm bells ringing. Among those that swung into action was Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer, the acting military commander for Amritsar at the time.

What followed is the stuff of legends.
By dusk, it was all over. Total body count is often pegged at 1,000. Quite an endeavor for the "tender-hearted" boy who once cried his way to bed over a dead monkey!

This event changed something about the way India rebelled.

Something fundamental.
Until then, India had sought a better representation at Westminster. A more autonomous dominion status within the British Commonwealth, much like Australia and Canada.

That changed with Jallianwala.

Now India wanted flat-out unconditional independence, no questions asked.
This was a first. Even the 1857 mutiny was less a fight for independence and more a struggle for monarchical reclamations. This change officially happened in 1921, a good two years after Jallianwala, but the events at the Bagh that day was a direct trigger.
In 1921, the Muslim League met in Ahmedabad under the leadership of a young poet named Hasrat Mohani.

Mohani announced two things here that would change the course of the subcontinent's history:
1. Inqilab Zindabad
2. Azadi-e-Kaamil (complete independence)
This was a good eight years before the INC's "purna swaraj."

The fever pitch further worsened with the likes of Bhagat Singh joining in later. The INC finally crystalized this momentum at its 1929 Lahore session. It was December 31. Two important things happened here.
India raised its first Tricolor and signed its Declaration of Independence.

Of course this flag didn't have the chakra — that'd come much later — but the three colors stuck and its hoisting was a defining piece of tautology nonetheless.

The date was January 26, 1930.
Also during this event was signed a Declaration of Independence of India. Not only did this document borrow from the Muslim League the concept of complete independence, it also announced a deadline: January 26, 1930.
Cut to the present...

We celebrate Republic Day on this date because that's when we adopted our Constitution.

We adopted the Constitution on this day because that's when India originally planned to go free.

Because Nehru and his men chose that arbitrary date in 1929.
Because a revolutionary Urdu poet seeded the idea eight years earlier.

Because a crazy Englishman who loved India but hated Indians, shot dead 1,000 Indians in cold blood two years earlier still.

On this very day. April 13, 1919.
That's the story of how two men born 650 miles and 10 years apart crossed paths unwittingly to help Britain lose the jewel in its crown.

Happy Baisakhi.
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