The Non-cooperation movement of 1920 led to large scale mobilisation of Indian population against the British rule.
After the Chauri Chaura incident, Mohandas K. Gandhi suspended the movement to prevent escalation of violence.
Ram Prasad Bismil and his group of youth strongly opposed Gandhi in the Gaya Congress of 1922.
When Gandhi refused to rescind his decision, the Indian National Congress was divided into two groups – one liberal and the other for rebellion.
In January 1923, the liberal group formed a new Swaraj Party under the joint leadership of Moti Lal Nehru and Chittranjan Das, and the youth group formed a revolutionary party under the leadership of Bismil.
With the consent of Lala Har Dayal, Bismil went to Allahabad where he drafted the constitution of the party in 1923 with the help of Sachindra Nath Sanyal and another revolutionary of Bengal, Dr. Jadugopal Mukherjee.
The Hindustan Republic Association established branches in Agra, Allahabad, Benares, Kanpur, Lucknow, Saharanpur and Shahjahanpur.
They also manufactured bombs in Calcutta – at Dakshineswar and Shovabazar – and at Deoghar in Bihar.
As Hindustan Republic Association was a revolutionary group, they attempted to loot a train.
On 9th August 1925, the revolutionists ransacked the train.
As a result of the Kakori train robbery case, Ashfaq ullah Khan, Ramprasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri were hanged to death.
Around the time of the Kakori robbery and the subsequent trial, various revolutionary groups had emerged in places such as Bengal, Bihar and Punjab.
These groups and the Hindustan Republic Association met at Feroz Shah Kotla, in Delhi, on 7–8 August 1928, and from this emerged the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
When the Simon Commission visited Lahore on 30 October 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai led a peaceful protest against the Commission.
The police responded with violence, with the superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordering his men to lathi charge the protesters.
Lala Lajpat Rai was beaten but addressed a meeting later. He died on 17 November 1928.
It was decided by Hindustan Socialist Republican Association that the attempt would be taken against J A Scott, who had ordered the unlawful lathi-charge.
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad and Jai Gopal were given the charge to execute the plan.
Jai Gopal failed to differentiate between Scott and Saunders.
Saunders was shot by Rajguru and Bhaghat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928.
Another significant action carried out by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was the Assembly Bomb Case.
This was as a protest against the introduction of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill, both of which had been drafted in an attempt to counter the effects of revolutionary activities and trade unionism.
Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs at the empty treasury benches, being careful to ensure that there were no casualties in order to highlight the propagandist nature of their action.
Their rationale for the bombing was explained in a leaflet titled “To Make the Deaf Hear“.
This leaflet was also thrown in the assembly and was reproduced the next day in the Hindustan Times.
On 15 April 1929 police raided the HSRA’s bomb factory in Lahore and arrested Kishori Lal, Sukhdev Thapar and Jai Gopal.
The Assembly Bomb case trial followed and Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931 for their actions.
By 1931, most of the HSRA’s main leaders were either dead or in jail.
On 27 February 1931, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself during a gunfight with the police in a famous incident of Alfred Park.
After Azad’s death there was no central leader to unite the revolutionaries and regional differences increased.