Vasudev Balwant Phadke: Prominent revolutionary of modern India

'Swaraj' is the only remedy against the British ills, said Vasudev Balwant Phadke, one of the most prominent revolutionary of modern India.

Phadke, a light-complexioned man with big brooding eyes and strong built had sent a chill down the spine of the British officials through his revolutionary movements. Probably he was the only person in those days, who openly vocalized the expulsion of the British rule from the country. In 1875, Phadke with the help of Kolis, Bhils and Dhangars community established a revolutionary group, called “Ramoshi” to vanquish the British power from India. The group started an armed struggle to overthrow the British power from the country.

Vasudev Balwant Phadke was born on November 04, 1845, near Thane, Maharashtra. Before coming to Pune in 1865, Phadke worked in various government institutions like Grant Medical College and Commissariat Examiner’s Office at Mumbai. A then prominent social figure, Krantiveer Lahuji Vastad Salve mentored Phadke and taught him the importance of independence.

Vasudev intended to build an army of his own but lacking funds he with his associates, decided to break into government treasuries. In the first raid, done in a village called Dhamari in Pune district, the group raided the house of a local businessman from where they took the money which was collected as income tax from Indians by the British. The main purpose of these raids was to feed famine-affected farmers.

Setting up a well-structured revolutionary organization was Phadke’s main motive. He created four groups. The first group organized meetings of a schoolboy, where kids were taught about the importance of independence. The second group consisted of roving bands that went around the city in the morning singing patriotic songs. The third group, went around singing songs satirizing the British era and spreading the plight of India and the importance of freedom. The fourth group consisted of members plotting revolutionary activities.

On July 20, 1879, Phadke was arrested from Devar Navadgi village on charges of committing dacoities and conspiring to wage war against the Queen and exciting feelings of disaffection against the British Government. The trial in Pune court sentenced him to ‘transportation for life’. During his prison term, he was detected with tuberculosis. Take preferred death to a lifelong sentence. The pioneer revolutionary of India, Vasudev Balwant Phadke breathed his last on February 17, 1883- at the age of 37 in the port of Aden.

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