Vasudev Balwant Phadke
Everybody knows who the father of the nation is, but how many of us know about the father of Indian armed rebellion? India is a land of brave fighters, but there are many whose identities are still unknown . Vasudev Balwant Phadke was one such Indian armed revolutionary who dreamt of a “Free India”. He was an epitome of patriotism in the fight against the British.
Vasudev Balwant Phadke, also known as the father of the Indian Armed Rebellion was born on 4th November 1845 in Panvel, Raigad district, Maharashtra. He was interested in wrestling and was also a very vocal anti-British supporter from a young age. After dropping out from school, he moved to Pune and under the guidance of his mentor Krantikari Lahuji Vastad Salve, learned the importance of independence and understood how backward communities have to come together as one and get involved in the fight to attain freedom.
He formed the Ramosi Peasant Force which aimed to get rid off the Britishers from the country by instigating an armed revolt. Since the elite classes didn’t support his cause, he gathered people from backward communities and raided government treasury to collect money for the benefit of famine-stricken villagers. The first raid he ever did was at the house of the local businessman at Dhamari in Shirur Taluka, Pune where he took the money which was collected as income tax from Indians by British.
His inspiring speeches at Pune brought people out in great numbers, who would listen to him ardently. Phadke wanted a well-organized revolutionary machine to create the most impact, so he made four groups. The first group would organize meetings of school boys where kids were taught the importance of education. The second group consisted of roving bands that would go around the city singing patriotic songs. The third group would go around spreading the plight of India and importance of freedom. The fourth group consisted of members who would plot revolutionary activities.
On 20th July 1879, Phadke was arrested in the village of Devar Navadgi. He was given a life sentence but preferred death. He went on hunger strike in the jail and on 17th February 1883 he breathed his last in the jail.