Well, it is natural that we will remember Lokmanya Bal Gangagdhar Tilak as almost entire Maharashtra gets set for the 10-day Ganapati Extravaganza. But today on Clamorworld we decide to walk down memory lane celebrating and paying tribute to some of Tilak’s most celebrated followers and whom most of the nation seems to have forgotten.
Well, I am talking about the Chapekar Brothers. This trio was one of Chinchwad, Pune’s most celebrated freedom fighters. These brothers, Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudeo Hari Chapekar were Chitpavan Brahmins from Konkan and very keen followers of Tilak and go down the history books as prominent revolutionaries.
None of these brothers received much of formal training or education. They essentially learnt to read and write helping their father in his kirtans. As they grew, Pune was becoming the hub of many controversies and hotbed of Hindu-Muslim disparities. The Chapekar brothers could not keep quiet and decided to do their bit by unveiling the Chapekar Club. They decided to train willing volunteers physically and make them militarily endowed to help fight the atrocities against Hinduism. They soon became the champions of Hindu Legacy in Pune.
As the Plague assumed epidemic form towards the end of 1896 in Bombay Presidency, the British decided to stamp out the epidemic. In the process, the lives the common man was compromised. They were harassed their houses and areas of worship desecrated in the name of implementing orders. One such officer known for this high handedness and in appropriate behaviour was Rand. Gradually an uproar protesting his overtures began to take shape in entire Pune and the Chapekar Brothers were hardly the types to stay behind. They were determined to take revenge. Officer Rand and his associate Lieutenant Ayrest were killed by Chapekar brothers and their associates.
This was probably one of the first murders of oppressive British Officers in India and sent shockwaves down the British empire The British Government announced a cash reward for their arrest and eventually all the three brothers along with their associates were arrested and hanged. But such was their fearless love for the nation that Tilak himself arranged for the funeral rites of Vasudeo, one of the prime accused.
Their selfless love for their country and commitment to motherland remains a source of inspiration for youth even today.