Jaihind Special: Vasudeva Phadk.. What do you want now? war with you
Vasudev was born on November 4, 1845 as Vasudev Balwantrao Phadke in the middle of the village to a Shapatham Marathi Chitpavan Brahmin family. Hometown Shirdan village in Maharashtra. A farming family. In those days all the farming families were suffering from abject poverty. Fadke learned wrestling and horse-riding enthusiastically at an age when he did not understand the family’s sufferings in his childhood. Dropped out in the middle of high school. He got married at the age of 16. Worked in railway service for some time and later self-retired.
Later he reached Pune and worked as a clerk in the Military Accounts Department for 15 years. With the introduction of activists like Ganesh Joshi and Ranade Ekanatha, Phadke established an organization called ‘Pune Native’. At that time, they came to know that their mother’s health was not good and reached their hometown. But at the instigation of the British, the villagers completed the cremation of Phadke’s mother before they arrived. Saddened by this, Phadke swore in the middle of the village that he would intensify his movement against the British.
The Ramoshi struggle
in 1876-77 brought about the worst drought in Maharashtra. Thousands of people starved to death. But the British nobles did not care about these deaths, but they used to forcefully take the harvested crop. Due to this, many farmer families became homeless. Many are suffering from poverty. Seeing all this, Phadke was deeply hurt. Swarajya was thought to be the way to improve the conditions. For this the local Kolis, Bhils and Dhangars were gathered together to form a rebel army and named it ‘Ramoshi’ (an aboriginal tribe). Armed struggle was waged with this army to end the British rule. Phadke’s capture of the city of Pune in one of the surprise guerilla attacks against the British soldiers dismayed the rulers.
The British government was in trouble due to the influence of the Phadke movement of the colonial rulers . As a result, those who killed or captured Phadke will be given Rs. Governor of Bombay Government Sir Richard Temple announced that a reward of 5 thousand will be given. In response to this, Phadke announced that he would give a reward of 10,000 to those who brought him the head of the Governor of Bombay, Sir Temple, which shows his fearlessness. As Ramoshi’s attacks increased, the government stepped up its efforts to catch Phadke. On the other hand, the Nizam’s government, which was helping the British, also tried to capture Phadke. British Major Henry William Daniel and Hyderabad Nizam Police Commissioner Abdul Haque relentlessly searched for him. At this time Phadke reached the Nizam’s kingdom.
Phadke, who was very tired due to Veeradi’s words
going on for a whole day, developed fever and went to a village in Kaladigina taluka of Hyderabad to rest and slept in the temple of Devi. Some local women found him unconscious due to fever and told the soldiers, hoping for money. British Army Major Daniel reached there with this message.
Deploying his forces there, he stepped on Phadke’s heart and put his foot on his neck.. ‘Phadke, what do you want now’ he asked. Even in such situations Phadke replied like a hero, ‘I want to fight with you’. But Daniel, who was obsessed with that, captured Phadke and took him to Pune. Later he was taken to Aden prison in Yemen. Phadke escaped from there on 13 February 1883, but was soon recaptured. During his second imprisonment, Phadke went on hunger strike. Phadke breathed his last on February 17, 1883 at the age of 37 due to this initiation.
‘All the people of this country are the darlings of Mother India like me. I can’t bear the thought of living like nothing if they are all suffering from hunger and poverty. To give independence to my people, I will sacrifice my life if necessary’, Phadke’s words written in his diary show his undying patriotism.