World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Vasudev Balwant Phadke

Vasudev Balwant Phadke
Vasudev Balwant Phadke bust in Mumbai
Born (1845-11-04)4 November 1845
Shirdhon village, Panvel taluka, Raigad district in Maharashtra (India)
Died 17 February 1883(1883-02-17) (aged 37)


Vasudeo Balwant Phadke (   ) (4 November 1845 – 17 February 1883) was an Indian Freedom Fighter who sought India's independence from British. Phadke was moved by the plight of the farmer community during British Raj. Phadke believed that Swaraj was the only remedy for their ills. With the help of Kolis, Bhils and Dhangars communities in Maharastra, Vasudev formed a revolutionary group of Ramoshi. The group started an armed struggle to overthrow the British Raj. The group launched raids on rich English businessmen to obtain funds for their liberation struggle. Phadke came into limelight when he got control of the city of Pune for a few days when he caught the British soldiers off guard during one of his surprise attacks.


  • Early years 1
    • Co-founder of Maharashtra Education Society 1.1
  • Rebellion 2
  • Capture and death 3
  • Differences 4
  • Recognition 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7

Early years

Phadke was born on 4 November 1845 in Shirdhon village of Panvel taluka based in Raigad district in Maharashtra state. As a child he preferred learning skills like wrestling, riding over high school education and dropped out of school. Eventually he moved to Pune and took the job as a clerk with military accounts department in Pune[1] for 15 years. Krantiveer Lahuji Vastad Salve a then prominent social figure based in Pune was his mentor. Salve, an expert wrestler, operated a TALIM (training center for wrestling). Salve preached the importance of independence from British Raj. Salve belonged to the Mang community, an untouchable community, taught Phadke the importance of getting backward castes into mainstream freedom movement.[2] It was during this period that Phadke began attending lectures by Mahadeo Govind Ranade which mainly focused on how the British Raj policies hurt the Indian economy. Phadke was deeply hurt by how this was leading to widespread suffering in the society. In 1870, he joined a public agitation in Pune that was aimed at addressing people's grievances. Phadke founded an institution, the Aikya Vardhini Sabha, to educate the youth. While working as clerk, he was not able to see his dying mother due to the delay in approval of his leave. This incident enraged Phadke and happened to be the turning point in his life [3]

Co-founder of Maharashtra Education Society

Three social reformers and revolutionaries Phadke, Laxman Narhar Indapurkar and Waman Prabhakar Bhave in 1860 formed the Poona Native Institution, which later came to be known as Maharashtra Education Society. Later he established the Bhave School in Pune through this and thus set the foundation for the nation’s education. The society runs Abasaheb Garware College, MES Perugate Bhave School, Vimalabai Garware School and Rani Laxmibai Girls' Military School and other such 51 educational institutes in six districts.[4]


In 1875, after the then Shirur taluka in Pune district. The income tax which was collected for British Raj was kept in the house of local business man Mr. Balchand Fojmal Sankla. They attacked the house and took the money for the benefit of famine stricken villagers. There they collected about four hundred rupees but this led to his being branded as a dacoit. To save himself Phadke had to flee from village to village, sheltered by his sympathisers and well-wishers, mostly the lower class of the society. Impressed by his zeal and determination, the villagers of Nanagaum offered him protection and cover in the local forest. The general plot would be to cut off all the communications of British forces and then raid the treasury. The main purpose of these raids was to feed famine-affected farmer communities. Phadke performed many such raids in areas near Shirur and Khed talukas in Pune.

Meanwhile, the leader of Ramoshi, Daulatrav Naik, who was the main supporter of Phadke, headed towards the Konkan area on the western coast. On 10-11 May 1879, they raided Palaspe and Chikhali, looting around 1.5 lakh rupees. While returning towards Ghat Matha, Major Daniel attacked Naik, who was shot dead. His death was a setback to Phadke's revolt: the loss of support forced him to move south to the Shri Shaila Mallikarjun shrine. Later, Phadke recruited about 500 Rohilas to begin a fresh fight.[5]

Capture and death

Phadke's plans to organize several simultaneously attacks against the British Raj nationwide were met with very limited success. He once had a direct engagement with the Kaladgi [1] on 20 July 1879 while he was on his way to Pandharpur.[6]

From here he was taken to Pune for trial. Ganesh Vasudeo Joshi, also known as Sarvajanik Kaka, defended his case. [7] Phadke and his comrades were housed in the district session court jail building, near Sangam bridge, which now happens to be the state C.I.D. building. His own diary provided evidence to have him sentenced for life. Phadke was transported to jail at Aden, but escaped from the prison by taking the door off from its hinges on 13 February 1883. But his escape was too short lived: he was recaptured and put back in prison. Phadke then went on a hunger strike to death. On 17 February 1883 Phadke breathed his last breath as a result of his protest hunger strike.[8]


Vasudev sought help from many prominent people of his time to help achieve his goals. One of these was Swami Samarth Maharaj in Akkalkot, Solapur district of Maharastra. Swamiji saw this revolution with a different perspective and said that the time was not right for an armed revolution and then asked another devotee to place Phadke's sword on a tree, indicating that Phadke shouldn't fight the war, but Phadke took the sword from the tree and left


Phadke became known as the father of the Indian armed rebellion in that he provided the inspiration for fellow freedom fighters. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's patriotic novel Anand Math incorporated various contemporary acts of patriotism performed by Phadke during his freedom struggle. As the British government did not like this, Bankim had to print up to five editions of the book to tone down these stories.[9]

In 1984, the Indian Postal Service issued a 50 paise stamp in honour of Phadke.[10] A chowk in South Mumbai near Metro Cinema is named in his honour.

The Thanale-Khadsamble caves where Phadke took refuge to escape from British, are about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Nadsur village near Pali.[11]

Vasudev Balawant Phadke, a Marathi movie directed by Gajendra Ahire, was released in December 2007.

See also


  1. ^ a b Report on the Administration of the Bombay Presidency. p. 36. 
  2. ^ O'Hanlon, Rosalind (2002). Caste, Conflict and Ideology:: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and low caste protest in nineteenth-century western India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 110.  
  3. ^ Khan, Mohammad. Tilak and Gokhale: A Comparative Study of Their Socio-politico-economic Programmes of Reconstruction–. p. 3. 
  4. ^ DNA Correspondent (18 November 2009). "Celebrations as MES turns 150". DNS Syndication. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ mahan bharatiy krantikarak pratham parv 1770–1900 – by jhambare
  6. ^ Hunter, William. The Imperial Gazetteer of India. p. 391. 
  7. ^ Rao, Parimala V. (24 January 2009). "New Insights into the Debates on Rural Indebtedness in 19th Century Deccan" (PDF). Economic & Political Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio. Dattātreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatāra : a Study of the Tranformative and Inclusive Character of a Multi-faceted Hindo Deity. p. 167. 
  9. ^ Das, Sisir (1991). A History of Indian Literature. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 213.  
  10. ^
  11. ^ Gunaji, Milind (2003). Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. p. 228.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.