Thursday, December 30, 2010

Senapati Bapat

Pandurang Mahadev Bapat
(November 12, 1880 – November 28, 1967), popularly known as Senapati Bapat, was a major figure in the Indian independence movement.

Educated in Edinburgh, Bapat learned bomb-making skills during his association with the India House in London, although he later claimed that none of his bombs ever killed anyone, but were rather intended solely to draw attention to the cause. Despite these claims, he was suspected of involvement in the deaths in the Alipore bomb case of 1908, and he went underground for four years.

While in hiding, Bapat travelled the country, and discovered that the majority of the Indian population did not realize that their country was under foreign rule. At this point, his focus shifted from overthrowing the British government to educating the population. After four years of teaching, he was captured and imprisoned - the first of three jail sentences he served. His second jail sentence was for vandalism of the Tata Mulshi Dam construction project in defense of those whose homes were threatened by the dam; rather than be captured for this, he turned himself in. His third jail sentence was for speaking at a public gathering held by Subhash Chandra Bose.

On August 15, 1947 - Indian Independence Day - Bapat was given the honor of raising the Indian national flag over the city of Pune for the first time. A famous public road in Pune as well as in Mumbai are named in his honour.

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