India’s Brave Revolutionaries

21 Jun 2019  Fri

22nd June 1897 is a day when Brothers Damodar Hari Chapekar and Balkrishna Hari Chapekar assassinated a British official W.C. Rand and his military escort Lieutenant Ayerst at Pune, Maharashtra. This was regarded as the first case of militant nationalism in India after the 1857 Revolt.< br>
It was around 1896, Pune was hit by a year-long Bubonic plague. A Special Plague Committee, headed by an Indian Civil Service officer named W.C. Rand was formed to deal with this issue. The committee resorted to oppressive measures such as entering private houses forcefully, evacuation to hospitals, destroying personal information and restricting movement from the city.

W.C. Rand and his military escort Lt. Ayerst continued with their nasty ways to deal with the emergency even after several complaints were registered. This led to wider spread resentment against the two officers.

On 22nd June 1897, the British monarch Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee celebrations were being held at Pune. These two officers were attending the celebrations at the Government House. Carrying weapons with them, Damodar, the eldest and Balkrishna waited for Rand’s carriage to pass by a selected spot on Ganeshkhind Road. Damodar Hari Chapekar shot W.C. Rand at around midnight, and he died on 8th July 1897.

Damodar was arrested and sentenced to death. No Indian would ever forget the sacrifices of Krantiveer Damodar Hari Chapekar and the new postage stamp is a fitting tribute to the great freedom fighter.

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