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Pandurang Mahadev Bapat

(1880 – 1967) – (Maharashtra)

Pandurang Mahadev Bapat (Aged 87) born in 1880, was a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement, popularly known as Senapati Bapat for his leadership during the Mulshi Satyagraha. He belonged to a Marathi Chitpawan family and was born on 12 November 1880 in Parner, with his family originally hailing from Ratnagiri. He was educated at Deccan College and then received a government scholarship to study engineering in Britain, where he became associated with India House and learned bomb-making skills. Bapat returned to India and shared his knowledge with others, including the Savarkar brothers.

After the Alipore bombing in 1908, Bapat traveled around India and found that most people did not realize that their country was under foreign rule, leading him to shift his focus to educating the population. He was arrested in connection with the bombing in 1912 and was sentenced to prison. After his release in 1915, Bapat joined the staff of Mahratta and was one of several influential figures aligned with Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s attempts to establish local organizations supporting the cause of Indian independence.

Later, Bapat re-aligned himself with Gandhi’s vision of swaraj and took the Gandhian oath of non-violence, although he remained willing to use force when necessary. From 1921, he led the three-year farmers’ protest (Satyagraha) against the construction of the Mulshi Dam by the Tata Company, which eventually failed. Bapat was jailed for vandalism of the construction project and for speaking at a public gathering held by Subhash Chandra Bose. He passed away in 1967. In 1977, the Indian government issued a postage stamp to commemorate him.