Lahuji Raghoji Salve (14 November, 1794 – 17 February 1881), also known as “Aadhyakrantiveer”, “Krantiguru”, Krantiveer Lahuji Vaastad Raghoji Salve, Krantiveer Lahujibuwa Salve, was an activist, thinker, social reformer and revolutionary from Maharashtra. Lahuji is also referred to as Lahujibuwa Mang, since he was from the Dalit Mang community or Adya Krantikarak since he was the mentor of Vasudev Balwant Phadke who is known as the father of Indian armed struggle.
As a child, Lahuji witnessed a war between the Peshwas and the British at Khadki in 1817. Raghoji, his father, died at that war and Lahuji saw his execution.On 17 November 1817, Pune went into the hands of the British from that day, he swore to make the British leave India. He started training youngsters to use swords, patta, and to fight with bare hands. He believed that if people are trained in war tactics, only then will they be able to wipe out the organised British army. He trained freedom fighters, Vasudev Balvant Phadke and Lokmanya Tilak were some of them. He died on 17 February 1881 aged 86.
Even though Lahuji acted as a mentor to some of the prominent Indian freedom fighters, there is much less information available on the works of Lahuji. The legacy of Lahuji is alive in the form of various government sponsored physical education and social reform related initiatives. A shrine built by Lahuji to honour his father, at Wakdewadi in Pune was demolished by the municipal corporation of Pune for roads expansion work. Lahuji had built the memorial at the place where he had taken an oath to give his life for the cause of Indian freedom struggle. The shrine was known as Mangir Baba, mispronunciation of Mang Veer Baba (The brave Mang) shrine. This caused major uproar in the Mang community and got Lahuji and Raghoji in news for some time. He will always be remembered as a great freedom fighter in the Indian history.
Lahuji Raghoji Salve is also called the first freedom fighter of India. He supported the Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule to establish the first girls school in Pune.
Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil
Dr. Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil was born on 22 September, 1887 at Kumbhoj, in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. His native place is Aitawade Budruk., Dist. Sangli. He came from the tenacious Jain family but rejected its rigorous religious rites and fought all his life against the social ills that impede the secularist growth of society. During his school days, he came under the direct influence of the then king of Kolhapur, Rajarshi Chh. Shahu Maharaj who was a staunch advocate of social equality and great promoter of education for the backward communities of Maharashtra. Another great social reformer from whom, he drew inspiration was Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. While working at Ogales, Kirloskars and Coopers, Bhaurao would save his time to devote himself to the activities of Satya-Shodhak Samaj.He would perform Satya Shodhaki Jalasas in the villages of Maharashtra and awaken the people to the dire consequences of the social evils of the time.He realised that the social ills could be remedied through the education of the masses alone and so laid the foundation of the Rayat Shikshan Sanstha by opening a Boarding House at Kale (Tal-Karad, Dist-Satara) in 1919. Soon, however, in 1924 he shifted the head-quarters of his educational institution to Satara.
It is a significant coincidence that Mahatma Gandhi’s Freedom Movement and Bhaurao Patil’s Mass-Education Movement started functioning at about the same time in the year 1920. Bhaurao first saw Gandhiji at a public meeting in Bombay, in 1921. He was stunned to see Gandhiji only in a loin-cloth at the huge rally. So deeply was he impressed that he resolved to wear khadi for the rest of his life. Mahatma Gandhi was struggling hard to attain the political freedom for the country. Karmaveer Bhaurao was rebellious by temperament but revered freedom. Bhaurao was uncertain as to whether political freedom or social reforms should receive prime concern, till the Kameri Satyagraha of 1930, but thereafter he devoted himself fully to the cause of mass education. In his view, education is the means to empower the masses to enjoy the fruits of freedom and to emancipate them from social, economic and cultural slavery.