Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Vithal Anant Rairikar

Pune, Maharashtra

May 22, 2023 to May 22, 2024

Vithal Anant Rairikar was a social activist from Uravda village in Bhor who had significant influence beyond its borders due to his property ownership in Bhauli of Haveli Taluka.

Rairikar's activism began in the early 1920s with his participation in the Mulshi Satyagraha, a farmer's protest against the construction of the Mulshi Dam. Despite the protest not being a complete success, the farmers received rather fair compensation for their land. Rairikar's involvement and dedication in the protest did not go unnoticed. Subsequently, during the Civil Disobedience Movement of the 1930s, Rairikar took his commitment to the next level by sending a notice to the District Magistrate of Poona declaring that he, along with hundreds of his followers, would break the unjust Forest Laws by cutting down the trees. Consequently, he was convicted under the forest laws and sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment in June 1930. However, his imprisonment did not dampen his commitment to the cause. Rairikar was friendly with Kuldish Mane of Bhor and frequently visited the Bhor state for agitation. His intense agitation made him a dangerous man in the eyes of British officials. Despite the risks and challenges, Rairikar persisted in his activism and earned the reputation of a successful propagandist and instigator from the British.

Vithal Anant Rairikar, a resident of Uravda village, actively participated in the Mulshi Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement, displaying commitment to farmers' rights and opposition to unjust forest laws, which led to his imprisonment and earned him a reputation as a dedicated activist.