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

Dr. Dattatreya Vinayak Patwardhan

Ahmednagar, Maharashtra

May 22, 2023 to May 22, 2024

Dr. Dattatreya Vinayak Patwardhan was a prominent figure in the Indian freedom movement. He was a doctor by profession, but his unique style of addressing and inspiring people for national causes in a religious way made him one of the most famous kirtankars (Psalmodist) of his time.

During the Quit India movement, Dr. Patwardhan delivered religious sermons at Ahmednagar and urged the audience to be national-minded and to be prepared to answer the call of the nation. He asked them to encourage national industries and boycott British goods. Dr. Patwardhan believed that the Indian people should take control of their destiny and work towards achieving independence. In addition to his political activism, Dr. Patwardhan was also known for his inspiring kirtans. Along with other famous kirtankars, he glorified the heroic deeds of Rani Laxmibai, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Damodar Chapekar, and others. He preached Swadeshism, the idea that Indians should use locally-made products instead of relying on foreign goods. However, Dr. Patwardhan's political activism led to his prosecution by the British authorities. During the annual religious festival at Limb in Satara on April 8, 1933, Dr. Patwardhan performed kirtan to inspire people to muster unity for the cause of independence. He was prosecuted for this act, but he remained committed to the cause of Indian independence and continued to work toward it in his way. On August 21, 1934, Dr. Patwardhan performed kirtan at Bavdan in Wai, where he touched on political subjects.

In conclusion, Dr. Dattatreya Vinayak Patwardhan actively participated in the Indian freedom movement as a prominent kirtankar. His speeches and religious sermons aimed to inspire nationalistic sentiments and promote self-reliance, but his involvement in political activism led to prosecution by the British authorities.