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 Balakrishna Shivaram Moonje

Bombay, Maharashtra

June 07, 2022 to June 07, 2023

Dr. Balakrishna Shivaram Moonje was born on 12th December 1872 in Bilaspur(Current day Chhattisgarh). He completed his medical degree from Grant Medical College, Bombay in 1898. He left his position as a Medical Officer in the Bombay Municipal Corporation, and after contributing to other fields, he decided to dedicate his entire life to India’s freedom struggle.

Dr. Moonje established the Responsive Co-operation Party.

One of the many fields that Dr. Monnje contributed to and that intrigued him was the military. His ambition was to start a military school at Nasik, where children of the soil can be given military training and be taught to play their part bravely on the battlefield and to infuse the British virtues in them without anglicizing them or demoralizing them.

In the same view, he had started the Bhonsala Military School at Nasik.

He wanted the students of this institution to have the ambition to conquest and at the same time be endowed with the power of eloquence and diplomacy.

In a speech given on August 18th, 1930, he cited the world affairs at that time, he mentioned the war going on in various places (Spain and the far east) and deliberated on the clouds of a major war hanging over the world, and that Indians could not overlook their defence in this situation.
In one of his speeches, he said, "every boy should be given physical and military training and not from the communal point of view, but a national point of view".

Another area where Dr. Monnje found special interest, was annihilating the caste difference in society, he figured out the prominent Brahmin participation in responsive society and encouraged the non-Brahmins to participate in elections.

In his speech at the Ansari Park, Bezwada, Dr. Moonje stated that He considered military training for the Hindus the only solution to destroy the caste system. In the pursuit of the same virtues, he spoke at Surat and various other places, pointing out the absence of the caste system in Britain and the eventual benefit that the British derive from it.

Moonje Thanked, Sir Philip Chetwode, commander in chief of the British army, who was seen to have taken interest in the military training school of Moonje, as Sir Philip expressed the opinion that Indians were capable of becoming a first-class martial race.

In August of 1930, he gave a speech in Poona in which he advised students to seize the lathis of policemen non-violently if they are charged by them.

The total estimated cost of the Bhonsala Military school was 3 Lakh rupees, as of July 22nd, 1936, to which the Maharaja of Gwalior donated 1,00,000. Dr. Balakrishna Shivaram Moonje,  lived a life, in which he aimed to strengthen the cause of building a strong youth force, that would contribute to the Indian war of Independence. He passed on 3rd March 1948