In an attempt to highlight the contribution of the Congress in the freedom movement, the city unit of the party is planning to mark a 75-year-old historic incident, when freedom fighter Narayan Dabhade was killed by the British during the launch of the Quit India movement. The Hutatma Narayan Dabhade Pratishthan — which headed by Dhananjay Dabhade, the nephew of Narayan Dabhade and general secretary in the Congress’s city unit — and the Itihaas Premi Mandal have joined hands to ‘recreate’ the incident, which took place on August 9, 1942, at the Congress Bhavan. “It is unfortunate that the sacrifice by Narayan Dabhade has not received its due importance. Dabhade was 17 years old when he was killed. He was the first martyr after the Quit India Movement was launched and five years later, the country finally got independence,” said historian Mohan Shete, chief of the Itihaas Premi Mandal.
He rued that when even Puneites seemed to be unaware of the incident, how could the rest of the country know about it. “The Itihaas Premi Mandal has been holding functions to highlight the historical incident… I realised that this is the 75th death anniversary of Narayan Dabhade and the right time to bring it to the public eye,” said Shete. To mark the occasion, a play with 50 artistes would be staged at the Congress Bhavan on Wednesday.
“The Congress Bhavan is the building where the historical incident took place. So, we decided to organise the play at the same location,” said Shete, adding that Dabhade was killed at 3.30 pm on August 9, and the play would be performed at the same time.
The organisers have sent invitations to authorities of schools and colleges located close to the Congress Bhavan. Four programmes have been organised to mark the anniversary of Dabhade’s martyrdom. Floral tributes are going to be paid at the Suvarnakar Samaj cultural hall at 9 am, and at the Congress Bhavan at 10 am.
A function will be held at a memorial near the College of Military Engineering at 11 am, and the play would be staged at Congress Bhavan at 3.30 pm.
“The present generation is not aware of the contribution of Dabhade in the freedom struggle. August 9 is observed as Kranti Din and the politicians merely pay floral tributes,” said Dhananjay Dabhade. He said all the members of the Dabhade family were active in the freedom struggle,
but were “ignored after independence”. “We are mainly suvarnakars or goldsmiths and I continue to be in that profession. The family of Dabhade, who were part of the freedom struggle, were not given the credit they deserved,” said Dabhade.
Congress leaders, meanwhile, admitted that the event provided the party a good opportunity to “bounce back in the public limelight”. In the civic, state and parliamentary elections held in the past three years, the Congress has recorded its worst performance, and has been looking for a way to revive its fortunes. “The contribution of Congress in the freedom struggle needs to be conveyed to the new generation, who are unaware of the facts. Highlighting the historical incident would enable the Congress to reach out to the new generation and make them aware of its contribution to the freedom movement; it will also inculcate patriotism,” said Ramesh Iyer, general secretary of the city Congress. He said the event would “infuse new energy among party workers and certainly help the party revive itself”.