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6 things to know about Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the man who founded RSS

Dr Hedgewar brought a new dimension to the process of nation building

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Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar

Born on April 1, 1889, Nagpur

Founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

It was on April 1, 1889 that Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was born in Nagpur of Maharashtra. Popularly known as Doctorji, Dr Hedgewar is the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India’s most powerful social organization which has influential stake in the power mechanism of more than 23 states in India.  Even though he was born on April 1, according to the English calendar, his followers celebrate his birth anniversary according to the Indian calendar.

Born to Baliram Pant Hedgewar and Revati, Hedgewar had a phenomenal life which culminated with the establishment of India’s largest nationalistic organization known as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). While he was studying in the high school, Hedgewar was known for his nationalistic credentials and dared to spread the message of freedom despite the challenges posed by the British Indian-loyalists.

With an aim to take the nation to the pinnacle of national glory, Dr Hedgewar founded Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on the Vijayadashami day of 1925

He had to walk out from Neel City High School in Nagpur for singing “Vande Mataram” as he violated a circular issued by the British government.

Here’re six things you should know about the exceptional activist who happened to be the visionary behind modern Hindutva movement in the country.

Post matriculation, Hedgewar had gone to West Bengal to pursue medical studies. That’s how Hedgewar became Dr Hedgewar.

Dr Hedgewar was actively associated with the activities of Indian National Congress. But he was terribly disappointed with many of their policies in nation building

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak , Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, and B S Moonje had profound influence in Dr Hedgewar’s thoughts

Dr Hedgewar thought that only internal transformation in a man leads to ultimate freedom, and he presented an alternative way of nation building with the ideals of India’s cultural heritage

With an aim to take the nation to the pinnacle of national glory, Dr Hedgewar founded Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on the Vijayadashami day of 1925

Dr Hedgewar died on June 21, 1940 in Nagpur

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History

Name, 'Azad'; father’s name 'Swatantrata'. All you need to know about Chandra Shekhar Azad

Azad was prolific in his political career, strongly believed that revolution was the need of the hour to liberate Mother India from the British

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Image Credit: Amitbugg/Wikimedia Commons/ CC-BY-SA-3.0

Chandra Shekhar Azad was one of the most vibrant and influential Indic revolutionaries India has ever seen. Born on July 23, 1906, he was the leader who gave a new dimension to India’s revolutionary movement, commanding it systematically through Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).

Born in Bhavra village of Madhya Pradesh as Chandra Shekhar Tiwari, he was inspired by the activities of Mohandas Gandhi at his teens, joining the non-cooperation movement and got arrested. At the age of 15 Azad stunned the British when his case came before the magistrate in 1921.

The magistrate asked his name; Chandra Shekhar gave it as Azad, which means ‘the free’. And his father’s name Swatantrata, which implies ‘independence’. Then what about his residence, the brave boy gave it as ‘jail’. That’s the story behind the transformation of Chandra Shekhar Tiwari as Chandra Shekhar Azad.

Azad was prolific in his political career, strongly believed that the need of the hour was to fight the British with arms in his hands. Realising that the way he handled the revolutionary activities would impact how future young patriots approached the independent struggle, he handed down a legacy of sacrificing life at the altar of motherland.

He was also an inspiration for legendary Indic patriot Bhagat Singh

Azad’s encounter with Ram Prasad Bismil, a solid Arya Samajist and revolutionary who co-founded the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was the turning point. Bismil was heavily impressed with Azad and his fearless commitment to the great national purpose.

Azad had been actively involved in the activities of HRA; he led the young patriots in an unparalleled manner and became a national hero. He was also an inspiration for legendary Indic patriot Bhagat Singh.

Azad’s role was evident in the famous Kakori Train Robbery of 1925. He also took part in the attack against the Viceroy of India’s train in 1926. To avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the mainstream leaders of India’s independent movement, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Azad planned the shooting of J P Saunders in Lahore in 1928.  Saunders was a British police official who’s responsible for the brutal attack against Lala Lajpat Rai.

The sacrifice

It was on 27 February 1931 the British police got information from an unknown source that Azad was stationed at Alfred Park in Allahabad. Surrounding the park, the police went on for him, but bravely Azad defended, killing three policemen Azad shot himself dead with his last bullet in his pistol.

As a tribute to the great patriot, Alfred was renamed as Chandra Shekhar Azad Park. He is remembered with Chandra Shekhar Azad Memorial at the park.

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Culture

Here’s the palace built for Aswathi Thirunal Umayamma, popularly known as Umayamma Rani

Koyikkal Palace was built for Umayamma Rani, the regent of Venad between 1677 and 1684

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Situated at Nedumangadu, Thiruvananthapuram district, in South Indian state of Kerala, Koyikkal Palace Museum opened for public post refurbishment in the last week of May.  The architectural marvel has opened after four years of renovation.

Reflecting the affluent culture of Kerala, the palace was built in the 16th century, marking the traditional Kerala ‘nalukettu’ style. It’s a double storeyed palace built for the regent of Venad Royal family, Umayamma Rani. She was the regent of Venad from 1677 to 1684.

The renovated Koyikkal Palace

A Folklore Museum and Numismatics Museum make the palace more intriguing for history lovers.

Since 1980, the Archaeology Department of Kerala has been maintaining the palace, and it is touted as a tourist destination too. The Museum has got exceptional stuff including rare ancient coins, traditional music instruments, weapons and a wide range of folklore objects.

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Not a mere sepoy; Mangal Pandey was the man who sparked off the great rebellion of 1857

Mangal Pandey was the man who sparked off the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Here’s what you need to know about the great ‘sepoy’ when we celebrate the 161th anniversary of the great rebellion of 1857

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One of the most inspiring figures in the Indian independence movement and widely known as the man behind the great rebellion of 1857, Mangal Pandey became a symbol of India’s rage against the British.

Pandey was a sepoy (soldier) with the 34th Bengal Native Infantry regiment of the infamous British East India Company. A hero for the Indian masses, he successfully played a crucial role in the unrest that resulted in the rebellion of 1857, which became a turning point in India’s struggle for independence.

The unrest against the British East Company turned intense when they had come up with the norm of using cartridges that made up of cow and pig fat. This was something unacceptable for both the Hindus and Muslims for religious reasons. Mangal Pandey was working at the Bengal Infantry in Barrackpore then.

The protests had no result. Finally Mangal Pandey decided to challenge the British with the arms in his hands. Mangal Pandey had succeeded in gaining the support of Indian soldiers against the inhuman actions of the British East India Company’s army.

Savarkar’s work, The Indian War of Independence, 1857, had become a sacred book for the nationalists across India to lead their struggle against the invaders

On March 29, 1857 Pandey dared to fire Lieutenant Baugh, the Adjutant of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, but he missed the shot. The valiant effort by Pandey had paved the way for Sepoy Mutiny, and he was sentenced to death bu the British.

Pandey was hanged on April 8, 1857 by the British. In 1909, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar published a book named The Indian War of Independence, 1857, which celebrated the sacrifice of Mangal Pandey and the Sepoy Mutiny as two path-breaking events to inspire the revolutionary movements in India. Savarkar’s work had become a sacred book for the nationalists across India to lead their struggle against the invaders.

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