Sambhaji Brigade pulls down Ram Ganesh Gadkari's statue from Pune's Sambhaji Garden

The municipal corporation election in 10 municipal corporation including Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad will be held in the next two months and the political drama begins in the first week of new Year 2017. Late on Monday night at around 2.30 am, the karyakartas (organisation workers) of Sambhaji Brigade outfit pulled down Marathi poet and playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari's statue from Sambhaji Udyan, Jungali Maharaj road, Pune.

The Sambhaji Brigade has taken responsibility for the incident; office bearers of the Sambhaji Brigade claim that in Gadkari's historical books, King Sambhaji is shown in a bad light. In the play Rajsanyas, references to Sambhaji are considered insulting to the stature of the king.

On Monday, more than 10 karyakartas of Sambhaji Brigade entered Pune's municipal garden and pulled out Gadkari's statue and threw it into the Mutha river.

 Sambhaji Brigade pulls down Ram Ganesh Gadkaris statue from Punes Sambhaji Garden

Ram Ganesh Gadkari. Image Courtesy: Poet's website

Sambhaji Brigade is an aggressive and strong outfit in rural Maharashtra and they recently took part in organising the recent Maratha Kranti Morcha across Maharashtra.

Recently, Sambhaji Brigade formed a political party and will be contesting in the forthcoming municipal election. The outfit is more than four decades old and remains to be the only Maratha outfit with Balasaheb Sarote has their newly appointed president. Leaders like Pravin Gaikwad, Ajay Bhosale and others joined the peasants and workers party of India of 12 January, 2016.

Talking to Firstpost, Gaikwad took the the responsibility for the removal of Gadkari's statue from the gardens. "In the last 10 years we demanded that the scene in Gadkari's Rajsanyas play be changed but nobody has been willing to do it. We are proud of the four brigade karyakartas who did this job, he said adding that the play depicts Sambhaji's characters as that of a drunk insulting the king's stature.

Talking to Firstpost a police officer on duty at the Deccan Gymkhana police station said that a complaint has been lodged but an FIR is yet to be lodged and the process is currently going on. Police officials on the spot also took the records of security guards on duty during the night of the incident. CCTV footage is also being monitored and till now nobody from Sambhaji Brigade has been arrested so far, said senior official.

Sources confirmed to Firstpost that Pradip Kanse, Harshvardhan Magdum, Swapnil Kale and Ganesh Karle are lead suspects in committing the felony — all four names are shown on Sambhaji Brigade website. A video has also been in circulation in which Swapnil Kale and Ganesh Karle are seen taking the responsibility for the incident.

An interesting aspect of this is that the Sambhaji Brigade is quite popular in Pune, Pimpari-Chinchwad, Nashik, Solapur, Akola and the Brigade is contesting the forthcoming election from those regions. It makes this a political issue highlighting the Bhandarkar Institute episode, which was a turning point in 2004. Due to the removal of the Gadkari statue, police presence has increased in the Sambhaji garden and other places of significance in Pune.

Who is Gadkari?

Ram Ganesh Gadkari was born on 24 May, 1885 in the town of Ganadevi in Navsari district of Gujarat. He died at Savner near Nagpur on 23 January, 1919.

He is well-known writer, poet and play writer. He completed Ekach Pyala, Premsanyas, Punyaprabhav and Bhavbandhan. The unfinished plays of Gadkari are Garv Nirvan, Vedyancha Bajar and Rajsanyas.

The statue was put up in the garden on 23 January, 1962 by well-known writer and journalist Prahlad Keshav Atre.

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Updated Date: Jan 03, 2017 13:59:57 IST