The Chapekar brothers – Damodar Hari Chapekar (1870-1898), Balkrishna Hari Chapekar (1873-1899, also called Bapurao) and Vasudeo Hari Chapekar (1879-1899, Wasudev) were Indian revolutionary freedom fighters involved in the assassination of W. C. Rand, the British plague commissioner of Pune.
Chaphekar Wada is the residential home of the Chapekar Brothers. The four freedom fighters – Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudev Hari Chapekar were hanged in Pune for killing British official Walter Charles Rand on June 22, 1897.
Till 1997, the wada’s condition was deteriorating. Then a Chaphekar Smarak Samiti was formed for the reconstruction of the wada. Construction and development was started and on April 2005, the wada was restored to its former glory.
Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation and Chaphekar Smarak Samiti contributed to the reconstruction of the wada.The Chapekar brothers belonged to Poona in Maharashtra and under the influence of Lokmanya Tilak they engaged themselves in revolutionary activities.
The Chapekar brothers initially belonged to Chapa, a small village near Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, India. In late 1896, Pune was hit by bubonic plague, part of the global Third plague pandemic. By the end of February 1897, the epidemic was raging, with a mortality rate double the norm. Half the population of the city left.
A Special Plague Committee was formed, under the chairmanship of W. C. Rand, an Indian Civil Services officer. Troops were brought in to deal with the emergency. The measures employed included forced entry into private houses, forced stripping and examination of occupants (including women) by British officers in public, evacuation to hospitals and segregation camps, removing and destroying personal possessions, and preventing movement from the city. These measures were considered oppressive by the populace of Pune and complaints were ignored by Rand.
On June 22, 1897, the three brothers set out to kill British officer Walter Charles Rand who had handled the plague in Pune in a very rude manner.A plan was drawn up, but because of a slight misunderstanding in the codes, another police officer Lt Charles Ayrest was shot by Balkrishna Chapekar.
However, Damodar Chapekar then shot Rand dead on Ganeshkhind road. Eventually, Damodar, his brothers and their friend Mahadev Ranade were caught and hanged. The third Chapekar brother, Vasudeva, then killed Ganesh Shankar Dravid, the man who helped the British arrest Damodar and Balkrishna.
The Chapekar brothers received little formal education, but in the company of freedom fighter they would hear kirtans, travel and witnessing darbar of great princes and meet eminent scholars; all sources of knowledge far more enriching than a few examinations passed in school.
Chapekar Smarak Samiti (CSS), a memorial to the brothers located adjacent to the Chapekar wada in Chinchwadgaon, is being built along with a museum on the revolutionaries.
At Chaphekar Wada, you can see the various things used at that time. Such as:
- Devghar made by Hari Chaphekar Father of Damodar Chaphekar
- Pictorial representation of the Life of the Chaphekar Brothers
- Swords used by various freedom fighters
- Guns used by freedom fighters