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Home Capture Memories Read contributions Major Events Pre-1950 Gandhi Assassination Backlash in Satara by Arvind Kolhatkar
Gandhi Assassination Backlash in Satara by Arvind Kolhatkar Print E-mail
arvind kolhatkar

Arvind Kolhatkar spent his childhood in Satara, and later studied at Fergusson College, Pune and the University of Pune. After getting his MA in Mathematics, he joined the Indian Revenue Service, served in the Income Tax Department for about 30 years, rose to the rank of Commissioner, and retired voluntarily. He was an Executive Director of the Bombay Stock Exchange for 3 years. He and his wife Aruna currently live in Toronto. His email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on January 30, 1948. Godse was a Maharashtrian Brahmin, like my family. Soon, a mass anti-Brahmin madness engulfed many parts of Maharashtra, particularly the districts south of and including Pune. Perhaps this anger was the culmination of decades of tension between the Brahmins and other castes. In any case, angry mobs pillaged, burnt and looted the homes of hundreds of innocent Brahmin families, and many people were killed. All on the baseless assumption that all Brahmins were complicit in the assassination of the Father of the Nation.

I want to illustrate this well-recorded history by describing how my family suffered.

77 Shukrawar Peth Satara

I was five years old. We lived in Satara, about 110 km south of Pune. Our home, 77 Shukrawar Peth, was located in an area in which most of the residents were non- Brahmins. We always had the most cordial relations with our neighbours; nevertheless, we were not spared by the mobs.

On February 1, 1948, my mother was preparing to serve lunch at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Unexpectedly, a large mob descended upon our home. My grandfather, Hari Tatya, his younger brother, the famous actor Chintamanrao Kolhatkar, my mother and we children were the only persons in the house.

The mob politely asked my grandfather, as the oldest member of the family, to leave the house along with the family. The mob wanted to burn down our home. One miscreant very quietly and in real kindness addressed me as Bala (child) and asked me to go outside, as ‘otherwise I might be hurt!'

Argument was futile. All of us came out of the house and sat across on the other side of the road. The mob systematically smashed the furniture in our home. Then they destroyed the printing press and the type in our family business next door. Next, they threw lighted balls of kerosene-soaked paper onto the wooden beams of the house.

This went on for some time. Suddenly a shout went up that the police were approaching. Without waiting to check whether this was true, the mob melted away. Our neighbours came to our help, and put out the fire with water from a nearby stream. None of us suffered any bodily harm.

The Government gave us some cash compensation and a loan for the loss of furniture and machinery. It was difficult for my family to repay the loan. In the 1950s, one of the early actions of Y.B. Chavan on becoming the Chief Minister was to write off this and similar other loans.

It may be hard to believe but there is a funny side to this story. As was common in Maharashtra those days, our daily staple was Bhakri (unleavened bread) made from Jowar, a coarse grain. I did not like Bhakri, and loved wheat chapattis, which we got only once a week, on Sundays. Those were the days of post-war shortages and food rationing. After our home was burnt, my family decided that we children should spend the next few days with another family called Agte. Though they lived just a few doors away from us, their home had not been burnt. I remember that I was unmindful of the calamity we were in. Instead, I was secretly pleased at the thought of spending a few days with the Agtes because I had a belief that they ate chapattis every day!


© Arvind Kolhatkar 2009

Comments
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kedar   |2012-12-25
true
Sushrut   |2013-01-11
Do you have any data available on how many people were arrested for these
crimes? How many of them were INC workers?
D M Prabhudesai   |2014-09-21
The Question is useless, as the writer has mentioned he was Five Years old that
time. Do you expect he will know the political info of that time ?
Gurmeetsingh Mehtab   |2013-01-30
yes, I have heard of such stories from my mother who had brahmin friends, whose
families had suffered due to the riots after Gandhi assasination.
Raj   |2013-05-13
People talk about 1984 sikh riots by Congress, but nobody talks about the
killings after Gandhi assassination. That is called selective amnesia.
Ketan   |2014-01-12
Post your comments here.
Sadly noone cares about Brahmans. Not even
Brahmans... I used to live with anger, how our grandparents were terrorised
that time. Now, I just accepted it & live with it as most Brahmans don't even
repent it as much as they repent murder of Gandhi..
Prahaar   |2013-06-08
Same story was repeated in my family (Sangli). The originally dilapidated house
was burnt twice (second time after partial reconstruction was completed).
dinesh   |2013-09-11
Post your comments here.
that antibrahmin hatred is very much present
in present day maharshtra in some or the other way
Prakash Malshe   |2013-11-10
Very sorry to read all this. I Wasn't aware of these happenings as I spent most
of my childhood in MP.
Snehal   |2015-01-22
My grand mother told me their story which is similar to this. It was in 'Jat'
near Sangli. She has passed away now. she always referred to this incident as
Gandhi hatye nantar ase zale......' she and her 4 children were made to stand
out side the house and the house was burnt. Since they knew this would happen,
as it was already happening in Pune and Sangli where our relatives stayed, My
grand mother and her mother in law put all their ornaments in a pot and burried
it near the Tulshi vrindavan. after a few days when everything was set right
they came back dug and took their ornaments as everything else was burnt these
ornaments were the ones that helped them survive. Such intelligent women they
were.
Mohan   |2015-04-02
Namaskar Arvindkaka. I have a similar horror story from Wai. Is it possible to
talk to you? Can you send me your number at wakade@gamil.com
Thanks.

Mohan
Wakade.
Medica Citron   |2015-07-05
Namaskaar ArvindKaka, May be I am the Biggest sufferer of this incident. my
Grand Parents were victim of this. My parents were so disturbed by this
incident. Few months after my Birth they vanished they may have taken Sanyas may
be during 1973-74. ppl who took care of are my current non-Brahmans Parents they
deny this I dont belong to them. it sounds like Filmy story but true. I had
terrible time when I inquired them about this. Now I prefer to bury this
incident within my Heart.
Shubham kulkarni   |2016-01-09
Post your comments Brahmins always suffer because of lack of unity
Abhimanyu   |2016-05-15
I am not a Brahmin but i felt bad after reading this, as a Hindu.

I think it
is not an accident that Brahmins have no unity. I think this is happening in
several Hindu castes, where each man who is ambitious thinks, 'there is more
money in secularism, why should I speak for my own people even if they are
suffering? There is no direct benefit in that!'. Such fools do no realise that
if enough Brahmins unite, then there will be money and endless benefit in
speaking against injustice also!
SKO   |2016-07-12
This is no surprise. When there is so much hate spread for a particular
section of society, these things are bound to happen especially if it
does not lead to any political or social advantage. 
The irony is the
people who orchestrate the hate for Brahmins are none other but Brahmins.

5% population of Hindus is Brahmins. That is a very small number. If
we go by UN data, more than 70% of brahmins belong to very poor family and
don’t have jobs. The % is higher than most of the hindu communities.

Fact that supporting 5% would not count to a significant vote but bashing
them would attract more, has led to mass campaigns against Brahmins.

All the miscreants were done by other so called upper castes as they had
kingdoms and or businesses under their control.
Probably Brahmins had
only the ‘respect’ but no money. Few exceptions are always there.
As
an e.g. communist party was run by Brahmins Jyoti Basu’,
Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, now by Yechury. These people abuse Brahmins
the most for their own benefits. Biggest anti-brahmin media house is run
by a Brahmin.
No one is bothered to raise issues of Brahmins,
not even Brahmins themselves. They are busy boasting that they belong
to upper strata of society. But they do not realize economically, Brahmins
are ...
Atul Ayachit   |2017-07-03
I have also heard from my father and grandfather, of such incidences took place
in our village kinhai in satara district. As my father said in those days all
brahmin families were going to sleep in one of the temple in village out of fear
quite earlier, after evening dinner.
Later on 'pant pratinidhi of aundh
sansthan'kept special force to protect brahmins in village from
outsiders.funnier thing is that, people who were trying to burn our houses in
those days, descendants of those are now very good friends of our generation.
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