Pandurang Mahadev Bapat
पांडुरंग महादेव बापट
Portrait of Senapati Bapat at Samyukta Maharashtra Smruti Dalan, Dadar, Mumbai.
Pronunciationpɑ̃ːɖuɾə̃gə məɦɑːd̪eːʋə bɑːpəʈə
Born(1880-11-12)12 November 1880
Died28 November 1967(1967-11-28) (aged 87)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Other namesSenapati Bapat
Alma materDeccan College, University of Pune
Occupation(s)Freedom fighter, politician, social worker
Known forGandhian philosophy
MovementIndian Independence Movement
Samyukta Maharashtra Movement

Pandurang Mahadev Bapat (12 November 1880 – 28 November 1967), popularly known as Senapati Bapat, was a figure in the Indian independence movement. He acquired the title of Senapati, meaning commander, as a consequence of his leadership during the Mulshi Satyagraha.[1] In 1977, the Indian government issued a postage stamp to commemorate him.[2]

Early life and education

Senapati Bapat was born in a Marathi Chitpawan Brahmin family on 12 November 1880 in Parner. His family was originally from Ratnagiri.[3] He was educated at Deccan College and then travelled to Britain on a government scholarship in order to study engineering.[4]

As a revolutionary

During his stay in Britain, he was associated with India House, spending a majority of his time learning bomb-making skills instead of pursuing his official studies. He became associated at this time with the Savarkar brothers, Vinayak and Ganesh. Bapat, who had considered blowing up the Houses of Parliament in London, took his skills back to India and passed them on to others.[1][a]

While in hiding after the Alipore bombing of 1908, Bapat travelled the country and discovered that the majority of the Indian population did not realize that their country was under foreign rule. At this point, his focus shifted from overthrowing the British government to educating the population.[citation needed] In 1912, he was arrested in connection with the bombing and was sentenced to be imprisoned.[1] He was free by 1915, and was a "seasoned revolutionary", according to Richard Cashman. He had joined the staff of Mahratta and was one of several influential figures from the Poona area who were aligned with Bal Gangadhar Tilak's attempts to establish local organisations supporting the cause of Indian independence.[6]

Shift to Gandhian Philosophy

He re-aligned himself with Gandhi's vision of Swaraj in late 1920 following the death of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, despite having been a fervent supporter of the Tilak's vision. This was a considerable shift, given his firebrand nature and willingness to use violence, but although he took the Gandhian oath of non-violence he remained willing to use force when he thought it necessary.[7]

From 1921, Bapat led the three-year farmers' protest (satyagraha) against the construction of the Mulshi Dam by the Tata company. Ghanshyam Shah considers this to be "the first recorded organised struggle against [forced] displacement" caused by an irrigation project.[8] The company had initially dug test trenches on land without obtaining permission and the farmers, who were mostly tenants, objected in fear of losing their lands. The dam was eventually constructed and thus the protest ultimately failed. Compensation for lands submersed by the dam's construction was eventually arranged but was given to the landlords rather than to the tenants.[9] Although satyagrahas are intended to be non-violent, Bapat was jailed for vandalism of the construction project: rather than be captured for this, he turned himself in. His third jail sentence was for speaking at a public gathering held by Subhash Chandra Bose.[citation needed]


Major public roads in Pune and Mumbai have been named in his honour,[10] and he featured in issue 303 of the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series in 1984.[11] In 1977, the Government of India issued a postage stamp to commemorate him.[2]

On 15 August 1947 — Indian Independence Day — Bapat was given the honour of raising the Indian national flag over the city of Poona for the first time.[12] Bapat memorial was built at the site of the Mulshi satyagraha on his birth centenary in 1980.



  1. ^ A revolutionary from Russia passed a bomb-making manual on to Bapat in 1908 and this was translated by another Russian prior to duplicate copies being made by the Free India Society in London for distribution in India.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Cashman, Richard I. (1975). The Myth of the Lokamanya: Tilak and mass politics in Maharashtra. University of California. p. 190. ISBN 9780520024076.
  2. ^ a b "IndianPost". 28 November 1977.
  3. ^ Y. D. Phadke (1981). Portrait of a revolutionary: Senapati Bapat. Senapati Bapat Centenary Celebration Samiti. p. 2. Among such young men initiated into revolutionary activities was Pandurang Mahadeo Bapat who later on became widely known as Senapati (General) Bapat. On 12 November 1880, Pandurang Bapat was born in a Chitpawan or Konkanastha Brahmin family at Parner in the Ahmednagar district of the Bombay Presidency. His family was from Guhagar in the Ratnagiri district.
  4. ^ 11_chapter 6.pdf - Shodhganga (PDF). p. 475.
  5. ^ Laqueur, Walter (2011). A History of Terrorism. Transaction Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 9781412816113.
  6. ^ Cashman, Richard I. (1975). The Myth of the Lokamanya: Tilak and mass politics in Maharashtra. University of California. p. 194. ISBN 9780520024076.
  7. ^ Cashman, Richard I. (1975). The Myth of the Lokamanya: Tilak and mass politics in Maharashtra. University of California. pp. 206, 212. ISBN 9780520024076.
  8. ^ Shah, Ghanshyam (2004). Social Movements in India: A Review of Literature (2nd ed.). SAGE. p. 114. ISBN 9780761998334.
  9. ^ Gadgil, Madhav; Guha, Ramachandra (2013) [1995]. Ecology and Equity: The Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 9781135634889.
  10. ^ Rao, Suman. "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  11. ^ McLain, Karline (2009). India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes. Indiana University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780253220523.
  12. ^ "Senapati Bapat Road: From mills to malls". Indian Express. 17 April 2017.