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Krushnaji Prabhakar Khadilkar

Krushnaji Prabhakar Khadilkar (1872-1948), popularly addressed as Kakasaheb, was a renowned freedom fighter, leading dramatist in Marathi and a reputed journalist who was born in the Sangli district of Maharashtra.

Khadilkar was a close associate of Bal Gangadhar Tilak ever since he joined Kesari in 1896. He served on the editorial board of Maratha as well. He also heralded a newspaper Lokamanya in the name of Tilak. The nationalist content in these papers put him under the radar of the British and eventually led him behind the bars.

He was one of the leaders Tilak deputed to Nepal to prepare for an invasion with the help of the King. Khadilkar was in-charge of accumulating arms and ammunition which were ordered from Germany. However, this plan could not materialize. He also wrote 15 dramas among which, the nationalist play Kichak Vadha (1906) became hugely popular among the masses. Drawing upon the story of the Mahabharata, the play served as an allegory for contemporary politics. It mocked Lord Curzon by comparing him to the lecherous Kichak, and his death at the hands of Bhima became an analogue for revolutionary anti-British action. Eventually this play was banned by the colonial authorities for spreading “dangerous ideas”.

Khadilkar used his pen both as a journalist and a playwright to encourage the people to fight the British. His bravery and defiance continue to inspire us to this day.

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A Statue of Krushnaji Prabhakar Khadilkar