Freedom Fighter of Dapoli – Sudkoji Baburao Khedekar

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‘Sudkoji Baburao Khedekar’ was popularly known as ‘Dadasaheb Khedekar’. He became the first legislator of Dapoli post-Independence. He did great work for removal of Untouchability and education of the lower castes. He was elected the member of Nagarpalika of Khed with great majority from 1940 to 1943. He was named the ‘father of twon’ by the people of Khed for his commitment to principles and love towards serving the country. He actively participated as a freedom fighter in the ‘Chale Jao’ movement of 1942. He served the society under the guidance of Sane Guruji, Appasaheb Patvardhan and Modak Guruji. In 1946 and 1952 he was elected as a legislator from the northern region of the voters association of the district of Ratanagiri, Mumbai assembly. He was the founder of many institutes and associations like the Congress Committee (Tal. Dapoli), Charmodyog Utpadak Society(Tal. Dapoli & Khed), Dapoli’s Backward Class Housing Society, Girls School(Tal. Dapoli), and Aadarsh Balak Mandir(Tal. Khed). He also received the title of ‘Dalit Mitra’ from the government along with a ‘Tamrapat’ (honor emblem) and a Letter of honor.

Birth – 9th July 1910(Kokambe Village) Khed, District Ratanagiri during British rule.

Death – Year 1977

INITIAL LIFE AND BACKGROUND

Dada was born on 9th July 1910. He received very little education. He was employed as a mill worker in Mumbai for 10 years. He was married at the tender age of 15. At the age of 21 he took over his family business of shoemaking after his father passed away. After his business and household recovered from heavy debts, he joined a night school and resumed his education. He started reading newspapers. During his stay in Mumbai, the national movement (1920 – 1932) caught his attention. He felt a strong urge towards serving his country. While taking good care of his business, he also initiated efforts for equal education rights for the backward class and for removal of Untouchability.

PRE-INDEPENDENCE WORK

He was selected as the member of Khed’s Nagarpalika, as he performed his social work in Khed. He was named as the ‘Father of the town’ by the people of Khed owing to his love and service towards the country. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he participated in the ‘Chale Jao’ movement in 1942. He was arrested for the same in Khed and served his sentence in Ratanagiri Jail. While serving his sentence in jail, he came in contact with many great freedom fighters like P. Vakil, Aathle Guruji, Gangadhar Deshpande, etc. Khed taluka elections were held in 1943. Dada not only contested in this election from the jail but also won with a big majority. After 1944, he took care of the ‘Goseva Charmalaya’ as per the instruction from Appasaheb Patvardhan on an honorary pay of INR 40 for a year and then handed it over to the owner after he was freed from the Sawantwadi jail. In 1946, he applied for the Voters Union of Northern part of Ratanagiri upon being insisted by Hon. Sane Guruji, Modak Guruji and Appasaheb Patvardhan. He defeated Mr. Gamre of the Republican party and was elected as the Legislator.

POST INDEPENDENCE WORK

On the day of Independence in 1947, Dada laid the foundation of the Congress Committee. He served as the president of that committee for 10 years. For these 10 years he was responsible for many movements in the District of Ratanagiri. He was selected as the Legislator in Vidhansabha again in 1952.

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