Veteran freedom fighter `Krantiveer' Nagnath-anna Naikavdi passed away here today following a brief illness. He was 92.
Naikwadi, recipient of Padmabhushan, passed away at a private hospital in suburban Bandra, family sources said.
He was one of the last surviving links to the freedom struggle and the Quit India movement in Maharashtra. He was actively involved in the `Prati Sarkar' (an underground government set up by freedom-fighters in 1942) in the western Maharashtra. He carried a reward on his head in those days.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan condoled the death. The Governor said, "Naikwadi was a leading revolutionary from Maharashtra who risked his life to lead the freedom struggle from the front. After independence, he dedicated himself to the cause of service of society through education and social work.
"He often lent his voice to raise the problems of the people, especially the voiceless majority. I salute the memory of this great freedom fighter. A truly inspiring life," the Governor said.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also spoke about Naikwadi's contribution to the freedom struggle and his work later as a social activist, in their condolence messages.
Naikwadi's last rites would be conducted at Walva in his native Sangli district tomorrow.
Naikwadi started his career in the national movement as a member of Rashtra Seva Dal, and later became an associate of freedom fighter Nana Patil.
As the 1942 Quit India agitation started, Patil, Naikwadi and others set up a parallel government in western Maharashtra's Satara-Sangli area.
The `Prati-Sarkar' succeeded in striking terror in the hearts of government officials as well as informers by inflicting punishments on `traitors'. It even enlisted former soldiers from Azad Hind Sena to train its cadres.
After the independence, Naikwadi turned his attention to the education sector, and established Kisan Shikshan Sanstha, Hutatma Kisan Ahir Vidyalaya & Hutatma Nanaksing Hostel, among other institutes.
He was also active in the agitation for the creation of unified Maharashtra in 1950s, and was elected to the state Assembly during this period.
Freedom Fighter Nagnath Naikavdi Dead
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