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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Pune’s freedom fighters’ favourite abode

In its current form, the place has witnessed many freedom fighters burn the midnight oil while discussing anti-British Raj policies.

pune Updated: Aug 30, 2017 12:11 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan times, Pune
Kesariwada in Sadashiv peth in Pune.
Kesariwada in Sadashiv peth in Pune.(RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)

The Kesari wada is one of the historical places in the city that stands as the living proof of India’s freedom struggle. Located at the Narayan Peth area in the old part of the city, the structure retains the charm of the thick cultural albeit proud fabric of Pune city.

The Maharashtra tourism website records the structure to have been constructed by the Gaikwad family of Baroda, also known as Vadodara in Gujarat. The palace was home to Sayajirao Gaikwad, Prince of Baroda, when it was built. None of the palace’s construction, however, remained after it was torn down to build the current structure. 

In its current form, the place has witnessed many freedom fighters burn the midnight oil while discussing anti-British Raj policies. It was home to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who was conferred with the title of Lokmanya by the people of India. Tilak had given a direction to the freedom struggle with his actions and words; he was the one to have said the sentence that resounds through the pages of history books – “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it”. 

He started two newspapers from the premises of the Kesari wada – ‘Kesari’, in Marathi and ‘Maratha’, in English. The printing press still stands strong on the premise even as the structure went through changes with time. The newspaper Kesari has also survived the tests of time and is read by the citizens. 

The wada also houses a museum with Tilak’s belongings, including his desk, letters and documents, in it. The Tilak museum is where the Pune darshan tour arranged by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) begins at 8:30 every morning. The museum also holds one of the initial flags of the country. 

Lokmanya Tilak has reserved his place in history books for decades to come for his work. One of his works is believed to have culminated in what is now celebrated as the Ganpati festival. History books teach that the festival began as a social activity to bring people together against the British. Therefore, it is only fair that the current occupants of the Kesari wada celebrate the festival with fervour, and that they do. 

The wada is currently occupied by the descendants of Tilak, including Mukta Tilak, the Mayor of Pune, Deepak Tilak, the vice chancellor of Tilak University and his family, among others.

What: The place where Lokmanya Tilak stayed most part of his life.

Where: Narayan Peth.

When:The library and museum are open 7 days of the week from 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 12:10 IST