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Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde

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(27 August 1854, Ingroli in Berar — 1 July 1938), brahmin of humble origin. His father was a clerk in one of the Hyderabad Contingent Cavalry Messes, and accompanied the regiment to Delhi during the mutiny. He then obtained a civil appointment in Berar and rose to the rank of Extra Assistant Commissioner. He was an able but most unscrupulous magistrate and died a rich man, and the proprietor of houses and lands, in 1893. G. S. Khaparde matriculated at the Elphin stone College, Bombay, in 1878. He became a B.A., and was appointed Fellow of Sanskrit und English by the Bombay University. In 1885 he took the LL. B. Was appointed direct as Extra Assistant Commissioner in Berar, but failing to obtain the promotion he expected to Assistant Commissioner, he resigned after three years and started as a pleader. At his best he is said to have made about Rs. 4,000 a month.

From about 1890 he became a popular leader, and in 1907 he was Vice-President of Amraoti Municipality and of the District Board, having served on them continuously for 17 years.

His personal intimacy with Tilak dates back to 1897, when Khaparde ’s son was married to the daughter of Sirdar Baba Maharaj, of Poona, a great friend of Tilak. Before his death the Sirdar appointed Tilak and Khaparde, with others, trustees of his estate ; the trustees quarrelled with the widow, Tai Maharaj, and out of this arose the famous Tai Maharaj adoption case. (Tilak was convicted of perjury, in connection with it, by the special Magistrate, and this was confirmed and the sentence reduced by the Sessions Judge of Poona, but the High Court of Bombay acquitted him.)

The idea of boycotting British goods seems to have originated with G. S. Khaparde, for it is on record that he convened a meeting for this purpose as early as 1896.

In 1897 the National Congress met at Amraoti, and Khaparde was President of the reception committee. Throughout the following years he became more and more prominent as an agitator, and his influence throughout the West of India was only second to Tilak’s and probably exceeded it in Berar.

Khaparde has been mixed up in many dangerous matters. He is known to have been in correspondence with some of the principal persons concerned in the Poona murders of 1897, and one of the actual murderers, the elder Chapekar, is known to have visited Khaparde, v disguised as a ballad singer, a short time before the murders.

Again about the time of the Royal visit to Hyderabad a Nepalese named Rudra Narayan Partab Jung was arrested in suspicious circumstances at Bolarum, but escaped and came straight to Amraoti, across country, disguised as a mendicant. He was found to have a kukri and a sharp dagger, and was prosecuted under the Arms Act. On his conviction one of Khaparde’s men collected money and paid his fine.

At his house at Amravati Sri Aurobindo stayed in January 1908.

In 1908 one of the principal accused in the Maniktolla Garden bomb case said that he had visited Khaparde at Amraoti to tell him that the revolutionary party in Bengal were prepared to make bombs, and to ask for the subscriptions which Khaparde had promised. He also said that Khaparde had sent B. H. Kane ( a youth belonging to Nagpur who was finally acquitted in the Alipore case) to Calcutta to learn the manufacture of bombs.

In August 1908 Khaparde went to England in connection with Tilak’s appeal. There he associated with the leading extremists, and the prospectus of B. C. Pal’s seditious Swaraj magazine was signed by Khaparde and Pal jointly. Khaparde took the chair at one of the India House Sunday meetings on October llth, 1908, and in his speech described Bande Mataram as “the war cry of every true Indian.”

After the assassination of Sir William Curzon Wyllie (1st July 1909) a correspondent reported that in conversation Savarkar said that Khaparde was a sympathiser with such deeds. “Khaparde came to B. C. Pal house the other day and said that still there was work to be done; one assassination was not sufficient.”

In 1910 he wrote out to his friends in India for money to enable him to return. Some money was sent, and he has since returned to Amraoti having first sailed direct to Rangoon and visited Tilak in jail at Mandalay.

Khaparde was a founding member of Tilak’s Indian Home Rule League in 1916, and was a member of the Congress’s deputation to the Viceroy on constitutional reforms. Between May 1919 and January 1920, Khaparde was in England again as a delegate of the Home Rule League’s deputation to the Joint Parliamentary committee. During his stay of seven months he made speeches in England.

Following the inauguration of Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, he was selected a member of the Imperial Legislative Council. However, in 1920, Khaparde left the Congress anticipating Gandhi’s Non-cooperation movement. Between 1920 and 1925, Khaparde elected a member of the Central Legislative Assembly.

G.S. Khaparde was also a noted devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. His first interaction with Sri Sai Baba was in December 1910. Between 1910 and 1918, his Shirdi diary recording visits to Sai Baba shed much light on Baba’s life, his routine, and his work.

 

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