Vishnu Pingle – The Unsung Hero from Maharashtra 

At what age does one become mature enough to be able to decide if they want to die for their country? This feeling of devotion towards your nation must be all-consuming if a smile adorns your face while you stand at the gallows for being a revolutionary.

When Khudiram Bose of West Bengal was executed, he was a mere boy of 18 years, 8 months and 8 days—the second youngest revolutionary to be executed by the British.

Hemu Kalani, Baikuntha Shukla, Gopinath Saha, Harnam Singh Saini, Sohanlal Pathak- there is a forgotten history of young bloodshed in the name of patriotism. The name Vishnu Ganesh Pingle finds its place in these stories. 

VK Pingle was born on January 2nd, 1888 in Pune, Maharashtra. He was influenced by the nationalist movements since his school days and was an active participant in them. He found his way to the University of Washington to study engineering, where he came in contact with revolutionaries like Satyen Bhushan Senn. A fearless patriot, inspired by the American War of Independence, decided to become an active member of the Ghadar Party.

On his return to India, he led revolutionary activities in Punjab and put his knowledge of engineering to use in making bombs. Along with his comrades, Rash Behari Bose, Sachin Sanyal and Kartar Singh, Pingle became a major coordinator of the Ghadar Conspiracy – a plan to initiate a pan-India mutiny in February 1915against the British Raj.

He was captured in Meerut with 18 live bombs and explosive materials on his person- enough the blow up the 12th Cavalry Regiment. and explosive materials which were said to be enough to blow up the entire 12th Cavalry regiment. On 16th November 1915, at the age of 26, he was executed by the British, along with his companion Kartar Singh at Lahore Central Jail. He too gave his life to the undying spirit of freedom.

A hero could be many things, depending on who you ask. There are the ones in movies and the ones who are our life saviours. Perceived differently by many pacifist freedom fighters, Pingle might not be seen as a hero by all but the moment he was ready to lay down his life for the country, he became a hero for many.

Today, we talk about youth power and passing down the torch of our country but the very fact that Vishnu Pingle remains unsung is an instance that we must take inspiration even from the young revolutionaries, however uncelebrated they might be.

-Pratyusha Pathak


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