It may be called as a mysterious and impossible story, that a young boy from Konkan goes to Aurangabad for secondary education, where he participates in revolutionary activities, lands his hands on a revolver brought from London by Svatantyaveer Savarkar, and kills a high ranking cunning British officer ! However, this happened, and the name of the boy who achieved this impossible task is Anant Laxman Kanhere !
Anantarao was born in 1891 in a place named Aayani-mete in Ratnagiri district. He went to Aurangabad for English education and stayed there with his uncle. After a few years, he started living in a room rented from Gangaram Marwadi. Kashinath Tonape a member of a Secret Freedom Fighter’s Organisation of Nasik administered the oath of secrecy of the Secret Organisation to Gangaram and Anantarao. After the incident of murder of Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie by Madanlal Dhingra as a revenge, Anantrao too became impatient to perform a similar task. Later, Gangaram tested Anatarao’s tenacity; initially by keeping a red hot iron fork on his hands, and later, by making him hold a heated glass of a lit lantern with both hands. Anantarao remained unaffected during both the tests.
Conspiracy to kill Jackson
During this time, Nasik district was headed by a very cruel and cunning District administrator named Jackson. He sent freedom fighters such as Advocate Khare, singer of kirtans, Tambeshastri, Babarao Sawarkar etc. into prison. Jackson, in a way, signed on his own death warrant through such cruel deeds. Destiny chose Ananatrao to carry out this task. Anantrao practiced shooting for killing Jackson. He had a good look at Jackson by visiting the office of the District administrator. He got himself photographed to keep a memoir for his parents in case he was hanged after murdering Jackson.
Fired four bullets at Jackson
On 21st December 1909, a stage play, ‘Sharada’ was organised by Kirloskar Theatre group at Vijayanand Theatre, Nasik to honour Jackson. Anantrao was already present in the theatre hall. As soon as Jackson entered the theatre, he fired a bullet at him, but it missed. So he came forward and fired four more bullets at him. Jackson died on the spot, and Anantrao calmly surrendered to the Police.
Anantarao and his colleagues, Anna Karve and Vinayak Deshpande were sentenced to death for the killing of Jackson. On 19th April 1910, at 7 a.m., these three brave freedom fighters faced their death courageously in Thane prison. The British government did not heed to the plea of their relatives and cremated the dead bodies at the bank of a pond. The ashes were immersed in the pond so that the relatives should not even get hold of the ashes.
Children, remember, we have attained freedom because of the sacrifice of such martyrs like Anant Kanhere, who at the age of 18 years sacrificed his life for the country.