Foot Soldiers of Freedom | ‘Captain Elder Brother’ and the whirlwind army

My name is Ramchandra Sripati Lad I was known to everyone as ‘Captain Bhau’ We were [very active] during the Quit India movement of 1942 I had, even at the age of 15 or 16 years, already joined [the freedom struggle] Because of which… I had the good fortune of being a part of the fight for freedom And it was in this fight that our country got its independence [from the British] This makes me extremely satisfied It was I who founded the ‘Toofan Sena’ So there is no question about me joining it… We founded the army And we started training all the people from the district We also started a centre to give direction to the freedom fighters We called it a ‘gymnasium’ Young men from Satara district of the time would come to this centre They would stay for 15 days, learn about the struggle, and leave informed and inspired to take the fight forward to their own villages – Not only must the British leave but the freedom [to be gained] after would be a people’s freedom. That was our main claim and all our efforts were towards that end Fifteen minutes before the train arrived Right here… We placed boulders on the tracks The train arrived, it came across the rocks and stopped Our other squad, which was ready at the rear end of the train swiftly moved onto the tracks and placed large rocks there as well The train was at a standstill Neither could it move forward, nor backward It was a train carrying the [British] payroll We took the money and left We gave that money to the underground rebels of the prati sarkar, to the poor and needy And used it for some necessary expenses [of the Sena] It was never used for any personal expenses It is unfair to say that we ‘looted’ the train It was our money that we reclaimed Even the police were afraid to approach us They only made their nightly rounds on the [British] government’s orders They didn’t dare touch us… such was the situation I was in the Karad lock-up for 15 days Did they harass or beat you?
-Not at all! Not at all And even [when I was] in Aundh [jail] It was like being the king’s guest Like the king’s guest… The idea of a people’s freedom Is magnificent and splendid But it doesn’t seem like we are implementing those principles The situation is such that a few people have a monopoly [on power] He who holds the hare is the hunter – this is the state of that freedom Independence now belongs to those in power… the people are still [powerless] subjects After independence, what happened to the Toofan Sena? Nothing, the Toofan Sena is as it was… As it was? As it was?
Yes as it was – it is still there We can call upon it when needed

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