Mohan Ranade, who led the Goa liberation movement in 1950s and was lodged in Portuguese jail for 14 years, died at a Pune hospital this morning. He was 90. None survives him.
Trained as a lawyer, Ranade was born in 1929 at Sangli in Western Maharashtra. Inspired by freedom fighters like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his brother Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, he decided to dedicate his life for the liberate Goa from under the Portuguese colonial rule.
Ranade entered Goa under disguise as a teacher in 1950 and founded the Azad Gomantak Dal to raise an armed revolt against the Portuguese rule. He was injured during an attack on a police station at Beti and was consequently arrested in 1955.
He was sentenced to 26 years on imprisonment and was sent to Fort of Caxias jail at Lisbon in Portugal. He was kept in solitary confinement for six years. After the liberation of Goa in 1961, the Portuguese government didn’t release him despite several efforts.
The then opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had raised voice for Ranade’s release in the parliament. In Maharashtra, a famous musician and Ranade’s colleague from Azad Gomantak Dal Sudheer Phadke had former ‘Mohan Ranade Vimichan Samitee’ to push for the efforts. Yet, for several years the efforts didn’t yield results.
It was when Annadurai, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, met Pope Paul VI during his visit to the Vatican City, he requested the Pope to put pressure on the Portuguese authorities to release Ranade. The Pope was astonished by his compassion and made possible Ranade’s release. After having served 14 years in Portuguese prison, Ranade was released in January 1969.
After returning to India Ranade chose to live in Pune. He engaged himself in social work and ran a voluntary organization to provide educational support to the needy students from tribal, nomadic and backward communities.
Ranade had written two books – ‘Struggle Unfinished’ in English and ‘Satiche Vaan’ in Marathi – on his experiences during the Goa liberation movement. He was honoured with the highest civilian award of the Goa state as well as Padmashree by the Union Government.