Devout Sanatanis by birth and trained in all kinds of warfare, the three brothers – Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudev Hari Chapekar were extremely outraged by the callous treatment meted out to the residents of Pune and Chinchwad by the British imperialists in the name of implementing the provisions of the Plague Committee, following the outbreak of the bubonic plague, that had killed millions that year.
Livid with the fact that the British were celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s coronation after killing so many Indians, the three brothers decided to kill the man responsible for all the mess created – ICS officer William C Rand.
The moment Damodar spotted Rand in his carriage, he shouted ‘Gondya Ala Re!’, and jumped onto the carriage to shoot Mr. Rand. The officer accompanying Mr. Rand, Lt. Ayerst, died on the spot.
Damodar and Balkrishna understood their mistake but remained unshaken. Vasudev, the youngest brother, was still running behind Rand’s coach. Damodar followed him, opened the flap of the carriage and shot their intended target—Rand—the British official who had brought shame rather than relief to the plague victims of Pune.
Following their actions, the three brothers went into hiding. They were however betrayed by the Dravid brothers, due to whom Damodar and Balkrishna were arrested, tried and subsequently hanged in 1898 and 1899 respectively.
Vasudev, along with a teenager Khando Vishnu Sathe, avenged his brothers’ death by slaying the traitors, and he was later arrested, tried and hanged on 8 May 1899. Though a teenager, Khando Vishnu Sathe was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.