& GUIDE OF VANAVASIS
Tarun Bharat, a Marathi Daily from Mumbai had
brought out a special issue as a tribute to his memory on
the first monthly anniversary of his death . This booklet
is based on this issue and brings you excerpts from selected
articles written by his leaders, friends and relatives which
will provide a glimpse of the monumental achievements of Shri Kane.
TRIBUTES BY LEADING PERSONALITIES
Shri Madhvarao Kane's sacrifice for the nation and for society is extremely valuable. His mission of working in the service and welfare of the tribals without expecting anything in return is unparalleled and sets an admirable ideal for all social workers to emulate.
Society will always be grateful to Madhavrao
for his great work. To follow his example to complete his unfulfilled
dreams would be a true tribute to his memory.
In the death of Shri Madhavrao Kane, the tribals have lost their friend, solace, and support. His end brought great grief to the entire Hindu society, specially to the Vanavasis. Indeed, like Abu Ben Adam, he would have led the list of selfless workers so aptly described by Shri Balasaheb Deoras as unavailable even to Gods (Deodurlabh).
A prolific and talented person, he worked in the political, social, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in the fields of employment generation, health awareness and even eradication of superstitions. He brought about a revolution in the life of tribals....
On behalf of the Government of Maharashtra
and on my own personal behalf, I pay our tributes to his unforgettable
During the 30 years of his stay at Talasari, Shri Madhavrao Kane, through his Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra, incessantly served the cause of Vanavasis with the love of a mother and created a chain of cultured students who became doctors, engineers, advocates and even leaders like Chintamani Vanaga, MP, and Vishnu Savara, MLA. They themselves, in their turn are engaged in serving the tribals .
I take this opportunity of acknowledging the
signal service done by Madhavrao to tribals, and pay my humble tributes
to his memory.
THE TRIBALS AND MADHAVRAO KANE
The tribals are generally considered to be ignorant, socially backward and addicted to various vices and as such, have been isolated from social advancement as well as deprived of the benefits of science and technology. The government provides for them schools, medical centres and boarding schools. But, clearly, that is not enough. It is necessary to develop cultural values and social attitudes among them. They must be assimilated in the mainstream of society and be able to live with self-respect. The scheme of establishing Hostels for them was planned with this objective in mind. An evolution has been taking place thanks to the infinite patience and incessant diligence of hundreds of workers and the fruits of these vast efforts are now becoming distinctly visible today.
This was the dream of the eminent activist,
Shri Madhavrao Kane whose life was dedicated not only to emancipating
of the tribals and backward class people but also to giving them dignity
and status in society. He was speaking on the occasion when
he was honoured with the Pu. Bha. Bhave Memorial Award
on 13th August, 1993. A transparently honest,
sincere and extremely capable man, his intense desire for
the welfare of tribals for whom he spent 30 years of his life is
expressed in the following speech given by him.
"At the outset I would like to thank the Pu. Bha. Bhave Memorial Award Committee for honouring me with this prestigious award. Many of you who are present here may not know about my social work and I do not think that it is necessary because I really don't think I have done anything great.
It is a happy coincidence that the Late Damuanna Tokekar and the Late Keshavrao Kelkar were both honoured with this very award; and, while I accept this award, I feel it is my duty to pay my humble tributes to them since it is they who inspired me to work for the tribals.
Whatever little I have been able to achieve, is purely on the strength of the faith and dedication instilled in me from my childhood in the Shakhas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As today's award is for my social work, I will not say anything about my work as a corporator, the mayor of Kalyan, or an office bearer of the Jansangh, or about my participation in the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti and the Gomantak Liberation movement.
When I joined this field in 1966, the Late Baba Kulkarni who was a veteran worker of the 'Hindu Dharmaprasarak Mandal' was already working in Talasari and counteracting the Christian Missionaries' conversion activities by means of re-conversion. Baba loved me like a son and on 17th April, 1966, on the auspicious occasion of `Gudhi Padva', we started a Hostel for Tribal Students. Eventually, the Government also allotted 10 acres of land to this institution and today there are 175 boys & 75 girls in it, which has all the requisite facilities. During the last 26 years, this institution has produced, among thousands of others, 1 lawyer, 3 doctors, 1 police officer, 60 policemen and 20 Defence Officers, who are all doing very well in their respective fields. It also boasts of having created one artist and 6 businessmen. There are many others working in the agricultural sector, using latest technology. There are six life-long workers who are devoted to the work of this centre. It is worth mentioning here that Shri Vishnu Savara who is at present an MLA representing Vade constituency hails from the first batch of students of this hostel.
However, our work is not restricted to Talasari in Thane district. The following institutions elsewhere are also assisting us in this work :
1) `Devbaandh' is a Centre in Mokhada Taluka run by the Sahyadri Adivasi Bahuvidh Sevasangh, Thane.
2) The Hindu Seva Sangh has been working through schools, hostels, and cultural development centres (Samskaar Kendras) in Ambhan (Manor), Mamnoli, Sutrakar & Balkaapara.
3) There are centres and hostels run by the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram at Vikramgadh, Chalatvad, Beriste and Dombivli.
4) The Pragati Pratishthan, Thane has been running a residential school for the deaf & dumb in Jawhar. There are 6 medical centres in Mokhada and Jawhar areas and even a Technical School in Morchundi.
5) The Trust floated in the memory of the Late Shri Arvind Pendse who was a staunch worker has been running a boarding school viz.,`Arvind Smriti' in Dadade near Vikramgarh.
6) In Bhivandi a hostel has been established for college students by the Dandekar Pratishthan established in the memory of the Late Shri Dadasaheb Dandekar a generous industrialist and philanthropist.
7) In Dahanu, the Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra is running a hostel for college students.
Most of the above mentioned hostels work without any grant. No fee is charged to the students. On the contrary they are provided all educational facilities.
I have given a brief account of what these centers are doing in this field. On this occasion I would like to take an opportunity to invite you to visit these centres so that you can get an insight into the work of these institutions.
Once again I thank all of you and also the committee.
GODARANI on the work of
"The founder-President of the Vanavasi
Kalyan Ashram, the late Shri Balasaheb Deshpande had undergone a
cataract operation and was advised by the surgeon to stay in Mumbai for
a few weeks. He was staying with Shri Sharadrao Dandekar. Quite naturally, a
number of important social workers and leaders came to visit him. One day, late
Godutai Parulekar, the wellknown social worker and a legend in her life-time,
despite her leftist leanings, visited him accompanied by Shri
Kane. Balasaheb praised her role and expressed his admiration
for the work she had done amongst the Vanavasis in Thane district.
In reply, she remarked that she had no doubt created an awareness
of their rights and privileges among them and taught them to fight
against injustice, but she had failed to bring about
any basic positive change in their lives, while Madhavrao
through his Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra, hostel, school and constructive activities
had been remarkably successful in this respect. She
observed that, as a result, she had witnessed an unbelievable
and welcome change in the lives of the local Vanavasi youths.
MADHAV BECOMES VANAVASI WORKER
by Shri Ram B. Godbole
Madhav's house was recognized to be a Sangh house right from the first. Thousands of Sangh volunteers have been working diligently to create awareness of Hindutva in Hindu society and the Sangh Parivar is engaged in this task for the last 71 years. Madhav was one such ideal Sangh volunteer who had offered everything on the altar of the holy cause. Honest to the extreme, he had no vices and was endowed with rich human qualities. I don't understand why such a person was taken away by God from us.
Madhav was working for the Jansangh from its beginning in 1952. He started off doing the smallest chores like putting up wall posters and distributing pamphlets and eventually rose by his organizing skills to become first the Corporator and then the President of Kalyan Municipality. He never misused his powers and would go to the Sangh office on foot though he had been allotted a car. He received many honours and recognitions in the society but they did not change his style of simple living. Citizens of Kalyan always remarked that such a President was a unique in the history of their Municipality. I was then the Organizing Secretary of Maharashtra State and was therefore, able to minutely observe these traits of Madhav's personality from close quarters. His house had become very much like an office and a meeting place for all Jansangh workers.
But destiny had something else in store for Madhav. The Late Damuanna Tokekar, the Divisional Sangh Pracharak, was his mentor. On his advice Madhav started working for the Vanavasis (Tribals). Meanwhile, RSS Prant (State) Pracharak Shri Babarao Bhide gave him his consent and Madhav went into the tribal areas and became a full-fledged Vanavasi Worker. Once he chose this path he never looked back to the comforts of city life. Godutai Parulekar made the tribals aware of their capabilities and human values. Madhav not only followed in her foot steps but went further and assisted the tribals to stand on their feet. The beginning of his work was indeed a very hard task and I have seen him toiling to overcome the difficulties he encountered undauntedly and with the courage of conviction.
Later, when I myself started to work for the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, my discussions and experiences with Madhav proved very valuable. He wanted these activities to spread to Dadra Nagar Haveli area which is adjacent to Talasari. He lent his workers for that job and started a hostel at Khanvel. He was successful in giving the tribals education, health, employment and removing their blind faiths (Andhashraddha). It was not easy. It was a voluminous task and required continuous efforts. His example should prove to be an inspiration to all youths to create a chain of such achievements.
And Madhav did all this with the love of a mother for her child. As Saint Kabir put it, "When the child comes in this world it cries, but it bring lots of joy to others. Likewise, we should be able to leave this world laughing, while others would cry". And Madhav did it.
(Shri Ram B. Godbole was working for Jansangh
from its start and later became the All India Organizer of Vanavasi Kalyan
By Dilip Kane
Madhavkaka was born in Kalyan, then a small town on 17th December 1927 in a middle-class family which hailed from Rilkesapuri of Konkan region. His parents namely father Shri Ramchandra Moreshwar Kane and mother Smt Sitabai Ramchandra Kane had in all five children: three sons, Gajanan, Vasant, and Bindumadhav and two daughters Sudha and Durga. Bindumadhav was the third child and was affectionately called Madhav. 'Bindu' means a drop and the almighty in his wisdom had destined this drop to grow and assume the form of a vast sea of achievements.
During early childhood , which is the time for fun & frolic and seeking favours with obstinacy from elders, these children lost their parents. They were further orphaned by the demise of their uncle. Thus these youngsters had to suffer the loss of their supporting elder; and that too, within the short span of one year. It was a most cruel blow to them. Under such circumstances, one can lose mental balance and go astray, but not these children! They decided to understand each other and face the future unitedly. The void of parental love and care was thus filled in by themselves with mutual support and it guided them throughout their lives.
During this period Madhavkaka and his brother Vasant (Baba) came into contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). May be, it was an act of providence itself. There they got the much needed solace, and cordial and affectionate support. It was during this time that they met their life-long friends and precious companions who were to share their joys and sorrows at all times. They were fortunate to have them, especially Shri Gopalrao Tokekar, Bhagwanrao Joshi, Bhaurao Sabnis, Wamanrao Sathe, Abakaka Barve, Chintukaka Kanhere, Ramkaka Kapse, Madhukaka Gadre, Madhukaka Paranjpe, Annukaka Mehandale, Balikaka Kelkar, Abhakaka Abhyankar, Ramakaka Choghule, Balukaka Divekar, Kisankaka Shinde, Sant Sir (teacher) and Bandukaka Purohit. Every one of these friends is recognised as an authority in his respective field. Their love and friendship has remained fast and firm till today and all of them treat us like their own nephews.
While Madhavkaka and the two sisters were attending school, the two elder brothers went off to work. For sometime, arrangements were made for meals to be brought from a lodge. Once, the young sisters came from school quite hungry and there was nothing to eat in the house. Madhavkaka kept them humoured with stories and talk for some time, but the food did not come and the sisters started crying. At last Madhavkaka himself went to the lodge and brought the food. He had to, because he could not prepare even a cup of tea. The sight of the weeping faces of his sisters made him angry with himself. Their pathetic expressions must have been engraved on his memory for ever, because he often narrated this incidence. Perhaps, in later years when he saw the tribals with hardly any clothes, insufficient food and a few particles of boiled rice left in the blackened aluminum bowl, and the children fighting among themselves for them, he remembered it vididly and it must have greatly influenced his attitude.
However, time rolled on, and soon after Mahatmaji's assassination, the Government of India imposed a ban on the RSS. Subsequently, the RSS launched a Satyagraha and the Satyagrahis were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment one after the other. Madhavkaka & Vasant resolved to join the Satyakgriha. They were convicted and sent to Visapur jail. This was their first view of life inside a prison. However, soon the satyagrahis obtained permission to conduct classes for the prison students, and, within the walls of the jail, studies for the students started systematically.
Out of the 2 post cards allowed per month to each inmate, Madhavkaka used to invariably write one to his sister-in-law (Vahini) who had showered all motherly affection on him from his young days. The other card he wrote to his own home, in which he asked news from home and made requests for holy books like the Bhagwat Geeta, and, for school text books.
The Geeta which, in times of doubt, preaches what is good and what is bad for every human being, proved a moral guide to Madhavkaka in the years to come and gave him solace till his end. After returning from jail, he passed his matriculation examination and joined the university for higher studies. His colleagues turned out in fashionable attire but Madhavkaka was complacent with his clean, simple, white shirt & Dhoti. He never changed this dress throughout his life. He had an average physique, wheatish complexion and bluish gray eyes with a piercing quality.
By this time, Madhavkaka and his young colleagues launched a branch of Bharatiya Janasangh in Kalyan. The movement of the party started gaining momentum. At the same time, the Goa Liberation Movement had commenced and Satyagraha was being offered on the Goa border. A batch of Jansangh Satyagrahis was to proceed to Goa under the leadership of Shri Jagannathrao Joshi and at the end of an inspiring speech full of fire and eloquence by him, our Madhavkaka went up the stage, declared that he was joining the Satyagraha along with Jagannathraoji and his decision was final and firm. It created a great stir in the audience. Nobody ever knew when he had decided and spoken to Jagannathraoji. At home, we were shocked and sorry and yet felt very proud.
That was a time when everyday some news of causalities in Portuguese firing was pouring in. People glued their ears to the radios eagerly listening to the news. One after the other, Satyagrahis, old and young alike, were either being shot dead or were shot down, arrested and put to rigourous and harsh imprisonment. As the whole atmosphere was tense and highly unconducive to the life and safety of Satyagrahis his decision was indeed an audacious and daring one.
We were young but understood the situation well. At last, the day of departure for Madhavkaka dawned. Tears were bristling in the eyes of our mother and aunt but they did not weep. We arrived at Kalyan station only to find it full of people who had come to see Madhavkaka off. The station was resounding with slogans - Bharat Mata Ki Jay -Viva la Mother India and Madhavrao Kane ki Jay. The shaking of hands over, Madhavkaka boarded the train and we saw him standing in the doorway and raising his hands in farewell and acknowledgment.
The days rolled on but the charm and gaiety in the whole locality was missing. People eagerly scanned the papers and listened to the news, till one day the fatal news came that Madhav Kane was killed in the firing speading deep sorrow all around us. Fortunately, the next day, news followed that Madhavkaka was seriously injured but not dead. This proved to be correct because, a few months later Madhavkaka was released from the jail and came home. He had undergone terrible hardships and ill-treatment in the jail, but never uttered a single word about it. Neither did he ever boast of being a freedom fighter.
In due course, both the brothers Madhavkaka and Baba were asked about getting married. But Madhavkaka was firm in his resolve to remain a bachelor and dedicate his life for the cause of the nation. The result was that Baba also declared that he would remain a bachelor to give him support and inspiration. What a spirit of sacrifice and brotherly affection! Subsequently, Madhavkaka joined the Samyukta Maharashtra movement .
`ALL HINDUS ARE ONE' is a song sung at the Sangh Shakhas (branches). To practice what you preach is the motto of all volunteers of the Sangh, and following incident amply proves it. During the "Goa Liberation Movement", the rifle bullet which had pierced through the arm of Madhavkaka had lodged in the stomach of another freedom fighter, Uttamrao Dani, close to him. He recovered and came specially to meet Madhavkaka at Kalyan. Madhavkaka's joy knew no bounds. Both of them had spent some days in Goa jail together. Old nostalgic memories of those hard days were revived and talked over. When it was time for lunch, Madhavkaka asked his sister-in-law to serve meals for both. Now Shri Dani was from a scheduled caste but they both entered the Kitchen and sat for meals side by side. All orthodox Brahmin family norms,so far followed in the household were forgotten. He was a bit deterred at the thought of adverse reactions in the society. The brotherly treatment received by Shri Dani from a caste Brahmin were reflected in his tearful eyes. It was a unique experience for him and we ourselves thought that our usual rules and norms for such things were elevated to a new height.
The people of the locality decided
that he should contest the election as a Jansangh candidate of the Samyukta
Maharashtra Samiti. A panel comprising Dr. B. K. Modak, Shri Bhave
and Madhavkaka was formed. We still remember the
acclaimed recognition as a Hero of the Goan struggle, his
acceptance by people as an excellent Corporator and his infinite
toils to make use of both to propagate the Sangh thoughts to all the strata
society. He secured the ticket for the election and came out triumphant. He then became the District Co-ordinator of the Jansangh which involved touring different places to spread the ideology of the Jansangh. This opened new avenues for Madhavkaka to accomplish his desire for the upliftment of the tribals which comprised of the tribal residents of the areas like Jawhar, Mokhada, Wada Vikramgadh, Dahanu Talasari, etc. He got the opportunity to observe their condition and atrocious exploitation by the landlords and usurers. The trinity of Madhavkaka, Damuanna and Bhagwanrao felt the compassion deep in their hearts. The Late Godarani Parulekar had awakened the tribals to their rights but they remained uneducated and ignorant. This trio realised the necessity of educating them as a way to their emancipation. They conducted a deep study of the problem by pesonally visiting the areas. Their frequent tours of those areas must have given rise to the idea in his mind of moving to Talasari later.
During the year 1964-65 the responsibility
of shouldering the Presidentship of the Kalyan Municipality
befell on Madhavkaka. During this period the "Kalyan Development Plan"
was formulated. The annual session of the Maharashtra unit of the
Bharatiya Janasangh was also held at Kalyan during this period.
Madhavkaka was the Chairman of the Reception Committee and he was eminently
successful in this mission too. These things brought his urge
towork for Adivasis did not dissipate. He became aware of the
limitations of politics to improve their lot. Once his term
as the President of the town was over, Madhavkaka moved to Talasari
on 16th February 1967, to launch his novel scheme to uplift
the Adivasis. The calm and upright Madhavkaka, with his love
for society and his transparent personality, the hero of the Goa
Liberation Movement and the leader firmly entrenched in politics,
was not now to belong to us alone. He stepped in Talasari
with a firm resolve and decision to launch a Service
In the Talasari area there were quite a few groups allegedly fighting for the cause of the tribals. "Bread first or education first" was the slogan raised by many to confuse the locals and exploit them. There was a great necessity of a genuine benefactor and the Adivasis found him in Madhavkaka. They were soon convinced that he was a real guide and well-wisher who would strive for their upliftment. They realised that their children could be transformed into respectable citizens if they followed the advice of Madhavkaka. They liked this soft-spoken friend and decided to leave the future of their little ones in his hands.
Children started to come in large numbers to the Hostel started by Madhavkaka. The strength of students gradually rose. The Government also gave grants. Eventually, a Girl's Hostel also came into being. With this development a new building was raised.
Such was our Madhavkaka. He was the ultimate and true source of inspiration for all Adivasis. The brilliant aura of his life and the soothing message of his sacrifices will always be present among them. His soul lingers among them in the forms of his various projects of hostel, schools and institutes to guide us all.
Our humble tributes to his sacred memory.
MY GUARDIAN 'MADHAVRAO'
By Chintamani Vanaga, M.P.
Rambhau Kapse broke to me the sad news of the demise of Shri Madhavrao Kane when I was in the midst of a Press Conference. Intense grief filled my heart but, although with a heavy heart, I managed to control my emotions till I reached home. And then the overwrought mind burst into tears. It was impossible to imagine that Madhavrao was no more in this world and I would never be able to see him again.
Among the panorama of reminiscences, what was most etched on my memory was my last meeting with him in Thane hospital. On his death bed, which he had certainly sensed by that time, his only regret was that he would not be able to work along with us. I was going to Talasari Ashram nearly everyday after it was attacked in 1991. Now the thought of going there and not meeting him sent my mind reeling into emptiness and void.
In my school days I never missed the first rank and hence Madhavrao was very anxious to meet me. One day I went to see him along with my friend, Baba Ghorkhana who was staying in his Hostel whereas I was staying in Thakkarbappa High school boarding. His sincere approach and interest influenced me in the very first meeting. This association went on gathering strength with time, and it continued till his end.
I vividly remember the time when I lost my brother, mother and father all in the span of only one year. My brother had left small children for me to look after and my mind was in total chaos. But Madhavrao stood like a brother, mother and father, all in one, with me whenever I needed him. Since then, he became very sensitive to my emotional needs and looked after me with great love and care. I am one of the most fortunate persons on whom he showered his love.
In fact, he brought me up systematically and guided my destiny. He introduced me to the Sangh Parivar and arranged to send me to Pune for joining Agriculture College so that after graduation I could help our people in Talasari in that direction. However, not being able to get admission there, I joined the Bhivandi College, where Madhavrao made me take Arts, and afterwards law which was somewhat against my wish of going to science. He always felt that the people of Talasari needed a lawyer of their own. But it was a dream for a tribal at that time. I myself could not believe it even when I got my lawyer's degree. Madhavrao made me practice in Kalyan for the first two years to learn everything about the law. During this time I stayed in his house in Kalyan. This was a great training for me for my practice later in Talasari.
In my young age, Godutai Parulekar used to stay with us . My family, i.e. my father, brother, etc. all of whom were CPM activists, and my Marxist friends, hated me for staying in Madhavrao's Ashram. They opposed everything I did. I do not remember when my political career started and Madhavrao never advised me about my political leanings. But his influence was great and I knew his thoughts as well as the Sangh influence was so powerful that I opted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The political situation in Jawhar, Mokhada and Talasari regions was then not at all favourable to the BJP. In these adverse conditions, my work became easier under the guidance and advice of Madhavrao. I even had to witness the demolition of 200 houses raised by me for my workers. Sometimes, somebody else would just turn up and snatch away all the credit for the work done by us. It was all very frustrating, but, every time, Madhavrao was there to cheer us up and give solace. His just being there would make a lot of difference to me.
In 1984, I contested the Loksabha seat for the first time. Nobody expected me to win. But it was an exercise in assessing our strength and influence. Although we had hardly made any preparations, I polled 84,000 votes which was very exciting. Madhavrao always encouraged me in my political career. Unfortunately, I lost the 1989 and 1991 elections by a very small margin. Madhavrao was upset about it but he was extremely careful not to overshadow my thinking by giving too much importance to these failures. Eventually, I became the President of the Thane District Unit of the BJP which made him very happy.
The 1996 Loksabha elections were extremely crucial to him. I myself was not keeping well so I stayed put in Talasari for almost a month and a half. He personally took care of me during this period. On the day of the results, he was so anxious to see me win that he did not sleep all night and stayed awake listening to the news. When the news of my victory came, he smiled with great satisfaction and I shall never forget that radiant smile, and the contentment and intense joy on his face. Indeed, that was the last time I saw him really happy.
His greatness was evident when his Ashram was attacked by the Marxists, and Appa Joshi, Vahini and Hareshwar Vanaga were terribly wounded. Everything in the Ashram was destroyed. He was shaken to the core but never had any thought of revenge. He felt the blow very badly and often used to say that he should have been in the place of those wounded people. His great regret was that he was not able to convince the people who had attacked the Ashram, about the sincerity of his mission.
Although a life-long bachelor himself, he had
a large family of people of whom he took care. He was always in
the forefront of all Sangh activities. Name any constructive
movement, the hostel which is now a home to 150 boys
and 70 girls, Dahanu College Hostel, Dandekar Trust Hotel, Pragati Pratishthan
Trust, Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra Ashram, Sahyadri
Adivasi Bahuvidha Sevasangha, Hindu Seva Sangh, and he had
a lion's share in its formation and development. None
of these woiuld have been established without him.
The tiny sapling which he planted in Talasari has
grown into a huge Bunyan tree and to nourish and multiply
it further would be the only real tribute to his ever-lasting memory.
SIR, WHO MADE LEADERS OF ORDINARY STUDENTS
By Vishnu Savra, M.L.A.
Everybody who visits the Talasari Tribal Welfare Centre leaves it with the impression that it is an ideal Centre. Today, it has mushroomed into a large project. However, the tremendous efforts taken by Shri Madhavrao Kane in bringing it up to its present shape are simply unparalleled. He did not limit his work to providing only Hostel facilities to the students but took care to divine their potential qualities and endeavour to bring out the best of every student so that in future they would distinguish themselves in their chosen careers.
Talasari Centre was not a hostel but a home for all of us. We senior students called Madhavrao 'Sir' and the younger ones affectionately called him by the fond epithet 'Aba'. A disciplined person himself, he ensured that all programmes started and ended exactly on scheduled time. He also realised the need for the students to go out in society and get along with the people. Hence he organised Ganeshotsava festivals in a number of places, went among the people for tying rakhis, distributed Tilgul on Sankraman day and ensured that the students participated in all of these activities with him. He wanted all the ex-students also to retain their cordial relationship with their hostel and hence he regularly organised a get-together function just a day before Diwali for all the past and present students. The ex-students used to return to their villages with sweet memories, and with affection for the Centre. Thus the attachment of every student, even after he left the Hostel, remained unaffected.
He had great vision. He not only inculcated affection in the students' hearts for the Centre but moulded their thinking in such a manner that they were always aware of the debt they owed to the tribals among whom he/she was born, and worked for them after they had completed their education. Today hundreds of students have passed out of his hostels and are successful in their chosen fields. There are many like Shri Chintaman Vanaga, M. P., Shri Kanchan Wadu, etc. in the political field. Sarvashri Moreshwar Lahange and Prakash Chowdhry devote their time for the Ambhan (Manor) Centre and the Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra, Ramesh Malavkar and Shantaram Zole shoulder the responsibility of the Hostels. Shri Harishchandra Bhoye looks after the Ashramshala. Hundreds of ex-students help at these centres after doing their regular duties. Those who have done their M. B. B. S., like Shri Laxman Kondhare, Damodar Dubala, Laxman Chowdhry etc. and are carrying on a regular practice, also spare time to provide medical and other assistance.
In the beginning, it was a very trying time for Madhavrao. Not only was there severe opposition from Marxists, but the Christian Missionaries movement was strong in these parts. The Missionaries created innumerable difficulties and troubles for him, which would have broken down any person but Madhavrao. Determined and undaunted, he went on doing whatever he aimed at. He had a great ally in Shri Appa Joshi and his wife Mrs Vasudha Joshi. All three of them took infinite pains to build the centre and to bring it to its present status. On that fateful day when the Marxists attacked the centre, Sir was not at Talasari. Heavy injuries were inflicted on both, Shri Appa Joshi and his wife. Our 'Sir' could not be attacked physically, but he was grievously wounded in his heart.
No amount of writing will adequately describe our 'Sir'.Now with his passing away, there is a great void in our lives, the irreparable loss of a great craftsman who created exceptional and responsible citizens out of ordinary people. But he lit a lamp in our hearts showing us the way, and making us aware of our responsibilities towards our own society. It will always guide our lives and I feel confident that this great institution will keep on thriving if we all continue to give a little support to it.
(Shri Savra, an MLA from Wade Constitutency,
was all along a student living in the Talasari Hostel.)
HE NEVER TOOK NO FOR AN ANSWER
By Uttamrao Patil
I shall always remember my first meeting with Madhavrao Kane in Kalyan. With a look at his sparsely built personality, I instinctively felt his urge to be service to others.
Although, it was he who swayed the stronghold of the Shetkari Kamgar Paksha (Peasants and Workers Party) in favour of the Jansangh, he himself never had his heart in politics. It was inevitable that he should turn to work for the welfare of tribals and the poor. Later also, he did work in politics, but it was for getting the tribals elected.
In politics, there are three types of people. One type is of financially well off people with clout, who go on adding to their wealth. The second one consists of people who have sacrificed for the country but try to cash in on it to regain what they lost. The people from the third group are a rare and different cup of tea. They will sacrifice anything, even all they have, including their life, to serve the country and work for the poor. Madhavrao belonged to this group and sacrificed his entire life for the Vanavasis. His dream was to train many more people like him, and he did realise this dream.
I became an MP in 1967. The late Laxman Matera also became an MP but his literacy was limited to signing his name only. But now, Chintaman Vanaga, "a full-fledged advocate from among the Vanavasis", is an MP, and the comparison I draw between these two underlines the great achievement of Madhavrao, and its distinction from the work done by other Vanavasi workers. Like the late Nana Dhoble, he also knew every single person in the households of the people among whom he worked, and he helped them in their difficulties and encouraged them like an elderly family man.
His vitality influenced others so much that
even his memory enthuses us all. No length of time will deprive
us of the memory of this extremely rare friend, a brave but silent hero
who knew no defeat and went on undauntedly on his glorious path
never to turn back.
A FATHER-FIGURE WHO LIT A CHAIN OF LIGHTS
By Appa Joshi
I joined the Talasari centre on 7th June 1969 and on the very first day Madhavrao established a relationship between us of father and son which remained unchanged for all the 27 years that followed. Soon after I started working, he declared himself to be free to do other work as then onward it would be I who would look after the centre. But was I ready to take on this responsibility? Certainly not at that time, but Madhavrao inculcated in me various qualities of leadership as well as of devoted worker with great patience, care and a soft touch, guiding me on all subjects and teaching me how to behave under different circumstances.
Although a bachelor himself, he was a loving father to all the boys and girls in the hostels and used to call them "Dada" or "Tai". He was a careful observer of all their needs and was always there to give them his support. He transformed the centre into a family institution where simplicity, caring love and parental guidance pervaded the atmosphere.
What he hated most was belittling the tribals. Once it was decided to hold a Health Check Camp at Talasari and the team of doctors arrived late and tired. While taking tea, they decided the skip Talasari and proceed to another place the next day. Madhavrao exploded and there was an altercation between them. He said that he would not tolerate letting down the Adivasis. It was Dr Kadari, his permanent patron and supporter, who arrived on the scene and pacified the doctors. The whole team not only relented but was later happy that they had.
Whenever he undertook a mission, he used to work on it single mindedly. During the Mahalaxmi fair of tribals, it was decided to set up a water-serving centre (Paanpoi) for the pilgrims. He worked personally throughout the 10 days along with the other boys at that centre.
Being a good politician too, he had become President of the Kalyan Municipality and could have carved an excellent career in politics. But no! Instead, he chose to go to a remote place like Talasari and worked for 30 years helping and serving the tribals. On the 14th of August 1991, some Marxists activists attacked the Centre and nearly destroyed it. Luckily, Madhavrao was not there. But myself, my wife and Hareshwar Vanaga were severely wounded. News of the attack spread like wildfire and Madhavrao rushed to the centre. An angry crowd gathered around the centre and leaders like Ashok Tandel were so furious that a riot was felt imminent. When Madhavrao arrived he was aghast at the spectacle. With no real reason or logic, he felt himself responsible for our wounds. His great sorrow was that it was we three who got wounded instead of him. Although himself between thunder and tears, he took command of the explosive situation and talked to everybody soothingly, and cooled their tempers. He had the great vision to realise the danger of hatred that would have been planted by revenge. How right he was! In due course, many of those involved in the attack were taking interest in his work and eventually became ardent supporters of it. A miracle indeed!
Such was Madhavrao Kane whom we familiarly called Aba. Always active in constructive work, he was strictly opposed to calling this country 'Motherland' while doing nothing for it, treating it as a hilly, rocky, and barren land full of thorns. He used to say, "Give me a piece of land, and with hard work, my boys and I will turn it into heaven."
He did it many times over. Let us all
dedicate ourselves to his cause and ensure that it grows in all directions.
(Shri Appa Joshi took over the work of Talasari
centre from Shri Kane and has been working at the centre with his wife
ever since. During the Marxists' attack, he nearly lost
his life as the doctors had to put more than 100 stitches
to his head and yet he refused to quit the centre.)
SOME SPECIAL TRIBUTES FROM PARIVAR LEADERS
A GUIDING BEACON
.....In his last days, whenever I went to meet Shri Kane, his doctors told me that he was a most unique patient who, in spite of having clear knowledge of his impending end, did not get depressed, annoyed or irritated. On the contrary, he was understanding and tolerant over their small mistakes. I found him talking to his friends with the love and assurance of a father, soothing them with his guidance, and counseling his Vanavasi friends as usual.....
.....To solve social issues and build a nation, it is more important to build character. The Sangh has adopted this path to steer the nation toward progress. Position and publicity has its own place in society, but to build a nation and bring social transformation, it is important to dedicate one's life for such a cause and overlook personal gains. Madhavrao was one such ideal person who set an example to society. He gave up his secure future as the President of Kalyan Municipality and came to this remote place, Talasari where there was only adversity and backwardness. Madhavrao was a living example of the aims and achievements of the RSS and what it stood for. He strived selflessly at Talasari for 30 years to develop this backward region without expecting any material gains. Madhavrao Kane was a real live role model of the highest ideals of selfless service and character. ...
-- Shri Dattopant Thengadi,
founder and ex president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh in
his article of the same title on Shri Kane.
FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION
On hearing the news of the tragic passing away of my dear friend and colleague Madhavrao - one of our most outstanding and unique type of workers, too rare to come across in these days - my thoughts went back by a few decades ... Dedicated workers like Madhavrao have today changed the whole concept of social work.
.....The Late Madhavrao Kane plunged into this work, dedicating his whole life silently. So much so that his life became fully identified with that of the Vanavasis. The result of his nearly three decades of dedication can be seen today in the resurgent youth of the Vanavasi areas of Thane district. ...We find hundreds and thousands of young Vanavasi youths trained under the loving and watchful eye of Madhavrao .. This Tapasya of his is bearing fruit and the time will not be far away when we can see the disparity and grief disappear from these areas....
-- Shri K. Bhaskar Rao,
Ex Prant Pracharak and now All-India Organising Secretary of Vanavasi
Kalyan Ashram in his article of the same title.
A FIGHTER WITH VALOUR
.....Shri Damuanna Tokekar launched the Hindu Seva Sangh at Theronde and took the first step. Responding to his call, this intrepid warrior, Madhavrao Kane, left the Presidentship of Kalyan Municipality and went miles and miles away to Talasari sworn to walk on the thorn-ridden road of service to tribals. He never looked back. ...
One lamp went out but not without
lighting thousands of others. ....The multitude of students
determined to follow in his footsteps represent a great
acknowledgement of his massive achievement...
Kane worked like an ever burning lamp to bring his work to this
stage, and I feel that his followers should work towards creating a leadership
for the whole society from among the Vanasavis, which will be a
real tribute to his memory.
-- Shri Moropant Pingale,
Member of the All India Working Committee of the RSS, and
Senior Pracharak. He was the guide and inspiration for the work
launched in Thane District.