Hindu Vivek Kendra

On  30th  October 1996, the tribals of Maharashtra  lost  an affectionate guardian, true friend and sincere well-wisher in the death  of  Shri  Madhavrao  Kane.   The  BBC  had  described  the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as the largest voluntary organization in the world. It stands on the network of selfless and  dedicated workers  like Shri Kane who had proved his worth in many  fields, like politics, social work, liberation movements, civic  movement etc.

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.


Pandurangshastri Athavale

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.

Gopinath Munde,
Dy Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra.

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 memory.

Govindrao Chowdhry,Advocate,
Minister for Tribal Development,

Government of Maharashtra.

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  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
Shri Madhavrao Kane

"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.


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 Ashram.)

(A brief life-sketch)

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  of

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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.)




.....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.


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.


.....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.

Return to Index