Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kakasaheb Gadgil: A Front-ranking Freedom Fighter and Nationalist-Dr. Ravindra Kumar

A great nationalist and an astute parliamentarian, an educationist and organizer Narhar Vishnu Gadgil, affectionately called as Kakasaheb, was among those on the forefront of national liberation movement of India under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and one of a dozen leaders engaged to rebuild the nation after freedom.
Born on January 10, 1896 at Malhargarh, Central Province, Narhar Gadgil was the son of Radha and Vishnu Narayanrao Gadgil, belonging to a Chitpawan Brahmin family of Maharashtra. At the time of birth of Narhar his father Vishnu Gadgil was posted at Malhargarh as a railway employee. Due to the sudden demise of his wife Vishnu Gadgil himself took care of primary education of Narhar at Malhargarh. However, in 1909 he could manage for Vishnu to study at Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya of Pune. Later he studied at Ferguson College and the Law College of Pune and after obtaining a Graduate Degree in Law from the Law College of Bombay he finally started practicing in Pune.
The city of Pune was the Karmabhoomi of Lokmanya Tilak, thus the main centre of activities relating to freedom movement of India. Narhar Gadgil, who during studies had filled nationalism and patriotism in him, couldn’t remain unaffected of those activities. Hence, in 1915 he besides meeting Mahatma Gandhi at Pune Railway Station also participated in the Congress Session held in Bombay. 
After the death of Lokmanya Tilak, at the call of the Mahatma he jumped into national liberation movement on August 1, 1920 and soon became one of the staunch followers of Gandhi. His trust in the Mahatma could be observed from a portion of the confidential report sent in 1930 by the Intelligence Department of Bombay State to the Secretary for the Department of Home, India in which it was mentioned, “He [Gadgil] is not ready to listen to anyone except the Mahatma …”      
On the strength of his organizational abilities and tireless efforts in connecting people to freedom movement Gadgil emerged a national leader in a short span of time. Along with becoming a member of the AICC and the CWC he was many times elected as the President of Maharashtra Prantik Congress Committee between 1922 and 1947. The credit goes to Gadgil to connect known people from the Backward Communities to organization and freedom movement. The name of Keshavrao Jedhe can especially be mentioned here in this context.
Kakasaheb Gadgil was a prominent leader of Civil Disobedience Movement [1930], Individual Satyagraha [1940] and Quit India Movement [1942]. Due to his nationalistic activities he was arrested six times during 1930-32, which itself was a record of the history of freedom movement, and is still a source of inspiration for nationalists and patriots.    
He was an astute parliamentarian and noted for his radical views in Parliament [1934-57]. There he became the stoutest champion of progressive causes. He was an able administrator also. As a member of the first Cabinet of independent India [1947-52] he took initiatives for so many known national power-projects including Bhakra-Nangal [Punjab], Hirakund [Orissa], Rihand [U.P.] and Kakarapara [Gujarat]. He played an important role in construction and reconstruction of many national high ways and diplomatic enclaves like Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. Moreover, as a Governor of undivided Punjab [1958-62] he significantly contributed for the maturity of democratic institutions.
Kakasaheb Gadgil was an eminent writer and scholar.  He authored so many books in Marathi and English languages. His services for Hindi and Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti and the Marathi Sahitya Sabha, along with his contribution to the development of the Indian Institute of Public Administration and the Indian Council of World Affairs will be remembered for a long.
Kakasaheb Gadgil left for his heavenly abode on January 12, 1966 in Pune.    

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