GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Senior Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229

E-mail- dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net;

dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com

Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India

 

 

Prof. Karve and Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Dhondo Keshav Karve (1858-1962); social reformer and pioneer educationist; established the Shrimati Nathubai Damodar Thakersey University for Women in Poona (1915); was awarded “Bharat Ratna”, the highest Indian award, in 1958. He was popular as Prof. Karve. He was a very honest man. He worked in guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Indian Women’s University, “Everyone here knows the gentleman who will soon address us. Hence I need not speak at length by way of introducing him. He has taken up the mission of founding a university for Indian women. The task will entail the revival of different regional languages. He proposes to start in June an examining and teaching university. It is said that in our society as it is today men suffer from ardhangavayu and this charge is by and large well founded because we are not able to make our ‘better halves’ keep pace with us. Circumstances are chiefly responsible for this state of affairs. Prof. Karve has undertaken this work in order to improve the condition of women and has set about it briskly. I must indeed admit that his enthusiasm is matchless. If I may introduce him in the words of Mr. Gokhale, he is truth incarnate. We are therefore confident that, even if his work is not crowned with all the success one may hope for, no harm is likely to result from it any time. He has devoted twenty years of service to the Fergusson College and has been managing a widows’ home for as many years. Now, at the age of 59, he has started on a new venture, a mark of the highest self-sacrifice and zeal. In Gujarat, we do not have the spirit of self-sacrifice that we find in Poona. This should make us feel ashamed of ourselves; Gujarat has, therefore, much to learn from the life of Prof. Karve.

Concluding the proceedings, Gandhiji said: Mrs. Vidyagauri’s speech invites some comments. We shall accept equality of rights for women, but I think their education should differ from men’s, as their nature and functions do. In progressive countries, women receive the very highest education but, after it is over, they do not have to perform the same duties as men and in our country women have never to compete with men for a livelihood. The help this institution receives from us, whatever it is, will not go unavailing to us. When we start a school or a college here, we shall get back a part of what we donate. It is my earnest request, therefore, that we should give the best help we can to this institution.” 1 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The task of women’s education is beyond the capacity of you, me and the entire community. To think about it is like pushing back the sea, it is like trying to grasp with one’s hand the water of a mirage. To woman, the better half of man, who can impart education? What does it avail us if a few women become graduates of Karve University? Education will not be imparted thereby. To know that a woman is more than a man is in itself true education.” 2 

Mahatma Gandhi spoke, “It give me joy to publish the following appeal by Sjt. V. M. Joshi, President of Karve Jubilee Committee: Professor Karve is not an ordinary man who is satisfied if he satisfies an indulgent public which, if it proves itself exacting and imperious at times, issues a certificate of merit ninety-nine times out of hundred if some little service is rendered to it during recreation hours. Prof. Karve has obeyed a master that is never generous, never indulgent and ever exacting, though invariably just. This master is his own conscience. His self-effacement, his single-minded devotion to duty, his exhaustless energy, his honesty in all circumstances, his faith in the midst of opposition, his irrepressible optimism are a national asset of the first magnitude. There may be two opinion about the work to which he has devoted his great gifts but there can be only one opinion about the gifts themselves. And the latter are any day far more valuable and lasting than the work itself. The organizers of the Jubilee have set before themselves a very modest task to collect Rs. 25,000 to be presented to Prof. Karve for his work. It is a sum that should readily come forth from the numerous men and women who have come under the influence of this giant among silent and selfless workers or who have profited by his labours of a lifetime.” 3  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “At first I thought I would give a separate letter to Prof. Karve. But whilst dictating this, I thought that I would confine myself only to this letter and leave you to introduce Shrimati Urmila Devi to Prof. Karve and let her see both the institutions and make her choice, if a choice is at all open to her. And naturally what I have said regarding the Seva Sadan applies equally to Prof. Karve’s Home. I have known Shrimati Urmila Devi intimately for several years and I know how eager she is for doing some service.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have just received your letter of 15th May last. It will give me great joy if the dispute between you and the executors of the will of the late Sir Vitthaldas is amicably settled and whether it is amicably settled or not, I would like the appeal that has been made for donations to your University to receive a generous response. It is a tragedy that a man of your amazing industry and great devotion to the ideal that he has set before he should feel they want of funds for the cause to which he has dedicated his life. If this letter enables you or the organizers of the appeal to get help from quarters which were hitherto closed against you I should feel delighted.” 5 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have your letter regarding the appeal made by your Committee for donations to the Indian Women’s University. I do hope that the appeal will receive a generous response from the public. Everybody knows the valuable service rendered by Prof. Karve so nobly and so selflessly to the cause of women’s education, and I have no doubt that the public should set his mind at rest in the evening of his life with regard to the future of an institution to which he and his have dedicated their lives.” 6

 

References:

 

  1. Prajabandhu, 27-2-1916
  2. Navajivan, 10-8-1924
  3. Young India, 5-4-1928
  4. LETTER TO G. K. DEVDHAR, October 7, 1928
  5. LETTER TO D. K. KARVE, May 24, 1934
  6. LETTER TO G. B. PRADHAN, October 4, 1934

 

 

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