Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil
Social Activist & Educationalist from Maharashtra
Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil (September 22, 1887 - May 9, 1959) was a social activist and educationist in Maharashtra, India. Strong advocate of education of the masses, he was the founder of Rayat Education Society, one of the most important educational institution in Maharashtra. Bhaurao played an important role in educating people from backward castes and also the poor masses by coining the philosophy earn and learn. He was also a prominent member of Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth seeker's society) founded by Mahatma Jotirao Phule. The people of Maharashtra honoured him with the epithet of Karmaveer (king of actions) and the Government of India awarded him with Padma Bhushan in 1959.
Bhaurao was born in a Jain Farmer family at Kumbhoj/Kambhoja in Kolhapur district. Bhaurao's father was clerk in revenue department for East India company. Bharao during his childhood days was directly influenced Chatrapati Shahu Majaraj, the King of Kolhapur who was promoter of social equality and education people belonging to backward castes. Eventually his father sent him at kolhapur for further education. Here he got in contact with Satya Shodhak Movement and found another source of inspiration, Mahatma Phule and Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde. Bhaurao garnered political interest and decided to play his role in the fight for Indian freedom struggle by working in other beneficial aspects like public education. While he worked for Ogles, Kirloskars and Coopers he participated in activities of Satya Shodhak Samaj. He had realized by then that only remedy for the social evils of those time was education of masses. In the year 1919, he started a hostel where kids from backward castes and poor families could stay and get education, at the same time do work to take care of the expenses. This was the foundation of what later became Rayat Shikshan Sansthan.
As Bhaurao started working on his education for the masses, Gandhiji had also launched the freedom for Indian independence. During a public meeting in 1921, Bhaurao happened to come across Gandhiji at Mumbai. He was highly impressed by Gandhi's appearance in a loin cloth and his philosophy of Khadi. Following this encounter Bhaurao decided to adopt Khadi attire and follow Gandhian principles in everyday living. Eventually he vowed and saw it to completion, establishment of 101 schools in Gandhi's name.
Rayat Education Society : While working as an employee in the kirloskar factory at Kolhapur, Bhaurao got involved in working for Satyashodhak Samaj. In a council of Satyashodhak Samaj, held at Kale near Karad, a resolution was passed that in order to run SatyaShodhak Movement successfully, it is necessary that they must educate the Bahujan Samaj. Accordingly, Bhaurao Patil established Rayat Shikshan Sanstha at a small village named Kale, from Satara district, of western part of Maharashtra, on October 4, 1919 on the auspicious day of Ashok Vijaya Dashami. This society was specially meant for the children of masses, so it was named Rayat (Marathi word for masses). During his life-time, the Sanstha had 38 cosmopolitan boardings, 578 voluntary schools, 6 training colleges, 108 secondary schools and 3 Colleges.
Awards : People of Maharashtra gave him the title of Karmveer (Marathi for "King of actions"). Government of India gave him Padma Bhushan in 1959. A Postal Stamp was issued on him by Indian Post. The university gave him D.Litt in the same year. Many Primery and Secondery schools and graduation colleges in Maharashtra are named after him
Information Courtesy : Mr. Mahavir S. Chavan