I feel like an orphan now: Hazare

Eminent social worker Anna Hazare on Saturday May 29, 2010 said he felt like an orphan after the demise of GP Pradhan, who was instrumental in helping create a pressure group during various agitations.

Hazare visited Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar and offered his tribute to the departed socialist leader who passed away on Saturday morning. Pradhan's close friends Rambhau Tupe, Mohan Dharia, Bhai Vaidya, Baba Adhav, ND Patil, Kishor Pawar, Narendra Dabholkar, Subhash Ware, Madan Bafna and Kapil Patil offered their tributes to the departed soul. Many politicians, including chief minister Ashok Chavan, expressed their condolences.

Hazare said it was Pradhan who backed him during the Right To Information (RTI) campaign and did not hesitate to mobilise support for the movement. He said Pradhan held a unique authority by the virtue of his character and values and was always a lighthouse for all the activists in various movements.

Socialist leader Bhai Vaidya recalled that Pradhan at the age of 18 became a socialist and remained so till his last breath. He recalled that Pradhan had participated in Rashtra Seva Dal camp and had delivered an address at the age of 21. He described Pradhan as a true teacher whose greatness reflected through two of his outstanding students -- linguist Ashok Kelkar and Padma recipient PR Dubashi.

'Mahendra treated me like his father'

It was very difficult for Mahendra Girase and Khandu Pawar to control their feelings after Pradhan breathed his last at 5.05 am on Saturday May 29, 2010 morning. These two boys looked after Pradhan Master during his six-year stay at the Sane Guruji Hospital where Pradhan was a trustee. Girase said his father was overwhelmed when Pradhan Sir praised Mahendra. Pradhan had said to Mahendra's father, "You are lucky to have a son like Mahendra who is taking my care like his own father." Khandu said in the last few months, Pradhan Sir had become so fragile that he used to say, "Don't leave my hand, otherwise I would die". Bhai Vaidya said Pradhan Master wanted to end his life on June 11 which is Sane Guruji's death anniversary.

State honour

Before Pradhan's body was donated to the hospital attached to Sumatibai Shah College of Ayurveda, a state honour was paid to the departed socialist leader. As the body was kept on the hospital premises, bugle was sounded to bid adieu to the departed leader. Divisional commissioner Dilip Band and district collector Chandrakant Dalvi laid wreaths on behalf of the government.

Condolence meet

At SM Joshi Foundation, Navi Peth, on June 3, 5.30pm

Shailendra Paranjpe/

"The Man Who Had No Enemy Left Us"

Condolences pour in for veteran socialist leader and freedom fighter G. P. Pradhan who passed away on Saturday May 29, 2010 morning. Terming his death as the losing of a critical link in the socialist thinking, city's guardian minister and state water resources minister Ajit Pawar said he had no enemy.

"Pradhan sir was groomed by S. M. Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore and Achyutrao Patwardhan. He was not only an all rounder leader but also had earned respect from all quarters of public. People will always remember his stint as the leader of opposition in Legislative Council. The service he rendered among Adivasis of Thane district will be always remembered," Pawar said in his message.

He added that Pradhan dedicated his own house to Sadhana, the mouthpiece of socialist party in Maharashtra. He did not have any longings and the society has lost an ideal in him.

Suresh Kalmadi, Member of Parliament said, "An ideal guide has left us in the form of Pradhan sir. Helping the downtrodden to get the justice was his lifelong mission. He lived a life of niskham karmyogi."

Ashok Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra said in his message, "We have lost a cultured and intellectual personality in the form of Pradhan sir. While pursuing his social and political work, he also cultivated the academic activities. He rendered a yeomen service to Marathi literature in the form of intellectual books. His thinking for social and political cause was on till the last breath."

Chhagan Bhujbal, Deputy Chief Minister and Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde also condoled the demise of the senior leader and freedom fighter.

"People like Pradhan Sir had a great impact not only on the society but on generations. He led his entire life on 'simple living high thinking' principle. It is a big loss for all," Deshmukh said.

‘Plant a tree to remember me’

Known as a gentleman politician, G P Pradhan had participated in the 1942 Quit India movement and later underwent
imprisonment during the emergency rule in 1975

By Tanaji Khot / Nitin Brahme

Born on August 26, 1922, as Ganesh Prabhakar Pradhan in a middle-class family that lived in Sadashiv Peth, G P Pradhan was influenced by socialist leaders N G Gore and S M Joshi in his early years.

He was attracted to the Quit India movement floated by Mahatma Gandhi in his college days and he jumped into it.

For this, the British government sent him to Yerwada jail for eleven months. During his jail term, he came across many great personalities like Sane Guruji and his life was transformed.

After serving his tenure in jail, Pradhan resumed his education and completed his Masters degree in Marathi and English literature. He then joined Fergusson College as an English professor. He worked there from 1945 to 1965.

He was a favourite among students during his tenure and was fondly called Pradhan sir.

He was elected to the Pune University senate and left a significant mark on issues in the field of education. In 1965, he resigned as professor and began his second innings in public life.

He was elected from the graduate constituency of the Mahrashtra Legislative Council(MLC) as a socialist party candidate for the first time in 1966.

In 1975 during the emergency, Pradhan raised his voice against it and was put behind bars for 18 months by the government. During this jail term he wrote two Marathi books — Sata Uttarachi Kahani and Bhakari aani Swatantrya.

In 1980, Pradhan became the leader of opposition in the legislative council. He was known as a genuine and learned leader who knew the real issues people in Maharashtra faced.

After he retired from politics, he joined Marathi weekly Sadhna as honourary editor from 1985 to 1998. The weekly was the mouthpiece of the socialist party. Pradhan has written several books in Marathi and English.

In 1965, during the Indo-Pak war he went to the warfront as a journalist with Shirubhau Limaye and then wrote a book called Hajipir.

During Bangladesh war in 1971, he visited various villages in Bangladesh and wrote about it in a book titled Sonar Bangla. He also wrote the biography of Lokmanya Tilak for the National Book Trust.

My friends who love me, should plant a tree in my memory and take care of them for atleast five years,” this was pretty
much the last wish of the socialist, tree-loving writer G P Pradhan.

GP had written a letter to Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the editor of Sadhana and president of Andashradha Nirmulan Samiti. The letter was written on April 5, 2006, when GP lived in the Sane Guruji Hospital Hadapsar.

This letter also reads, ‘This should be published in Sadhana, after my death. I was fortunate to live with Sane Guruji in the Yerwada jail in 1943 and I was able to write for Sadhana with the editor Professor Vasant Bapat and that I was able to do
something for the Sadhana Trust. Sadhana must carry forward the heritage of Sane Guruji and become a mouthpiece of all progressive movements.”

GP as he was fondly called also urged his friends to refrain from erecting any kind of memorials in his memory. In his letter
GP thanks all his friends who loved him, he also asks them to forgive him for whatever wrong he felt he did and finally he writes that he is overwhelmed with gratitude.

After her wife’s death in 2005 GP left his Sadashiv Peth residence and started living at the Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar. He wanted to live with the freedom fighter and his best friend, Rambhau Tupe.

Pune Mirror had reported the move, but after Tupe’s accident he cancelled his decision. On April 1, 2007, he donated his Sadashiv Peth house to the Sadhana Trust and decided to at the hospital forever. When Mirror met him at the hospital, he
was full of life, writing with great vigour about Indian democracy.

GP always felt that people misunderstood his austerity but the fact was that he had childlike emotions, and he will be deeply missed.


Photo: Social activist Anna Hazare pays homage to GP Pradhan at Sane Guruji Hospital on Saturday May 29, 2010 . Courtasy: Indian Express


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