About Maharshi Karve Memorial:
Maharshi Karve’s life unfolds a classic history of an ardent social worker. He was deeply moved by the deplorable conditions of widows in the society. The solution, he believed, was to make all women independent. He started a home for widows in 1896 followed by a school so that they become educated and self-reliant. He fought throughout his life to make this happen.
The orthodox people in the society then, criticized Maharshi Karve. He continued to work without complaining. He simply proceeded to act upon his ideals, beginning in a small way and working tirelessly till one day his dream of women’s education and widow education, rehabilitation and remarriage, came true.
In his own personal life too, he lived by his principles. The long and felicitous marriage between him and his second wife, herself a child widow, was a shinning example of how men and women can work shoulder-to-shoulder to bring about social change. His wife, Baya, was devoted to this mission with all her mind, body and resources.
Hingne is the birth place of Maharshi Karve’s work. It stands witness to the transformation of suppressed souls of yearning women to today’s educated, confident and strong women. In 1916, Maharshi Karve established the first ever Women’s University in India. It is now known as SNDT Women’s University.
India is a land of Karma-Yogis. Doers- who hold fast to their beliefs and actively practice and demonstrate what they preach. Dhondo Keshav Karve was one such son of India. At a very early age, Maharshi Karve was deeply moved by the repressive and cruel social customs; particularly by the treatment given out to child widows and women in general. He realized that society would not progress without sweeping reforms for women. Society then was sharply divided between the conservative majority and the reformist minority. Though in minority, Karve could foresee the benefits and took a balanced approach to reform.
The minuscule bud of his relentless efforts has today blossomed and burgeoned into a thriving and dynamic institution-the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS), Pune.
Maharshi Karve breathed his last breath on the Hingne (Karvenagar) campus in 1962. In the year 2007, a memorial has been constructed in the MKSSS Karvenagar campus through the donations by students and the MKSSS to pay the heartfelt tribute to Anna, as he was lovingly called by his people. On the 150th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve this memorial was inaugurated at the hands of Hon. Shree Lal Krishna Adwani. The Karve memorial on the premises of MKSSS at Karvenagar is a museum which displays some of the things he used during his times. Maharshi Karve Memorial, next to his Samadhi is a place of reverence. His Samadhi and the Vrindavan in memory of his wife-Baya are the places of worship for all his followers.
The memorial has three main halls which depicts his life and work. History of MKSSS, the activists and social workers, who were his associates in highs and lows of his endeavors as an educationist, is exhibited here. The articles and the pictures in the museum is a tribute to a glorious heritage. The museum will be a source of inspiration for students and teachers committed to the cause of women’s education.
This beautiful, well planned memorial is a fitting, permanent documentation and homage to this great man’s work. It is a mark of respect to those thousand nameless people who invested their time, energy money and faith in the cause of women’s education and emancipation.
To narrate every aspect of the lifework of a man of his stature is no easy task – given that he worked tirelessly for every day of his 105 years. One would take several lifetimes to accomplish the legendry reaching.
That’s how even the memorial of this Legend inspires us and will continue the same for generations to come. The multiple facets of his dynamic personality-humble yet self-assured persona, his might struggles and his rewarding successes – all shine through all three halls of this unique structure.
A glimpse of his memorial gives the feel of his legacy which would continue to inspire many more universally.