Mumbai – Dr. Patangrao Kadam(73), a well known Congress leader from Maharashtra, passed away on Friday night. He had been suffering from kidney failure and had been undergoing treatment at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai.
He previously held the forest ministry in the Maharashtra government. He was also an educationist and is the founder of Bharati Vidyapeeth.
His son Vishwajeet Kadam is the President of the Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress.
Patangrao Kadam was born into a middle level farming family in a small village of Sonsal, Sangli District in Maharashtra. Since no educational facilities were available in Sonsal, Kadam had to walk 4–5 km, every day to attend a primary school in a nearby village. He did his secondary education up to S.S.C,at a boarding school in Kundal.
Kadam was the first person from his village to have passed the S.S.C, examination. After S.S.C., he joined Shivaji College at Satara, run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha, which was established by a renowned social reformer and educationist, Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil. He was enrolled in the College under its “earn and learn scheme”. He took lessons of dedicated social service from Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil.
Kadam came to Pune in 1961, where he completed one year Diploma Course in teaching and in 1962, started working as a part time teacher in a secondary school in Pune run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha. Kadam obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Master’s degree from the University of Pune. He established Bharati Vidyapeeth in 1964.
Despite his pre-occupation with educational, social and political activities, Kadam completed his research on the theme “Administrative Problems of Educational Administration in 80s” for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Management by the University of Pune.
He remained a loyal Congressman and did not leave the party even after getting offers from breakaway parties.
History of Bharati Vidyapeeth
It was around 1963, when he was still a part-time school teacher that Patangrao Kadam was disturbed on seeing that not many Maharashtrian students could get admissions to national level institutions such as National Defence Academy or clear competitive examinations. He noted that the reason was a relatively weak foundation of these students in subjects such as English and Mathematics. The organisation was founded with the aim to bring about “intellectual awakening of people through the spread of education” and to “prepare human resources needed for all round development, particularly economic, of the country”. Bharati Vidyapeeth, since its inception, started conducting competitive examinations for school going children in the area. This subsequently became its major activity, which still continues.
Bharati Vidyapeeth had its inception in a small room in a remote corner of an old part of Pune City. The onlookers then could not understand the word “Vidyapeeth” (University) in the name “Bharati Vidyapeeth”. In the span of 40 years, Bharati Vidyapeeth grew to conduct more than 156 educational units of various kinds, right from pre-primary schools to postgraduate institutions and a university.
Kadam’s association with cooperative sector
Like education, Co-operative sector is another area in which Dr. Kadam has done commendable work. It is with his initiative that several cooperative units, like Bharati Cooperative Bank (multi-state scheduled bank with 18 branches), Sonhira Cooperative Sugar Factory, Sagreshwar Cooperative Spinning Mill, Sonhira Cooperative Kukkut Palan Sangh, Krishna-Verala Cooperative Spinning Mill etc. were established as sister concerns of Bharati Vidyapeeth. Among other cooperative units under the Bharati Vidyapeeth’s umbrella are: Cooperative Consumer Stores at Pune, Sangli and Kadegaon and Mahila Industrial Cooperative Society at Kadegaon. All these units are doing very well.