are certain solemn occasions that by themselves lift
up our very souls to a higher and nobler level, without
much effort on our part. They generate an aroma of good-will
and radiant rays of joy sparkle forth. It is during
such happy moments that many or all are made to shed
away petty prejudices, narrowness of mind, selfishness
and such other foibles, and a sincere desire bordering
on determination to serve hunamity gets hold of them.
Such events, release tremendous forces, — forces that
are effective in breaking barriers of all kinds. Like
the rays of the Sun, fogs and mist are melted away;
hills and hillocks are powerless to lock up the light;
there is a brilliance all around, where once darkness
held its sway. One such occasion arises, when a grateful
people gather in all sincerity to place their hearts
at the feet of a great man, who, by his humility attains
nobility, by his service achieves mighty and everlasting
results, by his very presence makes others feel, that
life is worth living. Lives of great men make our lives
sublime. And when such great men are honoured by a grateful
people, during their own lifetime, it is an event of
historic and ethical importance. We witnessed one such
occasion, quite recently—we refer, of course, to the
function organised in many places in this Sub-continent,
to felicitate Dr. D.K.Karve, the veteran educationist
and social reformer, on his completing 100 years.
Dr.Karve has now attained not only a pinnacle of glory,
but what is more, he has become an institution by himself.
Whoever is beset with poverty and the concomitant difficulties
and dangers, whoever is dismayed by the ferocity exhibited
by orthodoxy, whoever is beset with the task of ploughing
the lonely furrow, has but to mention unto himself the
very name of Dr.Karve, to rid himself of all doubts
and weakness. A new hope is bound to arise, and strengthen
his ardour for service. The tremendous role played by
the veteran, in the social revolution in the country,
is something stupendous, and considering the ignorance
prevalent during that time, his achievement is a marvel.
Social service yields neither rich dividends nor quick
results; it is as laborious as it is exacting. To pin
his faith and gear his energy, to this field, when all
around him, he found men who had their meteoric rise
in the political firmament, is proof enough of the fact,
that in Dr. Karve we have, not only a good and great
man, but a pioneer of rare gifts.
Pandit Nehru,—'a man of moods'—as he was good enough
to describe himself, naturally became emotional, on
the occasion. He epitomised the wishes of all right
thinking men and women, when he paid a glowing tribute
to this great man. He said,
"Sir, you are one who inspires. Your life is a
tremendous record of what a man can do. You are one
of those who have shown what men can do quietly and
serenely. That is how real work is done. Not in the
way in which people who hold jobs like mine function
with all the publicity attending on them".
Pandit Nehru, with a sincerity surging up in his heart,
asked for Dr.Karve's blessings.
Lesser men would have been elated to such a degree,
that they would immediately mumble forth thanks, and
tributes, and bask in the Sun-shine of the occasion,
even forgetting, principles and axioms. Like the 'King's
touch', tributes from those placed on eminent posts,
are today sought after. A nod, and a pat, means so much,
in these days of commercialised politics. And Pandit
Nehru is an Allauddin's lamp in politics, today.
To get spontaneous and sincere tributes from Pandit
Nehru, is no ordinary thing, and the fact that the Pandit
came all the way from Delhi, to take part in the function,
bears ample testimony to the high regard in which Dr.Karve
is held. But what is to be marvelled at, is not the
rich tribute paid by Pandit Nehru, but Dr.Karve's reaction
to it. That enhances the prestige and nobility of the
Doctor, to lofty dimensions.
Dr. Karve could have, and the 'Times of India' says,
'should have', confined himself with paying his thanks
to the Pandit, requesting him to carry on the work,
and encourage social reformers. But, Dr. Karve, refused
to succumb to charms, natural or calculated. He has
something to say and is prepared to say that—whether
it would cater to the tastes of those highly placed
or not. Dr. Karve derived his strength from his robust
sincerity of thought and honesty of purpose, and hence
would not cut himself away from that source.
We very often find, during such functions, a sort of
theatrical declarations, or to be more correct, desertions.
Copious homilies, pious platitudes, sweet shibboleths,
are mouthed, in the thought that it is fitting for the
We need not attribute motives to Pandit Nehru's part
in the function and it would be uncharitable to find
anything other than sincerity in his tributes! But in
the Maratta country today there is a group, ever eager
and alert to utilise every possible event for their
own selfish aggrandisement. Having taken upon themselves
the role of 'Betrayers' of their homeland they find
that they are looked upon with scorn and contempt, by
all who have not become dead to all feelings, that once
the greatest of Marattas, Shivaji gave unto this people.
Perched on seats of power they have their own cunning
plans—plans to placate the people, by just pandering
to the vanity of the wary and unlettered. It is with
such sly motives, that they took all pains to ask Pandit
Nehru, to come and unveil the statue of Shivaji. They
might have thought that by getting Nehru to take part
in the Karve function, they would be getting some more
chance of hoodwinking the public. 'One who has paid
such rich tributes to Karve, could not possibly be antagonistic
to the legitimate aspirations of the Marattas'—that
naturally would be the thought, that these job-seekers
could kindle, in the minds of the masses. But, Dr.Karve,
shattered all their sinister schemes, by his sincerity.
"Most of the desires of my life have been substantially
fulfilled and today I am leading a serene and contented
life. May I be allowed to express here, my last desire?
I hope I shall be fortunate enough to see in the near
future Gujerat and Maharashtra attain their legitimate
and natural status which is being enjoyed by all other
States in the Indian Union."
This should have acted as a 'bomb-shell' to those who
were hoping to utilise this function to further their
own ends. If Dr. Karve refrained from making this heart-felt
wish of his, those who are fastened on to high posts
would say, that 'great minds think alike. Nehru came
all the way from Delhi to pay homage to our Karve; and
our Maharishi likewise paid his tributes to Nehru. And
that great man said not a word about Maratta State;
for he is not a narrow minded regionalist; he is a noble
patriot, and all noble patriots have accepted Bi-lingual
Probably, Dr.Karve scented some such design, and wanted
to undo it. Probably he thought that on such a historic
occasion, one should place before his hearers, his innermost
thought and desire.
Anyway, the clique which wanted to exploit the situation
for their selfish ends, was dismayed and on hearing
Dr.Karve, plead for a separate Maratta State, there
was spontaneous jubilation and a tremendous ovation.
'Vive La Maratta' thundered forth the hearers.
It is reported that Dr.Karve said this, in a clear and
resonant voice. Sincerity has its own strength and it
never succumbs to sycophancy.
We are reminded of one such similar instance in our
When the State Government, got up a function to felicitate
and honour, the grand old man here, Mr.Pammal Sambandanar,
the greatest dramatist, and Dr.M.Varadarajan, a Tamil
scholar of rare gifts, those who are attempting to stem
the tide of resurgent nationalism here, thought, that
they could cull out some useful words from out of the
mouth of those two eminent Tamilians. But as true Tamilians,
wedded to sincerity, both of them thanked those in power
for their 'tributes' - but said in clear and resonant
voice, that the State should be renamed as 'Tamil Nad',
and they should work for and establish Tamil Arasu.
Schemers were naturally shocked; but the Tamilians as
a whole thanked the veterans.
Dr. Karve, has done yeoman service— for the past 70
years and more—but his latest service for the cause
of Maharashtra, is the boldest.
The Prime Minister, it is reported, who was listening
intently, just smiled as the centenarian ended his speech
with this remark.
That smile is the greatest of all the tributes paid
to Dr. Karve, for in that smile is couched, an admiration
and appreciation about Dr. Karve's uprightness and frankness.
Dr. Karve has earned, by this sincerity, not only the
thanks of the Marattas, but all those who value sincerity
of purpose, and courage of conviction. We join the chorus
of tributes placed at his feet, and are even envious
of Marattas, for they have amidst them such a stalwart,
who was bold enough not only to face dangers, difficulties,
taunts, insults, and impediments, but also to withstand
the most enticing of all charms, the 'hug and pat' from
one placed on the highest political pedestal today.
The Karve spirit is bound to inculcate hope and courage
and lead the brave Marattas victoriously, to their goal.