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IF THERE WAS A LEGENDARY WIZ OF HOPE, IT WAS HIM
Dr. Patangrao Kadam, the founder of Bharati Vidyapeeth, hailed from a middle-level farmer's family. He was born in a remote village named Sonsal, located in the perennially drought-prone area of Sangli District in Maharashtra. Since there was a dearth of educational facilities in his village, Dr. Kadam had to walk almost 4-5 km every day to attend a primary school in a nearby village. He did his secondary education up to S.S.C. in a small place named Kundal, where he stayed in a hostel with bare amenities.
Dr. 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 and established by a renowned social reformer and educationist, Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil. He was enrolled in the college under the "earn and learn scheme". It was there that the fine qualities of head and heart, which he is now known for, sprouted in him. He took lessons of social service at the feet of Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil.
In 1961, he came to Pune and completed a one-year Diploma Course in teaching. The following year he started working as a part-time teacher in a secondary school in Pune run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha. He earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's degree from the University of Pune. Despite his preoccupation with educational, social, and political activities, he completed his research on "Administrative Problems of Educational Administration in the 80s" for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Management by the University of Pune.
Dr. Kadam established Bharati Vidyapeeth in 1964 when he was hardly 20 years old. From the beginning, his vision was to develop Bharati Vidyapeeth as a distinct educational institution. His vision and ambitions are reflected in the constitution, which was submitted to the Charity Commissioner at the time of registration of Bharati Vidyapeeth as a Trust, wherein he had included "to establish our own University", as one of the objectives of Bharati Vidyapeeth. His dream came true when the Government of India, on the recommendation of the University Grants Commission, accorded the "Deemed to be University" status to the 12 constituent units of Bharati Vidyapeeth on 26th April 1996. Because of his outstanding contribution to Bharati Vidyapeeth, he was nominated as the lifelong Chancellor of Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University). From a village boy having no propitious educational background to becoming the Chancellor of a University, Dr. Kadam’s story is highly inspiring.
It was 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.
Dr. Kadam was a philanthropist of repute. He had established quite a few charitable trusts through which assistance of all kinds is given to needy people, particularly to students of disadvantaged groups. He was a Member of the Executive Council of the University of Pune continuously for 12 long years. He was also elected as a member of the Executive Council of Mumbai University with an all-time record of getting the highest number of votes and as a Member of the Senate of Shivaji University, Kolhapur.