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Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve

Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve (1858 – 1962) was one of the outstanding promoters of women’s education in India. He was born in Seravali village of Maharashtra and graduated in Arts from Wilson College, Mumbai, in 1884.

In 1891, he started his career as a teacher in a college in Pune. He was so move by the plight of widows in India that he married a child-widow. She cooperated with him in his mission to bring about social reforms and popularize women’s education. He traveled all over Maharashtra and gave lectures on widow remarriage. In 1899, he started a home for women in the town of Hingane. Slowly, widows started joining the home started with donations from the people.

Maharshi Karve started a Mahila Vidyalaya (women’s college), and he was joined in his efforts by his son and daughter-in-law, who began publishing a monthly magazine aimed at developing social awareness in people. The magazine was published continuously for the next 26 years.

Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve saw the need for a national university of women where they could study home science, health, cookery, drawing, drama and so on. In 1916, he established Bharatiya Mahila Vidyapitha and traveled abroad to raise funds for it. In 1920, he received Rupees 15 lakhs from one Vitthal Das Thakersey, and so he renamed the university as Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey University. With this, his dream of women’s education was fulfilled.

Maharshi Karve  wrote two autobiographical works: Ä€tmawrutta (1928) in Marathi, and Looking Back (1936) in English.

Recognition for his work came from Hingane town was renamed Karve Nagar in Pune and the road leading to it was named Karve Road. He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award in 1955 and with the Bharat Ratna award in 1958. He died in 1962, at the age of 104.