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Sane Guruji

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Title: Sane Guruji  
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Sane Guruji

Pandurang Sadashiv Sane
Born Pandurang Sadashiv Sane
24 December 1899
Palgad, Bombay State, British India
(present-day Maharashtra, India)
Died 11 June 1950 (aged 50)
Occupation Writer, teacher, social activist, freedom fighter
Nationality Indian
Notable work(s) Shyamchi Aai

Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (Template:Lang-mar;IPA: [paɳɖurəŋɡə səd̪aʃiwə sane]; 24 December 1899 – 11 June 1950), he is also known as Sane Guruji (Guruji means "Teacher") by his students and followers, was a Marathi author, teacher, social activist, and freedom fighter from Maharashtra, India. He is referred to as National Teacher of India.

Early life

Sane was born on December 24, 1899 to Sadashivrao Sane and Yashodabai Sane in Palgad town, Bombay State in British India (in present day Ratnagiri district of the Konkan region of Maharashtra state). He was their second son (third child). Sadashivrao was a revenue collector who evaluated and collected village crops on behalf of the government, and got to keep 25% of his collections as his own share. The family was relatively well off during Sane's early childhood, but their financial condition rapidly deteriorated, leading to their house being confiscated by government authorities. Unable to face the trauma and hardship, Sane's mother Yashodabai died in 1917. His mother's death due to a lack of medical facilities as well as his inability to meet her at her deathbed would haunt Sane for the rest of his life.


Sane completed his primary education in the village of Palgad, in the Dapoli taluka in Ratnagiri district. After his primary education, he was sent to Pune to live with his maternal uncle for further education. However, he did not like his stay in Pune and returned to Palgad to stay at a missionary school in Dapoli, about 6 miles from Palgad. While at Dapoli, he was quickly recognized as an intelligent student with good command over both the Marathi and Sanskrit languages. He was also interested in poetry.

While in school at Dapoli, the financial condition of his family deteriorated rapidly and he could not afford to continue his education. Like his elder brother, he considered taking up a job to help with the family finances. However, on the recommendation of one of his friends, and with support from his parents, he enrolled at the Aundh Institution, which provided free education and food to poor students. Here at Aundh he suffered many hardships but continued his education. However, a plague broke out in Aundh and all students were sent back home.

Back in Palgad, one night he overheard his parent's conversation in which his father suspected his dedication to education. Enraged and hurt by his father's suspicion, he immediately travelled to Pune and enrolled as a student at the Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya.[1] Life was not easy for Sane in Pune either, and he had to subsist on limited meals. However, he continued to excel in academics and graduated 10th grade in 1918 after which he enrolled for further education in New Poona College (now known as Sir Parshurambhau College). He completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees there, in Marathi and Sanskrit literature.


Sane's father Sadashiv was a supporter of Lokmanya Tilak. However after being imprisoned for a few days, he preferred to keep away from political matters.[2] However, Sane's mother proved to be a greater influence on his life. He graduated with a degree in Marathi and Sanskrit and earned a Master's degree in philosophy, before opting for a teaching profession. Sane worked as teacher in Pratap High School in Amalner town. He chose to teach in rural schools, forgoing a potentially larger salary he could have earned by teaching wealthier students. He also worked as a hostel warden. Sane was a gifted orator, captivating audiences with his impassioned speeches on civil rights and justice.[3] While in school he published a magazine named Vidyarthi (Template:Lang-mar; vidyārthī) which became very popular among students.[4] He inculcated moral values in the student community, amongst whom he was very popular.

Participation in Indian independence movement

Sane Guruji resigned from his school job to join the Indian Independence Movement when Mahatma Gandhi started the Dandi March in 1930. He was imprisoned by the British authorities in the Dhule Jail for more than 15 months for his work in the Civil Disobedience Movement. In 1932, Vinoba Bhave was in the same jail as Sane. Bhave delivered a series of lectures on the Bhagavad Gita on each Sunday morning. Bhave's work Gītā pravacane (Template:Lang-mar) was an outcome of the notes Sane had made while in the jail.[5]

Sane was imprisoned a second time, in the Trichnapalli Jail, where he learned Tamil and Bengali. He translated the famous work Kurul by Thiruvalluvar into Marathi. He recognised the importance of learning Indian languages, particularly in the context of the problem of national integration; and started the Antar Bharati movement. Antarbharati Anuvad Suvidha Kendra (Template:Lang-mar; Inter-Indian Translation Services Centre) and the Sane Guruji Rashtriya Smarak (Template:Lang-mar; Sane Guruji National Memorial) would continue this legacy.[6]

Sane played a crucial role in the spread of the Indian National Congress into rural Maharashtra, particularly in Khandesh. He was actively involved in the organisation of Faizpur Session of the Congress. He also participated in the Election Campaign of the Bombay Provincial Elections of 1936.[7] He participated in the 1942 Quit India Movement and was imprisoned for 15 months for it. During this period he became closely associated with Congress socialists like Madhu Limaye.

Working class movement

In the late 1930s, Sane was part of a working class movement in the East Khandesh District. He played a crucial role in organising the textile labour and peasants of Khandesh.[8] During this period he was associated with communists such as S. M. Dange. However the Communist position to support the Second World War made him dissociate himself from the Communists.[4] Ibid. In the later part of his life he was closer to Socialists like Madhu Limaye, N. G. Gore, and S.M. Joshi. Sane was a vehement critic of Hindu nationalist parties such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its allies.[9]

Eradication of caste

In response to Mahatma Gandhi's promise to Babasaheb Ambedkar during Poona Pact that he will spend the rest of his life campaigning for the removal of untouchability, Sane took up the cause as well. To sensitise people on the issue of untouchability, Sane travelled throughout Maharashtra for around four months in 1947.[10] The culmination of this tour was his fast at Pandharpur to open the Vitthal Temple for untouchables. The fast lasted 11 days from 1 May to 11 May 1947, and the doors of the Vitthal temple were ultimately opened for the untouchables.[4] Ibid.

In the post-independence period however, Sane became increasingly disillusioned over the possibilities of eliminating inequality from Indian society. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was a severe blow that left him disturbed. His response to this tragedy was to fast for 21 days.[11] He died on 11 June 1950 due to an overdose of sleeping pills.[12]

Literary works

Guruji wrote about 73 books,[13] mainly children's literature. His most well known work in Marathi literature include Śyāmacī Āi (Template:Lang-mar; Shyam's Mother), Śyāma (Template:Lang-mar), and Bhāratiya Saṃskṛti (Template:Lang-mar; Indian Culture).

He started a weekly journal named Sādhanā on 15 August 1948. This journal has been regularly published since then.[14]


The Sane Guruji Rashtriya Smarak Samiti has developed a national memorial in the name of Sane Guruji at Vadghar in Mangaon, Raigad district in Maharashtra state on Konkan Railway route..The organizations believing in the ideology of late Sane Guruji i.e. Rashtra Seva Dal, Antar Bharati,Akhil Bharatiya Sane Guruji Kathamala, etc. have contributed in their own way. The national memorial consists of Camping site, Guest accommodation, Library and Reference wing with a provision for translation of the literary work in various Indian languages.[15][16] It is being developed as a camping ground for students since 2001.




  • Bhave, Vinoba. Moved by Love. Paramdham Prakashan, Wardha. 1997
  • Boda, Sudha. Sane Gurujincha Mandir Praveshacha Ladha. Boda, Baroda, 1997.
  • Mangalvedhekar, Raja. Sane Gurujinchi Jeevan Gatha. Sadhana Publication, Pune. 1975
  • Redkar, Chaitra. Sane Guruji. Gandharv Ved Publications, Pune, 2011

External links

  • Most Books of Sane
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Indian Postal Stamp Featuring Sane
  • Partial List of Sane's Translation Work

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