Pandurang Sadashiv Sane alias Sane Guruji
A great social activist, patriot and famous Marathi author who poured his heart out for the society
Pandurang Sadashiv Sane, better known as Sane Guruji, was born in Palgad in Konkan region. His father was a freedom fighter. He was greatly influenced by his mother’s coaching. He graduated with a degree in Marathi and Sanskrit and earned a Master's degree in Philosophy, later joining the teaching profession at the Pratap High School in Amalner. He was also the hostel warden, and this gave a lot of scope to the teacher in him. He gave lessons in self-reliance and attitude of service through his own examples to the students staying in the hostel.
In 1928, he started the monthly magazine, Vidyarthi. In this regard, he said that the magazine would impart such education, which is not taught in schools, which is thought provoking, thought determining and which builds minds. Regarding teachers, he said that a true teacher is one who attracts students just as ants are attracted towards jaggery.
He was greatly influenced by the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. He himself exclusively used clothes made from Khadi. After the Dandi March conducted by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930, he resigned as a teacher and joined the nationalist movement. His political contribution during that period ranged from handling the responsibility of the weekly magazine Congress, striving to secure a tax holiday for farmers during famine, working towards making the Congress assembly in Faijpur a success, popularizing the freedom struggle while remaining undercover in the1942 agitation. He wrote patriotic poems and published them through his first collection of poems, Patri.
Balsaagar Bharat hovo | Vishwaat shobhuni raho ||
Rashtarth praan he urle | mee siddha maraya ho ||
(May India be strong as the ocean | May She be radiant in the world ||
This life is for the nation | I am capable of dying for Her ||)
The lines above had generated inspiration and patriotism among the people in those times. Realizing the increasing influence of his poems like Balsaagar Bharat Hovo (may India be strong as the ocean) on the public, the British Government confiscated all the copies of this book. Even today, these poems are equally effective.
He always opposed the unfair social evils like the caste system and untouchability. He travelled all over Maharashtra to secure public support for allowing the entry of Harijans (low caste people) inside the temple of Lord Vitthal in Pandharpur (in those times, they were forbidden by the high caste Brahmins to enter the temple). Ultimately, he went on a hunger strike and finally succeeded in his mission. It was said that one Pandurang truly freed the other Pandurang (another name for the lord Vitthal).
After independence, he joined the Socialist Party. He started AntarBharati (intra-Indian) movement to assimilate various States. This movement encouraged people to learn the culture and language of other States. In 1948 he started the weekly magazine Sadhana (meaning consistent and dedicated study for self-realization). A sensitive writer comes across from his stories, novels, articles, essays, biographies and poems. Humanitarianism, social reform and patriotism are values reflected in his literature. Even today, his poems inspire social workers and some poems are recited in schools as prayers. A prolific writer, he has 73 books to his credit. He wrote most of his work when he was imprisoned during the freedom struggle. Shyamchi Aai, one of his most popular novels championing a mother’s love, relevant and exquisite in all periods, was written by him when he was imprisoned in Nashik. He also wrote Stree Jeevan, a collection of Ovi sung by women while hand grinding flour. His Bharatiya Sanskruti is a book in the philosophical genre. He translated good books written in other languages into Marathi.
Sane Guruji spent almost fifteen months imprisoned in the Dhule jail for his participation in the freedom struggle. Vinoba Bhave was also in this same jail, and would deliver a lecture on the Bhagvad Geeta every Sunday morning. Sane Guruji took notes and wrote the famous book Geeta Pravachane.
Sane Guruji was an extremely sensitive person. Vinobaji would appropriately call him Amrutacha Putra (a son of nectar, indicating his pure emotions). He had sacrificed a lot and taken great efforts for the freedom struggle, envisioning beautiful dreams of an independent India. He also took great efforts towards realising this dream. However, he had painful experiences, contrary to his ideal image of independent India that he had envisaged. His sensitive mind could not bear the harsh reality. The disillusioned Guruji committed suicide. Acharya Atre called him a poet who kissed death.
Today, 60 years later, his disciples are diligently running the weekly magazine Sadhana, as well as the AntarBharati Movement, based on his ideology and principles.