By Appa JoshiI joined the Talasari centre on 7th June 1969 and on the very first day Madhavrao established a relationship between us of father and son which remained unchanged for all the 27 years that followed. Soon after I started working, he declared himself to be free to do other work as then onward it would be I who would look after the centre. But was I ready to take on this responsibility? Certainly not at that time, but Madhavrao inculcated in me various qualities of leadership as well as of devoted worker with great patience, care and a soft touch, guiding me on all subjects and teaching me how to behave under different circumstances.Although a bachelor himself, he was a loving father to all the boys and girls in the hostels and used to call them "Dada" or "Tai". He was a careful observer of all their needs and was always there to give them his support. He transformed the centre into a family institution where simplicity, caring love and parental guidance pervaded the atmosphere.What he hated most was belittling the tribals. Once it was decided to hold a Health Check Camp at Talasari and the team of doctors arrived late and tired. While taking tea, they decided the skip Talasari and proceed to another place the next day. Madhavrao exploded and there was an altercation between them. He said that he would not tolerate letting down the Adivasis. It was Dr Kadari, his permanent patron and supporter, who arrived on the scene and pacified the doctors. The whole team not only relented but was later happy that they had.Whenever he undertook a mission, he used to work on it single mindedly. During the Mahalaxmi fair of tribals, it was decided to set up a water-serving centre (Paanpoi) for the pilgrims. He worked personally throughout the 10 days along with the other boys at that centre.Being a good politician too, he had become President of the Kalyan Municipality and could have carved an excellent career in politics. But no! Instead, he chose to go to a remote place like Talasari and worked for 30 years helping and serving the tribals. On the 14th of August 1991, some Marxists activists attacked the Centre and nearly destroyed it. Luckily, Madhavrao was not there. But myself, my wife and Hareshwar Vanaga were severely wounded. News of the attack spread like wildfire and Madhavrao rushed to the centre. An angry crowd gathered around the centre and leaders like Ashok Tandel were so furious that a riot was felt imminent. When Madhavrao arrived he was aghast at the spectacle. With no real reason or logic, he felt himself responsible for our wounds. His great sorrow was that it was we three who got wounded instead of him. Although himself between thunder and tears, he took command of the explosive situation and talked to everybody soothingly, and cooled their tempers. He had the great vision to realise the danger of hatred that would have been planted by revenge. How right he was! In due course, many of those involved in the attack were taking interest in his work and eventually became ardent supporters of it. A miracle indeed!Such was Madhavrao Kane whom we familiarly called Aba. Always active in constructive work, he was strictly opposed to calling this country 'Motherland' while doing nothing for it, treating it as a hilly, rocky, and barren land full of thorns. He used to say, "Give me a piece of land, and with hard work, my boys and I will turn it into heaven."He did it many times over. Let us all dedicate ourselves to his cause and ensure that it grows in all directions. (Shri Appa Joshi took over the work of Talasari centre from Shri Kane and has been working at the centre with his wife ever since. During the Marxists' attack, he nearly lost his life as the doctors had to put more than 100 stitches to his head and yet he refused to quit the centre.)

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