By Chintamani Vanaga, M.P.Rambhau Kapse broke to me the sad news of the demise of Shri Madhavrao Kane when I was in the midst of a Press Conference. Intense grief filled my heart but, although with a heavy heart, I managed to control my emotions till I reached home. And then the overwrought mind burst into tears. It was impossible to imagine that Madhavrao was no more in this world and I would never be able to see him again.Among the panorama of reminiscences, what was most etched on my memory was my last meeting with him in Thane hospital. On his death bed, which he had certainly sensed by that time, his only regret was that he would not be able to work along with us. I was going to Talasari Ashram nearly everyday after it was attacked in 1991. Now the thought of going there and not meeting him sent my mind reeling into emptiness and void.In my school days I never missed the first rank and hence Madhavrao was very anxious to meet me. One day I went to see him along with my friend, Baba Ghorkhana who was staying in his Hostel whereas I was staying in Thakkarbappa High school boarding. His sincere approach and interest influenced me in the very first meeting. This association went on gathering strength with time, and it continued till his end.I vividly remember the time when I lost my brother, mother and father all in the span of only one year. My brother had left small children for me to look after and my mind was in total chaos. But Madhavrao stood like a brother, mother and father, all in one, with me whenever I needed him. Since then, he became very sensitive to my emotional needs and looked after me with great love and care. I am one of the most fortunate persons on whom he showered his love.In fact, he brought me up systematically and guided my destiny. He introduced me to the Sangh Parivar and arranged to send me to Pune for joining Agriculture College so that after graduation I could help our people in Talasari in that direction. However, not being able to get admission there, I joined the Bhivandi College, where Madhavrao made me take Arts, and afterwards law which was somewhat against my wish of going to science. He always felt that the people of Talasari needed a lawyer of their own. But it was a dream for a tribal at that time. I myself could not believe it even when I got my lawyer's degree. Madhavrao made me practice in Kalyan for the first two years to learn everything about the law. During this time I stayed in his house in Kalyan. This was a great training for me for my practice later in Talasari.In my young age, Godutai Parulekar used to stay with us . My family, i.e. my father, brother, etc. all of whom were CPM activists, and my Marxist friends, hated me for staying in Madhavrao's Ashram. They opposed everything I did. I do not remember when my political career started and Madhavrao never advised me about my political leanings. But his influence was great and I knew his thoughts as well as the Sangh influence was so powerful that I opted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).The political situation in Jawhar, Mokhada and Talasari regions was then not at all favourable to the BJP. In these adverse conditions, my work became easier under the guidance and advice of Madhavrao. I even had to witness the demolition of 200 houses raised by me for my workers. Sometimes, somebody else would just turn up and snatch away all the credit for the work done by us. It was all very frustrating, but, every time, Madhavrao was there to cheer us up and give solace. His just being there would make a lot of difference to me.In 1984, I contested the Loksabha seat for the first time. Nobody expected me to win. But it was an exercise in assessing our strength and influence. Although we had hardly made any preparations, I polled 84,000 votes which was very exciting. Madhavrao always encouraged me in my political career. Unfortunately, I lost the 1989 and 1991 elections by a very small margin. Madhavrao was upset about it but he was extremely careful not to overshadow my thinking by giving too much importance to these failures. Eventually, I became the President of the Thane District Unit of the BJP which made him very happy.The 1996 Loksabha elections were extremely crucial to him. I myself was not keeping well so I stayed put in Talasari for almost a month and a half. He personally took care of me during this period. On the day of the results, he was so anxious to see me win that he did not sleep all night and stayed awake listening to the news. When the news of my victory came, he smiled with great satisfaction and I shall never forget that radiant smile, and the contentment and intense joy on his face. Indeed, that was the last time I saw him really happy.His greatness was evident when his Ashram was attacked by the Marxists, and Appa Joshi, Vahini and Hareshwar Vanaga were terribly wounded. Everything in the Ashram was destroyed. He was shaken to the core but never had any thought of revenge. He felt the blow very badly and often used to say that he should have been in the place of those wounded people. His great regret was that he was not able to convince the people who had attacked the Ashram, about the sincerity of his mission.Although a life-long bachelor himself, he had a large family of people of whom he took care. He was always in the forefront of all Sangh activities. Name any constructive movement, the hostel which is now a home to 150 boys and 70 girls, Dahanu College Hostel, Dandekar Trust Hotel, Pragati Pratishthan Trust, Vanavasi Kalyan Kendra Ashram, Sahyadri Adivasi Bahuvidha Sevasangha, Hindu Seva Sangh, and he had a lion's share in its formation and development. None of these woiuld have been established without him. The tiny sapling which he planted in Talasari has grown into a huge Bunyan tree and to nourish and multiply it further would be the only real tribute to his ever-lasting memory.

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