119 years of Sane Guruji

India is marking 119th birth anniversary of its National Teacher, Sane Guruji, today. Pandurang Sadashiv Sane was known as Sane Guruji by his students and followers. He was a Marathi author, teacher, social activist and freedom fighter from Maharashtra, India. Sane Guruji was famously acknowledged for his book “Shyamchi Aai” all over India.

Born on December 24, 1899, Sane was the third child of Sadashivrao and Yashodabai Sane from Palgad village near Dapoli town in Maharashtra. His father was a freedom fighter and was jailed during Swadeshi movement and his mother was a kind and virtuous woman, who tried to teach real values of life to her children. It is said that her influence was so powerful on young Pandurang, that he later immortalized her in his most famous novel, “Shyamchi Aai”.

A gifted orator, Sane chose teaching as vocation in which he excelled and earned the title as “Guruji” in no time. He believed more in practicing than preaching and opted to serve in a rural school. The boys were very fond of him as he bestowed motherly affection on them as he would make them sing, play and narrate stories. He taught to imbibe love of nature by planting trees and asked to celebrate the “Festival of Buds”. He also started an immensely popular magazine called “Vidyarthi”.

Sane was a very sensitive person and continued to be so till the end. The political upheaval in the country roused his patriotic spirit and he started writing articles to nationalistic periodicals. Tilak and Gandhi were his icons. After Gandhi’s famous Dandi March, he decided to devote himself to the nation. He resigned his teaching job, and started touring villages, organizing meetings and creating political awareness among the rural folk. He was even arrested for political activities and spent fifteen months in Nasik jail, before getting transferred to Tiruchi jail where he learnt Tamil and Bengali from fellow prisoners and later, went on to translate Tagore, Tolstoy and English classics while in jail.

This prolific writer has 73 books to his credit. Sane Guruji loved and worshipped nature so much that he wrote on sky, light and water. He upheld dignity of labor and wrote hundreds of bulletins during his underground years of 1942 movement. He also wrote for children. His biographies of C. R. Das, Gopalakrishna Gokhale and “Sweet tales of Gandhiji” became very popular and saw several editions. “Peaks of Himalayas” was another of his most-read book on national heroes.

Acharya Atre, a veteran writer and film director made a film on “Shyamchi Aai” which went on to win All India Golden award. “I am delighted that I could present at least a fraction of the beauty of the great classic in Marathi literature, written by Sane Guruji”, Atre had declared in his acceptance speech.

This restless and melancholy soul of Sane Guruji rested on 11th of June 1950 when he committed suicide following his disillusions at the turn of incidents soon of independence of India, right from the assassination of Gandhiji. But, he is still remembered as the National Teacher of India.

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