Dr. Bapuji Salunkhe alias Govindrao Dnyanojirao Salunkhe, the great visionary educationist founded Shri Swami Vivekanand Shikshan Sanstha, Kolhapur in 1954. Since its establishment, branches of the institution have regularly been added as its glory across the state of Maharashtra. Presently, the institution is proudly running its more than 400 cultural centres. More than two lakhs of students are receiving quality and value based education at the institution’s different centres. Teachers in all these centres are well-qualified, experienced, dedicated and cultured whom Bapuji used to call as GURUDEO KARYAKARTA (Preceptor Activists).
“Dnyan ,Vidnyan ani Susanskar Yansathi Shikshan Prasar” (Propagation of Education for Knowledge, Achievement and Culture.)is the motto of the institution. Bapuji defines “Dnyan as the knowledge of truth, character, integrity, demolition of the exploitative tendencies, service and dedication”. He further defines “Vidyan as it said in Upnishadas as consisting in the application of the aforesaid principles to life which, in turn will lead to good breeding”. Bapuji’s conviction is that since ‘Goodness is an attribute of god, formation of good character should receive due emphasis in our educational institutions, he called it Susanskar (culture). Institution’s official prayer Hare Ram Hare Krishna, a poem composed by Bapuji himself reflects the views presented in the motto of Bapuji.
Irrespective of cast, creed, gender and class, Bapuji, in his institutional constitution, strived to stress on spread of education for the masses scattered through rural and remote regions of the state of Maharashtra. Bapuji himself experienced poverty during his struggle for education i.e. after the death of his parents in his early childhood; he had to continue his survival by having food at the houses of philanthropists. Taking lessons from his own life, he selflessly devoted to transforming his branches into culture centres so as to avail education for downtrodden masses. His selfless devotion appears in his act of donating his ancestral property for the institution. The amount of money received at his felicitation and the royalty of the book written by him also was donated to the institution. He would take nominal amount of money as honorarium for the services he would render in developing his institution. While continuing his sacrificial life, he got support of his wife late Sushiladevi Salunkhe. As the part of devotion, she would prepare food for the students living in one of the hostels of the institution.
Dr. Bapuji’s dedicated work, great service to the downtrodden and poor communities of the society is rewarded by the Government of Maharashtra by awarding him with the title “Dalit Mitra”. Shivaji University, Kolhapur conferred on him the degree of D.Litt. The people awarded him with the title “Shikshanmaharshi” for his pioneering efforts towards imparting education. Mahatma Gandhi’s influence on this freedom fighter leads him towards this missionary task. Therefore, he has been given nomenclature as Bapuji.
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