The splendid edifice of Bharati Vidyapeeth, which is one of the largest and leading organizations in India today, is the creation of one person: Dr. Patangrao Kadam. Under his able, dedicated, and visionary leadership, Bharati Vidyapeeth, which was established in Pune in 1964, has made tremendous strides during the last 52 years. The credit of the establishment and astonishing development of Bharati Vidyapeeth and its allied concerns goes entirely to the dynamic leadership and undaunted hard work of Dr. Patangrao Kadam. He has been so involved in the planning, establishment, development, and progress of Bharati Vidyapeeth and its sister concerns that the equation Bharati Vidyapeeth is Dr. Patangrao Kadam and vice-versa is now well established and well accepted.
Dr. Patangrao Kadam came from a middle level farmer’s family in a remote and not so easily accessible small village, Sonsal, in the perennially drought prone area of Sangli District in Maharashtra. Since no educational facilities were available in his village, Dr. Kadam had to walk 4-5 kms, every day to attend a primary school in a nearby village. He did his secondary education up to S.S.C, in a small place, Kundal, where he stayed in a hostel with bare amenities.
Dr. Kadam was the first person from his village to have passed the S.S.C. examination. After S.S.C., he joined Shivaji College at Satara, run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha, which was established by a renowned social reformer and educationist, Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil. He was enrolled in the college under its “earn and learn scheme”. It is here that fine qualities of head and heart, which he is now known for, took root in him. He took lessons of dedicated social service at the feet of Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil.
Dr. Kadam came to Pune in 1961, where he completed a one-year Diploma Course in teaching, and in 1962, started working as a part-time teacher in a secondary school in Pune run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha. Dr. Kadam obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and a Master’s degree from the University of Pune. Despite his pre-occupation with educational, social, and political activities, Dr. Kadam completed his research on the theme “Administrative Problems of Educational Administration in the 80s” for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Management by the University of Pune.
Dr. Kadam established Bharati Vidyapeeth in 1964 when he was hardly 20 years old. From the beginning, his vision was to develop Bharati Vidyapeeth as a distinct educational institution. His vision and ambitions are reflected in the constitution, which was submitted to the Charity Commissioner at the time of registration of Bharati Vidyapeeth as a Trust, wherein he had included “to establish our own University”, as one of the objectives of Bharati Vidyapeeth.
He cherished this ambition and visualized this possibility at a time when the concept of Deemed University was yet to emerge and be accepted. His dream came true when the Government of India, on the recommendation of the University Grants Commission, accorded the “Deemed to be University” status to the 12 constituent units of Bharati Vidyapeeth on the 26th April, 1996. Dr. Kadam was nominated as the lifelong Chancellor of Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University). Thus, a boy from a village having no propitious educational background became the Chancellor of a University.
Like education, the Cooperative sector is another area in which Dr. Kadam has done commendable work. It is with his initiative that several cooperative units, like Bharati Cooperative Bank (the multi-state scheduled bank with 18 branches), Sonhira Cooperative Sugar Factory, Sagreshwar Cooperative Spinning Mill, Sonhira Cooperative Kukkut Palan Sangh, Krishna-Verala Cooperative Spinning Mill, etc. were established as sister concerns of Bharati Vidyapeeth. Among other cooperative units under the Bharati Vidyapeeth’s umbrella are Cooperative Consumer Stores at Pune, Sangli and Kadegaon, and Mahila Industrial Cooperative Society at Kadegaon. All these units are doing very well.
Dr. Kadam was a philanthropist of repute. He had established quite a few charitable trusts through which assistance of all kinds is given to needy people, particularly to the students of disadvantaged groups.
Dr. Kadam had been very closely associated with the State Universities in Maharashtra. He was a Member of the Executive Council of University of Pune continuously for 12 years. He was also elected as a member of the Executive Council of Mumbai University with an all time record of getting the highest number of votes. He was also a Member of Senate of Shivaji University, Kolhapur.