Testimonials of some of the successful students of Kaka
Dada, as we all students call him, was our whole world during our time in the Gurukul. He not only taught us the ordinary school subjects but carved beautiful statues of good human beings out of us without as much of our attention. A perfect craftsman, verily he is. Now, when I look back at those 6 years (1994-1999) I think, without even an iota of any doubt, that it was the best time I lived life so far. Most people will confirm that their school time was their best time, however I say it differently that for me it wasn’t the school time but the time spent in the Gurukul with Dada was the best. If only I have to list down what all I learned there, the list will be endless as the mode of teaching was not a classroom teaching but teaching from one’s own daily life. Dada taught us every moment without making any show of it. The learning of school subjects such English, Maths, History, Hindi, Science etc. from him appeared very insignificant compared to the learning of virtues and values which in today’s world is so very rare. Our day used to start at 5am with Dada ringing the bell and waking up everyone. Students then used to go to a well to take the bath. Responsibilities of who will draw water from the well, used to be assigned by Dada. I had childhood asthma and Dada had arranged a hot water bath for me, a luxury which my Gurukul friends must have envied. On number of occasions when I used to suffer from an asthma attack, Dada himself used to nurse me by massaging my chest with hot water to reduce the severity of attack.
I distinctly remember the night Dada rushing me to the hospital mounted on the shoulders of an elder student when my condition was bad due to asthma. He used to give me light works considering my weak health. Dada also ensured that I got dinner before sunset. When there were around 45 students to look after, now I imagine how inconvenient it must have been for Dada to pay this special attention only for me. Whenever anybody used to fall sick, Dada used to treat him so impeccably that only on rare occasions one was taken to the Doctor. So much so that even after I had left Gurukul, I used to take Dada’s opinion on medications for me as well as for my family members. Dada is a voracious reader. The most exciting time of the day for us was the time after evening prayer. Dada used to tell us a story, incidence or anything of interest & learning. This session after the prayer then used to turn into a full-fledged discussion, laughter and roar. This was followed by dinner. Dada used to eat at the end when all students had had their food. The habit of reading books was instilled in us by Dada. There were so many books for us to read and I remember I was given charge of the ‘small library’ for some time. This reading habit is one of the best gift that all of us got from Dada. Dada read us many books. Harivijay, Pravachane, Ek Hota Carver are a few that I remember. Even now he shares & suggests the books that I must read. This has helped me a great deal in my professional career as a Training Manager with one of the big Retail Companies today.
Dada is a great patriot. He is at his best when he speaks on the issues of national interests. He made us aware that we as the sons of this soil have inherited a glorious past. A past, that no other country can boast of. Dada encouraged us to read the biographies of martyrs who sacrificed their lives at the feet of Mother India. Savarkar, Vivekananda, Shivaji Maharaj, Rana Pratap, Guru Govind Singh were (and are) our heroes. I did not see such a burning love for one’s country in my life afterwards. Dada has taught us to be brave & raise our voice against injustice. We used to celebrate all the festivals. Dada used to make delicious dishes on such occasions himself. Working together in a team was another great learning. Daily tasks such as cooking, washing etc. were assigned to various teams on rotational basis. Dada had to discipline us from time to time. We had tremendous respect as well as fear for Dada as we knew that our good behavior would be rewarded but at the same time bad behavior would not go unpunished. This discipline of daily exercise, prayer, study and extracurricular reading is the essence of all my learning at the Gurukul.
Dada used to teach us the difficult topics in studies. The manner of teaching was so good that we never had to worry about those topics in terms of examination. Many students who were very poor in studies when they were admitted excelled in studies in the later years at Gurukul. Like me, most students who are given admission have some or the other difficulty in pursuing education at their homes. Students initially are very rebellious and do take time to adjust to the ways of Gurukul. Dada manages it all single handedly. That was an immature age when we could not understand the greatness of our Beloved Dada. Selfless, untiring, calm, generous, distinctly intelligent, warm hearted, alert, Dada is rarest of rare. He was a Teacher, a Father, a Mother, a Doctor, a Friend all combined together and much more. My shallow capacity to describe him will only make him appear smaller than what actually he is. I can only say that I was so fortunate to have spent 6 memorable years under Dada’s supervision & that no other event in my life hereafter can be even close to it.
“Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar Gurukul” is the full name of our Gurukul. Mr. Madhusudan Shirodkar alias Dada is the rector of our Gurukul. Dada has completed 74 years of his life & yet he is running the Gurukul as an Iron Man, untiring in his efforts. At Gurukul along with studies Dada always keeps focus on child Balsanskar, Balsangopan. Right from early morning until night till all the children sleep, he work for them with his heart & soul. Dada himself helps the small kids to get ready for school by giving them bath & dressing them up. Even today he continues doing so. He is very conscious about all the good health of all his children. He never let us sleep empty stomach or even go to school without eating. During our time at Gurukul as well as when we were sick, we never missed our parents or relatives due to Dada’s loving care. Dada also taught us a lifetime lesson of “Independency”, relying on self. Before I was admitted to Gurukul, my educational progress was very poor . I took admission at Gurukul in 2003 when I was in 8th standard. Till my 7th standard, I hated the subject Maths. I would fail in Maths until 7th class. But when I came at Gurukul, Dada inspired and guided me so well so that passed SSC examination in 1st class. After that I did my Junior college from N. Wadia College. And with constant support from Dada I secured 1st class with distinction in Diploma (Mech. Engg.) from Cusrow Wadia, Pune. Now I am working as instructor for Maths & Engg. drawing at ITI college at Akrani. Lastly I just want to say that whatever I am today it is just because of Dada’s guidance, help & his faith in his students!
I have been a student of Mr. Shirodkar. From Dada, I have learnt everything and my life is what it is only because of him. He is very disciplined, teaches true values to students in order to help them become good human beings. He has dedicated his life for a cause which is so noble. He has no ambition for himself. He lives only for us. Whatever I speak about him, will be less!