Raghunath Dhondo Karve

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Raghunath Dhondo Karve
Born (1882-01-14)14 January 1882
Murud[disambiguation needed]
Died 14 October 1953(1953-10-14) (aged 71)
Occupation Professor of mathematics
Education M.A. Mathematics, Diplome d'Etudes Superieures(Paris)
Spouse Malati Raghunath Karve

Raghunath Dhondo Karve (14 January 1882 – 14 October 1953) was a professor of mathematics and a social reformer from Maharashtra, India. He was a pioneer in initiating family planning and birth control for masses in Mumbai in 1921.

Born in a Chitpavan Brahmin family, Raghunath was the eldest son of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. His mother Radhabai died during childbirth in 1891, when he was nine.

He was born in Murud. He studied at New English School, Pune. He stood first in a matriculation examination conducted in 1899. He went to Fergusson College, Pune where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904.

Karve started his professional career as a professor of mathematics at Wilson College in Mumbai. However, when he started publicly expressing his views about family planning, population control, and women's right to experience sexual/sensual pleasure as much as men, the conservative Christian administrators of the college asked him to resign from the professorship. He then devoted himself to the above causes.

On his own initiative, Karve started the very first birth control clinic in India in 1921, the same year when the first birth control clinic opened in London.

Samaj Swasthya[edit]

Karve published a Marathi magazine Samaj Swasthya (समाजस्वास्थ्य)[1] starting from July 1927 until 1953. In it, he continually discussed issues of society's well being through population control through use of contraceptives so as prevent unwanted pregnancies and induced abortions. He promoted responsible parenting by men, gender equality, and women's empowerment and right to experience sexual/sensual pleasure. As an illustration of some of Karve's radical thoughts, he expressed the thought that so long as childbirth and venereal diseases are prevented, women could engage in promiscuity—even perhaps with male prostitutes—for the sake of variety in sexual pleasure, if they so desire, without, in fact, harming their husbands.

Wife's support[edit]

Karve's wife, Malati, supported his cause though it brought them social ostracism besides his loss of his professorial career. She shared the couple's financial responsibility, and the two chose to remain childless.

A Critic's Analysis[edit]

Literary critic M V Dhond has written three essays on Karve. In the third essay, he analyses why Karve was not as successful in his mission as much as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes, his counterparts in United States and UK, respectively.

Karve's mission was not restricted to that of Sanger and Stopes namely happy family life, emancipation of women, control of population. Karve wanted women to have as much sexual freedom and sensual pleasure as men.

Dhond claims contemporary society's objectives were restricted to those of Sanger and Stopes and hence not only Karve's mission as a whole suffered, he himself was persecuted by society at large. There were other reasons too: Karve’s unattractive personality, poor finances, and lack of networking skills.

It’s unfortunate Karve was not alive when three major events, that make us understand woman sexuality better, took place-
1. Publication of the Kinsey report in 1953
2. Publication of Masters and Johnson's book in 1966 and
3. Publication of The Hite Report in 1976.
These documents have proven how right Karve was with his thoughts on woman's sexuality.

Further Reading and Viewing[edit]


  1. ^ Issues of Samaj Swasthya reprinted by Padmagandha Publications
  2. ^ Articles by Dr. Anant Deshmukh
  3. ^ Ramanan, Nitya, ed. (2003-02-12). "Actor by Accident, Director by Choice". www.indiacurrents.com. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
Article Title Publication Date
Ra. Dho.Karve yanchya aayushyatil Nairobiparva Loksatta 14 October 2001
Kutumbaniyajanache aadhya purskarte Navashakti 11 November 2001
Lok bhitat mhanun Mahanagar 9 February 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani char French grahasta Mahanagar 23 February 2002
Prof. Ra. Dhon. Karve aani Dr.Manoramabai Thatte-wad Mahanagar 9 March 2002
Raghunthravanchya hatche don durmil lekh Mahanagar 27 April 2002
Karve aani Karve, Mahanagar 23 March 2002
Raghunathrav aani Narhapant Joshi Mahanagar 20 April 2002
Raghunathravanche prashansak aani virodhak:Ke.Bha.Lele Mahanagar 6 April 2002
Ra.Dhon.Karve, ganitache uchcha shikshan va Paris Mahanagar 21 September 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Shankarrao Kirliskar Mahanagar 7 September 2002
Shastriya sangeeache jankar Ra. Dhon.Karve Mahanagar 5 October 2002
Raghunathrao, Gandhiji aani santatiniyamana Mahanagar 4 January 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Shakuntala Paranjapye Mahanagar 13 July 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Manoramabai Khabade-wadachya nimittane Mahanagar 27 July 2002
Captain Pillai aani Shree Rhushi: Doghanchya don tarha Mahanagar 24 August 2002
Prof.Karve aani Prof. Phadke Mahanagar 29 June 2002
Raghunathrao karve,Prabhakar Padhye va V.Shantaram Mahanagar 25 May 2002
Samajswasthamadhil lakshavedhak lekhan Mahanagar 10 August 2002
Raghunathravanche 'Jeevan' masikatil lekhan Mahanagar 14 December 2002
'Samajswastha' tikave mhanun wachakanchya suchana Mahanagar 26 October 2002
Raghunathrawansambandhichicha pahila vyaktichitratmak lekh Mahanagar 22 June 2002
Raghunathrawanche 'Vasundhare'til lekhan Mahanagar 8 June 2002
Raghunathrao, Dr.Robinson va Dr.Ellis Mahanagar 23 November 2002
Prof.R.D.Karve yanche samikshatma lekhan Mahanagar 11 January 2003
Shodha Raghunathrawancha Mahanagar 1 February 2003
Dr.Ya.Di.Phadake yana anavruta patra Mahanagar 8 February 2003
'Samajswasthya'kar:Lekhakachi bhumika Lalit Diwali 2004
Soshik Samajsevika Lokprabha Diwali 2001
Ra.dhon.Karve,Ra.Shri.Jog aani Mardhekar Zapurza Diwali 2003
Ra.Dhon.Karve:Shodhayatra Audumbar Diwali 2004
Akher Dharmabhaskar Diwali 2002
Saradechi patre Dharmabhaskar Diwali 2005

External links[edit]