25 March 1922|
|Died||9 December 2012
|Political party||INC & Janata Party|
Vasanthrao Lakangouda Patil (Kannada: ವಸಂತ್ ರಾವ್ ಲಕ್ಕನ್ ಗೌಡ ಪಾಟೀಲ್, Marathi: वसंतराव पाटील) (25 March 1922 – 9 December 2012), widely known as 'Aaba', was an Indian politician, industrialist, and freedom fighter.
Early life and education
Vasantrao Patil was born on 25 March 1922 to a Kuruba-Patil (Dhangar) family in Byakud village, Bombay State. He was born to Shri Sidagouda and Smt. Anandibai Patil. Patil had an older sister and a younger brother, Hutatma Prataprao. His ancestors administrated the surrounding region on behalf of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur (Shahaji II). He began his higher education at Rajaram College, Kolhapur, but was unable to complete his degree due to his involvement in the freedom movement.
Under influence of his teachers like Dr. M.R. Desai, Acharya Jawadekar, N.S. Hardikar and Barrister Khardekar, Vasantrao was instilled the spirit of patriotism and social service. While in Kolhapur he came in contact with a radical freedom fighter by the name of Nana Patil (Kranti Sinha), who further bolstered his decision to take part in the freedom struggle. Under Nana's guidance both Vasantrao and Prataprao became heavily involved in orchestrating skirmishes in the areas which are today known as Southern Maharashtra and North Karnataka. This led to the assassination of his younger brother Prataprao. Due to the grief of losing his only brother, Vasantrao left college in 1943 and became fully involved in the freedom struggle. As Vasantrao's reputation strengthened, he became one of the most wanted men in the region, leading to a 'shoot at sight' imposition by the British administration.
Patil first entered politics when he was elected M.L.A. from Raibag in 1952 as an independent candidate, and became the first elected representative for the area post independence. In 1957 he contested successfully once again as an independent candidate from Raibag, which was merged into the newly created State of Karnataka. He won the election with a significant majority and in addition to this, wielded considerable power across Bombay-Karnataka districts. These events stunned Pandit Nehru, the Prime Minister of India at the time. This caused Nehru to invite Patil to Delhi because Nehru wanted to see the person who had shattered the 'Congress storm'. Nehru invited him to the Congress Party but Patil rejected the offer, as he was a staunch opponent of Nehruvian Socialism (however, he later joined the Congress Party after requests from senior leaders at the time). Below are details of further positions held by Patil:
• 1962–1967 Member of Parliament from Chikkodi (IND) • 1968–1971 M.L.A. from Raibag & Minister of Social Welfare under the Veerendra Patil government (INC) • 1972–1977 M.L.A. from Raibag & Minister of Social Welfare and Horticulture under the Devraj Urs government(INC)
• 1983–1984 M.L.A. from Kagwad & Minister of Industries, Labour, Transportation and Revenue under the Ramakrishna Hegde government (JP) • 1985–1989 M.L.A. from Kagwad & Revenue Minister under the Ramakrishna Hegde government (JP)
During his political years Patil is credited for implementing various irrigation schemes which turned barren lands into sugarcane belts: for this he was referred to as ‘ನಡೆದಾಡುವ ದೇವರು’ (walking titan) and ‘ಹಸಿರು ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಯ ಹರಿಕಾರ’ (the forerunner of the Green Revolution) by farmers in the region. Patil’s popularity was such that other politicians feared to contest elections against him, thus garnering the name ‘The Tiger of Raibag'. Among his many acquaintances, B.R. Ambedkar ('the father of the Indian Constitution') was one of Patil's most revered friends. Patil actively supported Ambedkar during his campaigns and would often seek his advice regarding politics and society.
Patil established one of the first cooperative sugar factories in Karnataka, Raibag Sahakara Sakkare Karkhane. Additionally, he set up a trust fund called 'Hutatma Prataprao Trust' in the name of his slain brother to provide financial assistance to farmers and students. Adding on to the trust fund, Patil set up a chain of educational institutions under the name of Shikshan Prasarak Mandal Education Society Raibag, which operates 3 degree colleges, 7 junior colleges, 10 high schools, 4 D. ed. Colleges, 1 B ed. College, and 1 DMC college in Belgaum, Karnataka. Patil was also involved in setting up educational institutions in Kolhapur. Shikshan Prasarak Mandal Kolhapur was set up by Patil, M.R. Desai and Barister Kharadekar. Patil was chairman of the Karnataka Health Institute in Ghataprabha, and was instrumental in modernising the rural hospital which provides medicines and treatments to the rural populace.
A few years prior to his death, Patil established another private sugar factory, Bhagyashri Lagmawwa Sugars Ltd. in his hometown Bekkeri and had fully planned another factory in nearby Alagawadi. He was awarded the Indira Gandhi Sadbhavana National Award in 2008 for the various social endeavours in his life.
Patil married Smt. Arunadevi and had four children: Prataprao, Prathiba, Vivekrao and Amarsingh. Prathiba, an active politician, died in 2003. Amarsingh is a Barrister (LLM, University of Cambridge) and a member of the All India Congress Committee. He was the elected Member of Parliament (INC) from Belgaum (1999-2004) during the NDA regime. Amarsingh now manages the Shikshan Prasarak (SP) Mandal Raibag, and Bhagyashri Lagmawwa Sugars after the death of Patil. Prataprao is another well known political leader in the area. Vivekrao is a recognised educationalist who runs the Mahakali Education Society, which manages a chain of schools and colleges in Belgaum District. He is the elected president of the Karnataka Milk Federation, Belgaum. Vivekrao's son Pranay Vivek Patil is the youngest elected member to the district legislative council .
- Political Families of The World
- Kuruba Samaj, Kuruba
- Karnataka (60th) Diamond Jubilee year of Legislative Assembly
- Indian Independence Activists
- The Hindu Special Correspondent. (2012). V.L. Patil cremated at Bekkeri. Available: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/vl-patil-cremated-at-bekkeri/article4186528.ece. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- Express News Service. (2012). ‘Tiger of Raibag’ passes away. Available: http://newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/article1373346.ece. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- SP Mandal. Shikshan Prasarak Mandal Education Society . Available: http://www.spmaschrg.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=26. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale College. GKG College (SP Mandal Kolhapur).Available: http://www.gkgcollege.co.in/about_management.html. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- KHI (Karnataka Health Institute). KHI Ghataprabha. Available: http://www.khi-india.org/team.html. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- (1)CorporateDir. BHAGYASHRI LAGMAVVA SUGARS LIMITED. Available: http://corporatedir.com/company/bhagyashri-lagmavva-sugars-limited. Last accessed 23 November 2013 (2)Maps of India, Available: http://business.mapsofindia.com/sugar-industry/karnataka.html
- The Hindu. (2003). Award for V.L. Patil. Available: http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/18/stories/2008111851320300.htm. Last accessed 23 November 2013.
- Parliament of India. (1999). Biographical Sketch Member of Parliament 13th Lok Sabha. Available: http://www.parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/lok13/biodata/13KN25.htm. Last accessed 23 Nov 2013.
- Mahakali Education Society Available: http://www.phoenixpublicschool.org/aboutus.html. Last accessed 23 November 2013.