During the time of Shardabai (mother of Shri Sharad Pawar Saheb), the Peasants & Workers Party (PWP), of which she was a prominent leader, was gaining prominence. The focus of the PWP was on working for the welfare of the farmers. The PWP had ideological differences with the Congress than on some issues. Despite that, honourable Saheb accepted Congress’s ideas. Elders say the Pawar house has always been a very open family, where everyone had the freedom to make decisions according to their conscience.
Surely, today’s media would have presented this as a huge divide in the family, that in the house of the Peasant Workers Party, Sharad Pawar had “revolted” by aligning with the Congress ideology. But the media of the time respected the freedom of individual decision.
Today, on Saheb’s birthday, I am deliberately sharing this incident from the pages of history, because I think there are two very significant messages from this story. Messages that explain the very strong relationship the Pawar family has with the state of Maharashtra.
The first message is that despite Shardabai being a prominent leader, she respected and supported her son’s decision of choosing an ideology different from hers.
The second important message, I feel, is that Saheb was bold enough not to select the traditional and relatively more comfortable option but decided to tread the difficult path of doing things on his own.
This is how Saheb grew up. Even in his autobiography, Saheb mentions Shardabai with great respect.
I was born in the Pawar family. Pawar Saheb is my grandfather. I am admitting this without any qualms that in the early days I used to think that just being a member of the Pawar family was good enough for my identity. But as I observed everyone in my family, I realised that only being a Pawar is not enough and we have to work hard to achieve our dreams.
But Pawar Saheb was very different. He would never allow anyone to take advantage of the family’s prominence. We were never identified as “Pawar Saheb’s this and Pawar Saheb’s that”. Everyone was encouraged to work in the field of his or her choice and earn a name. Even today, he questions school going children of the family; What are you doing now? What are your interests? What are your plans for the future?
You may ask why am I sharing these details about the family on Saheb’s birthday? This is because I want to highlight the effect the head of the family has on someone growing up and how these observations shape an individual.
These are the reasons that leave no doubt in my mind that the head of the family today, as far as the Maharashtra family is concerned, is Pawar Saheb. This confidence in my words comes because Saheb is because the people of Maharashtra and the people of Maharashtra are his family.
Things appear simple if we sincerely look at them. People say that Saheb is unpredictable, that no one knows what he will say or do. Still, if anyone asks me about this, I would say Pawar Saheb is the same as your father or your grandfather.
He always thinks about the future and is mostly right, thanks to his rich experience. He is like any head or guardian who stands up for his family, no matter what the nature of the crisis is at home. Whatever the situation, such responsible people can handle everything without the family even knowing. Saheb is precisely like that. As I look at Saheb’s politics, I continually realise these virtues in him as a person and as a leader.
His approach is similar to friends. Saheb has lots of friends. We all know about his friendship with Hon. Srinivas Patil. He also has other friends like Shri. Vitthal Maniar. I want to mention one incident here. When there was an earthquake in Killari, it was important to provide temporary shelter to people as it was raining. There was a huge need for bamboo. Shri. Vitthal Maniyar rushed to help immediately. It was like helping society while helping his friend at the same time. It would be difficult to name all the friends of Pawar Saheb as the list is very long. Even while working in important positions, he handled these friendships very carefully.
One such story worth mentioning is about Late Shri Balasaheb. Recently, when Shri Uddhav Thackeray’s name was announced by Maha Vikas Aghadi as the CM of Maharashtra, Saheb said this -“We both criticised each other in public gatherings, but when the meeting was over, I would go to Matoshree where Meenatai used to make lunch for me”.
Balasaheb and Pawar Saheb shared a great bonding, and they both cared about this special relationship. I think Balasaheb and Pawar Saheb set an example about the culture of Maharashtra. They taught us that politics is not about revenge and in politics, we don’t have to break people; instead, we need to connect them.
I am saying all this not as the grandson of Saheb but as a young leader who has a dream about how Maharashtra, my state, should progress going ahead.
Maharashtra should carry forward the legacy of Saheb and Balasaheb: where there is no hatred for each other, but everyone joins hands for the bright future of the state.
Wishing a very happy birthday to our guardian, our leader Shri Sharad Pawar Saheb.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.