Full Name – RaghunathJagannathSamant (Alias “Kumar Raghuveer” / Alias “RaghuveerSamant”).
Date of Birth – 24/12/1909
Place of birth – In a temporary shelter house, a shed erected on the banks of River Krishna near Bhadreshwar Temple, at
Wai, District Satara. It was during the plague epidemic and a temporary camp was developed outside town.
His Schools – *Thane – Thane Municipal Council’s Marathi School (location?) 2 nd, 3 rd& 4 thStd 1917-18 to 1919-20
*Thane – Byramji Jeejibhai School – Std 5 th – 1920-21
*Dahanu – N L Adhia High School – Std 6 & 7 – 1921-22 & 22-23
*Nashik – Government High School – Std 8, 9 & 10 – 1923-24 to 1925-26
[ At Nashik, he fell in love with VenuGavankar when he was 16-17 years. He developed his
skills of writing, photography and also pursued vocal and instrumental music. These were
his years in the making for later life.]
Sangli – Sangli High School – Matriculation 1926-27
His Colleges –Mumbai –1. Elphinstone – Previous (what is now called HSc) 1927-28.
[His father wanted him to become a medical doctor.]
2.Royal Institute of Science – Inter Science – 1928-29 (Failure)
*Pune – Fergusson – IntSc – 1929-30 (Failure). His writing started appearing in a monthly ‘Pragati’
in 1928 when he was in Mumbai and continued regularly for next two-three years when in Pune.
- Fergusson – Inter Science – 1930-31 (Failure)
- Fergusson – Inter Arts – 1931-32
[At the end of 1932, his first book ‘Hriday’ containing word sketches – genre called in Marathi as
‘Shabdachitra’ was released.]
*Mumbai – 3 – Wilson – Junior BA – 1932-33
4 – Xaviors – Final BA – 1933-34. He Graduated.
During 1934-35 &35-36 he published his monthly ‘Parijat; and also tried to complete his MA but failed while his friends like Dinkar Sakrikar, Madhav Manohar, Vasudev Yardi and many others who had studied using his notes completed their MA! Next year, in May 1937, he got married after a wait of nearly 12 years for his father’s permission (he was against this marriage to Venu Gavankar. By this time his creative writing was in full swing and he was busy in writing books like ‘Surangichi Veni’, ‘Valutil Paule’ and above all ‘Upkari Manase’, a saga. In these few years he earned both name and fame, but could not complete his MA. The books were later published.
Just after marriage, he went to Kolhapur for his BT and on completing it (1938), he accepted a job as an
assistant teacher in the then famous school Chikitsak Samuha Shirolkar High School in Mumbai. From here onwards in
1938 his real journey – as a teacher, a writer and a publisher – started.
1)1909-1911 Wai :
As an infant at Wai. Eldest sister Krishna was married at her age of 11-12 yrs. In 1911-12. She was given in Walawalkar family of Kelve-Mahim. After marriage, she shifted toValan, Alyali-Tembhode nearPalghar.At the time of her marriage little Raghunath was only about 2 years or little more.
Shifted to Bhiwandi as his father had his new posting at Bhiwandi. Early childhood was spent at Bhiwandi.Younger brother Atmaram was born at Bhiwandi but soon but died before completing 2 yrs of age. (he had a fall down the staircase) Raghunath was only about 4 yrs.
3) 1914-1920 Thane
His father shifted back to Thane on new posting. Mother Bhagirathi (Mai) died at Thane on 24or27/11/1915,
just a few days after diwali. Raghunath was not even six. Raghunath was enrolled in Thane Municipal Marathi school
directly in second standard at the age of 7 years in 1917. Raghunath completed marathi school by 1919-20 (4 thstd).
4) 1921-1923 Dahanu
After completing Marathi school, he was enrolled in Byramji Jijibhai High School in Thane for 5 th class
(English 1st std).Completed up to7th (English 3rd std) there by 1923. During 1918 to 1922 there was a family litigation.
After this family case in court was over (about 1922-23), his elder uncle Vitthalrao (Anna) shifted to Nashik. Raghunath
completed 7th (English 3rd) and Jagannath (Kaka), his father was posted to Dahanu court so the family shifted there.
He studied at N L Adhia High School, Dahanu for standards 8 and 9 (English 4th and 5th std.s). The years were 1921to23
He got new friends like Chumble, Patwardhan, Ponda etc. He developed a skill of writing a handwritten magazine for
his class supported by his friendChumble. It was named ’Vihar’. That was also the time when Raghunath desparately
wanted to free himself from the tyranny of his step mother illtreated him. To avoid a show down and thus lose a cordial
relations in family, particularly with his father, young Raghunath desired to go elsewhere in search of independance.
Raghunath was nearly 14yrs old then. He decided to go to Nashik, to his uncle, Vithal (Anna) for further schooling.
Around the time, when his father was transferred from Dahanu to Kalyan, he fell unconscious in the court at Dahanu
and was ill for some time. The whole family went to Nashik for a change of climate before shifting to kalyan.
Raghunath liked Nashik. Earlier, while at Dahanu, Vithalrao offered his property at Samantwadi in Thane to his
younger brother Jagannath. Their relations were good. So Raghunath decided to go to Nashik for further schooling. In
Dahanu he used to watch silent movies every week end. Being a motherless child his father gave in to his wish and
allowed him to go to Nashik to stay.
5) 1924-1926 Nashik
Raghunath did his 10& 11 standards in 1924-25& 25-26 in Nashik High School, stayed with uncle Vithal’s family. He had all new friends such as Deshpande, Kulkarni (2), Shintre, Kukde, Matkari and Babu Potdar. With Babu Potdar, Raghunath continued his hobby of handwritten class magazine at Nashik also. Here it was named ‘Vidyarthi’. He had teachers like Principal Bhide, Nanasaheb Barve, Sane, Naniwdekar and Bhate etc. Raghunath Developed a hobby of photography; learned to do own developing, printing and dark room work. He did experiments in photography in Nashik environs. Cousin Balkrishna also did lot of photography. Together, they came to know Dadasaheb Phalke who had, by then, retired from film making and settled in Nashik near Samant’s residence. Raghunath also learnt classical vocal music as he had a good voice and also learnt to play harmonium. For some time, he seriously wanted to become a classical vocalist. Later he proved good at composing music tunes for his own also by other Marathi poets and
songs. In later life he popularized ‘Kavyagayan’( which is singing poems to a tune but without accompanying instruments) and presented programmes of his own poetry. He was famous for Kavyagayan programmes in private gatherings and on All India Radio (AIR), Mumbai. He also took keen initiative in film making and wrote story, screen play and directed a movie ‘Markandeya arthat Chiranjeev later in 1942-44.
In 1939-40 he cut a couple of records of his own composed by him and sung in his own voice by HMV. It was a chorus song from ’Aajchi Gaani’, his first poetry book. Because of photography, he learned to appreciate direction skills from Hollywood English movies when he was in Elphinston and RISc Colleges, during 1927 till 1930 and read books about cinematography of a film. When in Mumbai for college education, he used to see 4-5 films every week end and try to analyse them from angle of a film critic and direction when he was a young man of just 18-20. This led later to writing film script and scenario for film ‘Chiranjeev’ produced by his cousin Balkrishna during 1942-44 when he was in his thirties and still teaching in Chikitsak School. His years in Nashik were most important and happening years in his life time as he successfully freed himself from the control of a step mother who had ill treated the young boy since her marriage and without his father realizing it.
Foundation for Raghunath’s career as a literary person later in Mumbai, during his College days. He also met Venu Gavankar in Nashik who later became his life partner and helped him in his career. But for her support he would not have been the successful writer that he became. She later became the first woman post graduate in Indian Classical Music, was a radio artist till 1953-54 but ultimately compromised her career to assume responsibility of the household and of bringing up four children.
For the Matriculation year,Raghunath was shifted to Sangli High School when father was transferred to Dhulia. It is possible that his father suspected 17 year old Raghunath of falling in love with a girl in neighbourhood at Nashik and this clashed with his wishes. Probably, he thought she was not a good match for his son. He, therefore, shifted him from Nashik to Sangli. Raghunath stayed in Sangli under supervision of his stepmother’s brother who himself was the principal of Sangli High School.In Diwali vacation of 1926, with consent of his father, Raghunath went to Peerwadi, Satara to spend time with ‘KondibaMaharaj’ known as ‘Savkar’, his father’a spiritual guru.
He toured Miraj,Kolhapur and Dattawad princely states with Savkar and also spent time at Peerwadi. There, hecould experience first hand some of Savkar’s‘ miracles’ and was exposed to his‘supernatural’ force as it was believed. It created a lasting impression on him though he was almost an aethist alal his life. KondibaMaharaj (known as “Savkar”), though an illiterate peasant by back ground, was a staunch discipleof Raghunath Maharaj Puranik Dhopeshwarkar (Kaka MaharajPuranik) by whose blessings Raghunath was believed to have been born to his mother Bhagirathi. He (“Savkar”) told Raghunath that he does not do any miracles himself at all. He is an ordinary man and an illiterate, hard working farmer. All that people look as ‘miracles’ by him are because of Kaka Maharaj who had blessed Kondiba, an ordinary peasant. Raghunath, later in his life, used to describe some miracles of Kondiba Maharaj he had
witnessed. But his acquaintance with Kondiba Maharaj was not lasting. Soon Raghunathgot distanced and went ahead with his normal life in Mumbai-Thane from college days and later became a householder.
9) 1927-1934 (Mumbai to Pune and back to Mumbai)
Raghunath did his college education at Mumbai and Pune. His father Jagannath wanted him to be a doctor. But he did not become one. He had to drop that idea because of repeated failures in science stream. His physics experiments at the time of final exam failed twice. It was also due to his attention being shifted to political atmosphere of those days when Simon Commission visited (1927-28). He changed colleges twice, in Mumbai. First enrolled in Elphinstone as per wish of his father, then in RIS. After that, he went to Fergusson College in Pune. He spent two years in Pune, joined Arts stream, completed Inter Arts and came back to Mumbai in Wilson and finally he joined Arts stream to complete his BA from St. Xaviers’ College, Mumbai in 1934. His father joined in 1930. Till 1936, he also triedwas trying to complete his MA and could have become a professor as many of his friends became. But he failed at MA also. By this time he was already established as a young author and his book was prescribed for BA course of Mumbai University when he himself was only 23 and not yet a graduate.
He got married in May 1937, against his father’s wish (to the same girl he was in love with.) and immediately went to Kolhapur for BT (Bachelor of Teaching) course in Rajaram College. After completing BT (1937-38) his career in life was established as a teacher. Both his career and his marriage were against the wishes of his father. For a father it was certainly a great disappointment. Because, after Raghunath completed BA his father wanted him to accept a decent and respectable government job which, with his high contacts, was easy to fix. But Raghunath refused that also and went to Kolhapur for doing BT to become a teachers. In fact, for a while after completing his BA, he also considered very seriously to go to Gurudev’s Shanti Niketan. He appeared not to have focused to obtain a medical degree as expected by his father. He was caught up between two goals. He had already developed an acumen for writing
from the young age of 15-16 years and by 1928-29 his writings started appearing in various magazines such as Grihalakshmi, VividhVrutta,Yashwant, etc. but he got real public acceptance in 1929-30 when his writing started appearing regularly in ‘Pragati’ magazine which was, in those days,a respectable name to reckon with. He became famous as a young writer for his totally new contribution of ‘Shabdachitra’ (word sketches) to Marathi literature.
His first book was published on his 23 rd birthday on 24/12/1932. Soon, in 1934 he also started ‘Parijaat’ a literary monthly when he was just 24 yrs. The magazine was a great success and is still remembered as a milestone in Marathi magazines. But it earned financial loss to Raghunath and his father (who had financed it). Thus,during this period all his efforts and energies were scattered in nature and he could not achieve stability in any single field on permanent basis. Neither in academics, nor in money earning nor in the eyes of his father he achieved a position or in maintaining good relations with his father. This led to permanent crisis in his life. His status as a step son also affected very badly all his life.
10)1934-1939 Established as a Writer
Before graduation from St Xaviers’ College, he was already established as a ‘Shabdachitrakar’ (a pioneer of word sketch genre) and ‘Hridaykarta’ (creator of book ‘Hriday’). Though he received repeated setbacks and in the end failed in becoming a doctor as per wish of his father, his progress as a writer was unbroken. He kept on writing as he wished and used to send his creations to different magazines. Some were successful attempts, some were unsuccessful. He got the break in 1929 when his “Subhanya” was selected by T S Shejwalkar for publishing in Pragati. Followed by that many such writings were published in ‘Pragati’. In early 1927, young Raghunath had even taken part in political activity against Simon Commission in 1927-28. Subsequently his attraction had died down particularly because he was a son of a respectable government servant namely a Subordinate Judge. During his failure years he also attended tuitions of vocal classical music, practiced his hobby as a harmonium player. Earlier, his father had given him an organ on which he used to practice a lot and pursue his love for music. He had progressed well in classical music and for a while he seriously thought of becoming a vocal singer. Perhaps he could one day become one. But all that interest faded away soon once his writings became popular and soon young Raghunath emerged a an author by his first name of ‘Kumar Raghuveer’ during 1929-30 and a his first book ‘Hriday’ was published by Bharat Gaurav Granthamala. In initial years he also worked as manager/editor of that publishing house. That too, was against the wish of his father. After establishing as an author, he decided to start a magazine wholly devoted to establishing and encouraging good literary trends and appreciative readership. His age was advancing and by social standards he was a good groom at the age of 26-27. His father expected him to get married as per his wish while Raghunath wanted to marry his love. He had been waiting for 11 long years. Ultimately his father had to accept the girl Venu Gavankar as his daughter-in- law in May 1937. However, inspite of the marriage, the father in law never accepted her in his family. Raghunath’s step mother was pleased for this development. They did not give any ornaments to the new bride or entertained her in the family any time after. The doors were permanently shut off, unofficially of course, for her as if she did not exist. So much so, that both their sons of Raghunath and Venu were neither invited any time nor were presented with any gold ornaments etc as is the common custom in any marathi family. In fact, to have a grand son in family is an occasion of celebration and rejoice. However, there were none when two grand sons were born in the family. The step mother of Raghunath would not permit it. This is how Raghunath was permanently severed away from his father and his family for ever. Immediately after marriage, Raghunath went to BT College (SMTT) at Kolhapur and later became a teacher. His father, too, was a teacher in the beginning of his career. He was vice principal for 2-3 years in Aryan School. The
difference was that his father later became a judge while Raghunath remained a teacher and author for ever.
In nut shell, during 1934-38, Raghunath ran the magazine ‘Parijat’ for only about 15 months, closed it after registering heavy loss, attempted an MA but failed, published two more books (Surangichi Veni and Valutil Paule), started his ‘Parijat Prakashan’, married Venu Gavankar, went to Kolhapur to do his BT and on return joined his teaching profession by accepting a teacher’s post in Chikitsak Samooha Shirolkar High School in Girgaum, Mumbai. He also established himself as a novelist, before the age of thirty, by writing the saga ‘Upkari Manase’ which ran into four parts.
11) 1939-1949 Experimentation with Life
He was, already, to a large extent, successful author by 1938 and later by1940, also became a very popular teacher among his students. He succeeded in evoking interest among his students in Marathi language, literature, poetry etc. A few of them became prominent writers in their own right, later in their life. (This was pointed out by Prof T A Kamat, his one time colleague in Chikitsak, when he was speaking about ‘Raghuveer Samant as an author and a teacher’ on the occasion of release of novel ‘Bheten Punha’ by Samant published posthumously, on 24/12/1987.) After graduating in 1934, refusing to accept any decent government job easily available to him with recommendation of his retired father, after failing to secure his MA, after planning to go to Shanti Niketan and cancelling it, and after deciding in favour of doing BT to become a teacher, against wishes of his father, he got married with a girl who had similar inclination to writing and music, he created a niche for himself in the literary world of Marathi literature. Later, after
completing BT he joined Chikitsak, teaching for next 12 years. His sincerity and devotion earned him very respectable position. He succeeded in nurturing love of Marathi and some of his students became successful journalists in news papers like Navashakti and Maharshtra Times and many became well known in marathi literary scene of next generation. Encouragement given by him to them while they were his students was of immense help to many and they did not hesitate to express it also.
12)1949-1954 – Hardships in Life
After serving for 12 years in Chikitsak Samooha Shirolkar High School he felt an urge to change his activity.
His father had bequeathed Raghunath substantial landed property. So,he spent some money to establish a printing press
with some friends but they turned out to be cheats from the beginning. Sensing need for tourism for middle class people,
he established a lodging boarding at the hill station Khandala in 1949 and managed it for nearly five years. But
ultimately, these activities turned out to be failures and loss making for him. He sustained very heavy losses in these
activities. In fact he had an idea to start a residential school in Khandala – Lonavla area in 1950 once this “Gharkul
Kendra” venture stabilized successfully. But it failed miserably and piled up losses on his shoulders and all his property
received in succession from his father had to be mortgaged to bank for raising loans required for this venture. All gold
ornaments of his wife also had to be sold in the process. But he continued his struggle by returning to his profession of
13)1955-1967 Career as a Teacher and an Author coming to end
During this time, there was a new breed just started to come up known as ‘Coaching Classes’. Many persons interested in using his name to make money from teaching business (coaching classes) came to him with proposals to start coaching classes where he could take leadership for English and Marathi languages for which he was a very well known teacher. He could have made the most of this opportunity but he refused all such proposals saying ‘I do not want to sell adulterated education’. After he was out of Sharadashram Vidyamandir, he was thoroughly disillusioned and though he was invited by the group managing Indian Education Society schools (King George school) to join their institution, he refused politely to do so. While all this happened over a number of years, he continued to experiment with almost all forms of marathi literature over a very long period spanning from 1928 onward lasting till 1965. He continued to write profusely and contributed to Marathi literature for more than 35 years. He became a loner after about 1955 having very few contacts among the fraternity of all literary figures. In the very early years he was praised by
personalities and had friendly relations with T.S. hejwalkar, V.M.Joshi, M.T. Patwardhan (Madhav Julian), Mama Warerkar, Khanderao Daundkar, DrBhalerav, etc. During the days of ‘Parijat’ magazine, wayback from 1934, he had developed good relations with all of them including V.S.Khandekar, P.K.Atre, G.L.Thokal, Y.G.Joshi, G.T.Madkholkar and many others. But after having some bitter experiences of ‘groupism’, he decided to remain aloof from all authors and avoided contacts lest he also may hurt someone unknowingly. So much so that he even did not apply for a house in ‘Sahitya Sahawas’ a housing colony promoted by government when Yeshwantrao Chavan became first CM of the state of Maharashtra. In his life time he attended only two Sahitya Sammelans. One at Nagpur and one at Vadodara. During the long period, spanning almost 4 decades of his contribution to marathi literature, he wrote and published his own books single handedly, never depended on a publisher. He sold all his books personally, too. He also did few translation works and wrote a few books for other publishers also who came forward and requested him. To his credit there are
about 50 titles under different literary forms. They include word sketches, short essays, short stories, plays, poetry, children’s encyclopedia and prominently his 8-9 Novels. Cumulatively these are about 7000 printed pages of literature. He was also connected with atleast half a dozen schools in Mumbai and outside. They are Chikitsak Samooha Shirolkar High School at Girgaum; Sharadashram Vidya Mandir at Dadar; Adi Janata HighSchool at Satpati, Lokmanya Vidya Mandir at Mahim; Maratha Mandir High School at Worli and Maratha Mandir High School at Thakurdwar etc. While pursuing his literary contributions he fulfilled his responsibility as a teacher and publisher of his own books. In case of Sharadashram Vidyamandir at Dadar and Adi Janata High School at Satpati, he was also in the role of school headmaster and management committee; yet he performed well on all the fronts simultaneously including home. He maintened his household reasonably well by bringing up his four children, decently educated with help of his wife. He remained independent and without any blot or debts all his life. He cleared all mortgaged property and his life policies.
1967-1985 Leading an Aloof & Withdrawn “Rejected” Life till end
This was the longest period of 18 years which passed without major events and any tangible contribution. He strictly led a retired life. This was mainly due to a serious illness he suffered in 1967 and because of everything becoming costly he could no longer think of writing and publishing anything. He had to abandon the children’s encyclopedia project he had started and published two volumes. No third volume could be published even though the manuscript was ready. His health condition was such that he could no longer do any job involving physical exersion. One by one his near and dear ones passed away. Life in Mumbai no longer remained like earlier years. He was not prepared for the new hectic life of changed Mumbai and the deteriorating ethical standards in society. Further, according to him, the social conditions changed drastically and he viewed himself as a “misfit” of some kind having values of old days and so could not adjust himself to the changed times. Continuous lowering of the ethics was not pallatable to him at all. After working in about six schools and spending more than 20 years in teaching profession he was denied a teachers ad-hoc retirement pension also because he could not conform to specific rules and did not fulil the demands of a certain “desk officer” in Mantralaya dealing with his file. His file was rejected and his request for a legitimate pention. This happened during Vasant Dada Patil’s chief ministership. He refused to fulfil demand of only a couple of hundred rupees in around 1970-72 In fact, as per rules he was entitled for an ad-hoc pension even if he had a broken service of 20 years or more. But the shameless corrupt officer of modern times was unmovedand Raghunath was not prepared to lower his standards he had preserved all his life very carefully. His 75th birthday was celebrated on 24/12/1984 by his one time colleagues and students of Chikitsak School, at his Dadar TT House, spontaneously in a private function along with his family members. Some of the persons attending it were -Prof M V Dhond, Prof T A Kamat (both his one time associates of Chiktsak days) and among students who were present – Jayawant Dalvi, Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, Ravindra Pinge,Manohar Devdhar, Madhu Karande, N G Shitoot etc. After a few months on 17/09/1985 before completing 76 years, one fine day very early in the morning he left this world. News papers also did not print it as a prominent news to note.
DRS – Original prepared in November 2007.
Reviewed on 09/10/1919. Edited on – 22/04/2020