DR. SUNILKUMAR LAWATE
Brief Life Sketch...
Dr. Sunilkumar Lawate was born on 11th April, 1950 at W.B. Nawarange Orphanage, Pandharpur whose mother was unmarried. He had to spend all his childhood as on orphan. He had no name, no religion, no race, and no caste too. He had only a number as it is given to a prisoner. His journey of life begins from "Name Not Known" and reaches to the "Well Known". He began his primary education in a Municipal School near the orphanage. He had to face the treatment of negligence which was not less painful than untouchables
At the age of ten, he was transferred to the Remand Home, Kolhapur as a matter of administrative system. Remand Homes were like prisons in those days. This was another mental shock on the mind of this depressed child. All the doors of humanity were closed for this child and he was forced to spend his childhood in the Remand Home enclosed by big walls. Other children were teasing him in the school. He had to face regular physical check up as a thief whenever the objects of other children were lost in the school. This child had to struggle a lot in this situation and he concentrated on his education like Eklavya. He decided to struggle against this unfavorable situation which gave him energy and inspiration to continue his struggle.
When he passed the 7th std., he was admitted to ‘Antarbharati Vidyalaya, Kolhapur’. It was a newly established school by some visionary people in Kolhapur. Dr. Lawate felt the first touch of humanity in his life and then his new journey began. Due to the influences of Rashtraseva Dal, the literature of V.S. Khandekar and Sane Guruji, there was the beginning of the faith on life.
According to the rule, the boys had to leave the Remand Home after completion of 18 years and he became orphan for the second time. He desperately got admission in Shri. Mauni Vidyapeeth, Gargoti and got scholarship too. It was not possible for him to continue his college education as a regular student. He got admission to ‘Diploma in Rural Services (Education)’ which was equivalent to B.A.B.Ed. He studied hard day and night and passed in first class. The department of Social Welfare sanctioned him extension period as a special case and he could complete his college education. He became the first student of the Remand Home who completed the college education staying in the Remand Home. He stood first class first among the 17 rural Universities in 1971. He earned hat trick by winning ‘Role of Honor’ of the Govt. of India, Merit Certificate and the first position in the diploma course.
Dr. Lawate deliberately decided to work in villages due to the impact of Gandhian thought, even though he could have got a job in the cities. He wanted to continue his education at post graduate level therefore the management transferred him to the Kolhapur branch. He was teaching in a school at one hand and getting education on the other. He passed M.A. with B + grade. He completed his Ph.D while he was working as a High School Teacher. He joined Mahavir Mahavidyalay, Kolhapur as a Lecture in Hindi in 1979. He completed Ph.D. in 1980 and then he developed his career by reading, writing and lectures. At the same time, he decided to devote his life for the well being of the orphan children.
During 1980 to 2000, he earned name in the state as a teacher, writer, researcher and orator as well as a social activist. He has also contributed in the fields of text-book writing, syllabus framing, teacher’s training, translation, lecturers, social work, research, etc. This is the out come of his hard struggle and dedication.
He was a member of the Indian delegation which visited many foreign countries under the scheme of India-France friendship and Exchange Programme. He visited France, Austria, England, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Vatican, Holland etc. He visited many social institutes and also studied the works in many educational organizations and Universities from the teaching-learning point of view. Taking note of the works of Dr. Lawate for the education and rehabilitation of the orphans, the Govt. of India honored him by including his name in the five member Government delegation visiting Japan. During this tour, he visited Singapore too.
Dr. Lawate has proved himself as an ideal teacher and at the same time he is attached with many social organizations and activities. The Govt. of Maharashtra took note of his work and appointed him as a president of Orphanages in Maharashtra. The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation felicitated him as ‘Kolhapur Bhooshan’ The Maharashtra State Hindi Sahitya Academy took note of his significant work for the national language and gave him a special award. His autobiography ‘Khali Jamin Var Aakash’ is highly appreciated at state, national and international level. This book is translated into Hindi, Gujarati and Brail languages. Dr. Lawate has got awards for the best translation, the best criticism and the best literature at national and international levels.
Dr. Lawate has collected and published the complete unpublished works of the Marathi writer Padmavibhushan V.S. Khandekar. This is his great achievement in the field of Marathi literature and culture. He has published 16 books penned by V.S. Khandekar. ‘V.S. Khandekar Museum’ in Shivaji University, Kolhapur is established through the hard efforts of Dr. Lawate. This is the only museum of a writer in India. Dr. Lawate is working as honourary Director of this museum.
Dr. Lawate has set a lesson for the society as a man who has created his own identity as an educationist, a researcher, a writer and a social activist.