Maharashtra Day: Blue plaques for Pune heroes


List drawn up by Bal Gangadhar Tilak's grandson has among others Bal Thackeray's father

Prabodhankar Keshav Thackeray, father of Bal Thackeray, Kakasaheb Gadgil, father of V N Gadgil and three others make the cut in the latest 'Blue Plaque' list instituted by Jayant Tilak, grandson of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in 1994. Taking a cue from the practice followed in London of awarding plaques to people who left a mark on the city, Tilak has till date recognised 110 personalities who shaped Maharashtra and at the same time had a Pune connection. The other three chosen for the honour this year are singer Sudhir Phadke and educationists Acharya Limaye and Diwakar.

"The initiative was started to highlight the role of leaders who contributed in shaping the state. The leaders who left their mark in the society should be remembered in some way so that the next generation gets to know and takes inspiration from them. The initiative of putting blue plaques is the best way to increase curiosity among citizens," said Deepak Tilak, chairman of the committee. The committee works under the banner of Pune Aitihasik Vaastu Smriti.

Tilak said the idea of blue plaque for citizens of merit came to his father after they attended a function in London organised for the investiture of a plaque of Lokmanya Tilak in the building where the Indian leader stayed.

Among the 110 who have so far been awarded the Pune plaque are social reformers Jyotiba Phule, Ramabai Ranade, renowned circus artist Damu Dhotre, cricket legend D B Deodhar, scientist D B Limaye, social reformer Ramabai Ranade, musician Deenanath Mangeshkar, industrialist Shantanurao Kirloskar, cine legend V Shantaram and litterateur P L Deshpande.

This time too, the committee has located the building that was occupied by those who have been chosen for the honour. In case of Thackeray, efforts are are on to seek permission from the property owner to allow the plaque to be installed. The committee is trying to put a plaque of Kakasaheb Gadgil on the building that is owned by a trust.

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