Social scientist, former Kesari editor Gokhale passes away

On his birthday in September, the day he turned 87, he rode a horse and hit bull's eye during target practice, such was his zest for life.

Dr Sharatchandra Damodar Gokhale, who showed the world how life should be lived to the fullest, passed away Tuesday after a cardiac arrest.

He is survived by wife Rohini, son Sanjeev and daughter Sushma.

As news of his demise spread, friends and wellwishers gathered at his residence in Karvenagar and recalled how he inspired and motivated others to take up social causes, how he continued working till his last breath for welfare of senior citizens and leprosy affected persons.

"It will always be a sight to remember. An 87-year-old riding a horse and hitting bull's eye. But that's what my grandfather did on his birthday, September 21, last year in Mahabaleshwar," Abhijit Joshi, his grandson, recalled.

"He was so full of life and such a jolly person that home is no longer going to be the same," Sushma Joshi, his daughter, said.

The eminent social scientist, researcher and former editor of Kesari was born on September 21, 1925, in Pune. After his post-graduation in social work from Tata Institute of Social Science, he received a UN scholarship in 1959. He later worked as assistant director in the department of social welfare, Maharashtra, and as assistant secretary general (Asia-Pacific) of International Council on Social Welfare.

He was a consultant to World Health Organisation, the UN and UNICEF.

Instrumental in setting up Community Aid and Sponsorship Programme, International Leprosy Union (India) and International Longevity Centre-India, Gokhale authored more than 30 books and was recipient of International Gandhi Award for exemplary work in the field of leprosy, UN special award for exceptional work in the field of ageing, G D Birla Award and Sasakawa Health Prize in Geneva.

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