The fifteenth Dr Hedgewar Prajna Samman for the year 2004 has been given to Shri Balwantrao Moreshwar, popularly known as Baba Saheb Purandare. He is a noted social worker, freedom fighter, famous writer and director of the Janata Raja?a Marathi play on Shivaji. Initiated by the famous literary and social association of Kolkata, called the Shree Burrabazar Kumarsabha Pustakalaya during the birth centenary of RSS founder, Dr K.B. Hedgewar in 1989, the prestigious Samman comprises of Rs 51,000 cash and a memento. The Samman will be presented at a special function to be held at Mahajati Sadan Auditorium on April 11 in Kolkata. The first Samman was presented to Dr Shridhar Bhaskar Varnekar of Nagpur; last year it was given to Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Human Resource and Development Minister, for his outstanding contribution in the education field.
Born on July 1922 in Pune district of Maharashtra, Baba Saheb Purandare graduated from Parshuram College of Pune. He wrote his first historic novel on Narayan Rao Peshwa in 1934. He published an anthology, Thinagya on Shivaji in 1946. Later he composed and directed a group play on Shivaji, which was staged in more than 650 cities of India and America. The money collected through the play is spent on social activities.
Shri Purandare also played a key role in the Goa liberation movement. He was a RSS Pracharak from 1942 to 1944. Baba Saheb was honoured with the ?Shiv Shahir? title in 1966 by Chhatrapati Rajmata Smt. Sumitraraje Bhosale.
Today, even at the age of 82, Shri Purandare is active in social activities. (FOC)