Shankar Pathak is a retired Professor of Social Work, Delhi University. He studied at Karnatak and Lucknow universities with Economics as a major subject, and also political science, sociology and social anthropology. He obtained the post-graduate diploma in social work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and M.A at the Indiana University U.S.A. He has widely read in social sciences and social work and uses this knowledge in all his writings. He has authored eight books (Seven plus 1 revised edition for NBT) and contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Social Work in India (1966 and 1987) and to several anthologies on social work. He is a founder member of I.AT.S.W, its first President of the Delhi Branch and Editor of its quarterly journal – Social Work Forum (1969-71). He was U.N.ECAFE (now ESCAP) Senior Lecturer at the Philippines School of Social Work. Manila and the International Association of Schools of Social Work Consultant on Family Planning, at the Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasat University, Bangkok during 1973-74.
Random Reflections of a Rambling Mind
10th DEC 2010, 4.30pm
Approximately 12 hours ago (around 4.00 AM) I changed my earlier decision/s of not writing any more – whatever in Kannada or English – (not to write my autobiography was the other decision taken many years ago) and suppose what “caused “ this change of decision is the visit on the 13th of this month, of Keremane Shivananda Hegde (wellknown Yakshagana artist, Director, Idgunji Yakshagana Academy), who spent about 45–50 minutes talking (listening really) to me and urged me to write my autobiography. I reiterated my decision not to write. He took several photographs of me by his digital camera – on the Verandah talking to him, standing on the steps, and a few in the garden (this was my suggestion) Additionally, my being engrossed with the reading of M. S. Gore autobiography –“Memories That Linger” along with some writing on DSSW – based on his account of it, may also have been responsible for this decision to write. I made the decision, lying in bed awake around 4 AM (4-15 AM) and thought of the title around 4-40AM. So here I am beginning my last piece of writing.
It should be made very clear that I am not writing my autobiography. I stick to the original decision. If I were to write that (autobiography) it would have been in Kannada. What I am writing is my memories ofmainly my academic – professional life – selecting some experiences and events – then writing on those – not following any strict chronological order.
My childhood briefly and early education – primary and secondary. I was born on 09-06-1930 at village Banavasi, Taluk – Sirsi (now called Tehsil) of North Kanara (N. K.) district of the then Bombay province ofBritish India. My district is a costal dist. South of Goa and north of the then South Kanara district of Madras province. The capital of Bombayprovince was Bombay – hence the name, carried out as an administrative territory of colonial India by Elphinstone – the first Governor.
The Bombay province was a multilingual province - Gujarat in the North - beginning from Godhra (in news in recent years after the Godhra Massacre) including – Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroch as major towns – cities the Marathi speaking districts in the middle - biggest of the three linguistic groups, including Nashik, Bombay, Pune, Thane Sangli, Satara cities – towards then the South – four districts of Karnataka – Kannada speaking Belgaum, Bijapur, Dharwad and my district, as the last district in the South. Very backward district. 75 – 80p.c. forest – poor roads) no railway line, heavy rainfall, malaria and othert causes leading to de-population, due to malaria mainly and other diseases. Educationally backwards in many ways – including inadequate primary schools in many villages – only one Municipal City school – Sri Marikamba High School at Sirsi (my taluk) covering approximately half of the district above the Western Ghats - the other half - Coastal taluks. Heavy rainfall – mainly agricultural – paddy, sugarcane, coconut plantations on the coastal areas and Arecanut (supari), black pepper, cardamom and banana plantations in the above ghat areas – my village part of this in the middle part of adjoining thick forests – vast area of paddy fields.
The village around six centuries ago was the new capital of a new dynasty established by King Mayura Varma, with a temple ofMadhukeshwara and a small river - Varada flowing on three sides – surrounding it in a “U” shape, a tributary of Tunga (Bhadra), ultimately joining the major river Krishna. The village is on an elevation, so not affected by floods – common during the rainy season, though the paddy fields get submerged – causing much suffering to the agriculture – dependent population.
The village Banavasi has (for a long time) a Primary Govt. Boys Schoolupto 7th standard leading to (then prevalent system) a public examination – Primary School Leaving Certificate Exam, PSLC – “Moolki” in Kannada (original in Urdu – meaning regional). There were two more schools one for girl’s upto 4th standard and one for Muslims – Urdu – a single teacher school, Girls school had two lady teachers. An Agricultural Co-Op Credit Society – which had a small library including books in Kannada, a Kannada daily from Hubli – Samyukta Karnataka (United Karnataka) which arrived from sirsi at night and to read the next day. Also twice weekly “Kesari” in Marathi – founded by Lokamanya Balgangadhar Tilak, and small district news weekly – called Kanada Vrartta (Kannada).
My own interest in reading began at the age of 7 or 8, reading Kannada detective novels – brought home by the visiting uncle “ Shyanubhog” (village revenue official) during his visits and stay of a week, 2 or 3 times a year. Picked up reading news papers – both Kannada and Marathi, when my father could not read them due to poor eye sight after his retirement – i. e. when I was studying at Sirsi High School, was familiar with Devanagari script because I had to study Sanskrit as a subject from 4th standard to 7th standard - end of high school with the terminating – Matriculation Examination of Bombay University. The village also had a Police Station with three constables and bus trip once at 7:00 am to Sirsi and return at night by 8:00 pm - private bus service.
The population of the village was approximately 1000 to 1500. at present it is 7000. No medical facilities – no dispensary – Public/private – not a single MBBS doctor until the 1950’s. When a Primary Health Centre was started - with one MBBS doctor. Around the same time a High School – Jayanti High School started.
End 5:30 PM
Primary school education at Banavasi upto 6th standard, left towards the end (3 months before) as part of my father’s plan to admit me at Sirsi - Marikamba High School, to study at Siddapur – Taluk HQ( a small town? Big village?) to study and complete 6th standard and 7thstandard, along with one hour a day (one period) to study English at the Anglo – Vernacular (A.V) School - single teacher- teaching English . I passed the 6th standard with Hindi as a subject (special tuition to pass this subject as I had not to study Hindi at Banavasi) and 3rd standard. English at the A. V. school – with these certificates I was eligible to be admitted to the 4th standard of Sirsi High School, which I joined in June 1942 continued upto 1946.
Later I had to go Hubli to study (formally) briefly at the City High School and passed my Matriculation Exam of Bombay University in 2nd class – probably 53 p.c. at Sirsi – no hostel facilities – so stayed in a room, bathing, toilet + meals at a restaurant, popular called – Hotel, near the Bus stand – cheap and “filthy”. Later for three years a cash based hostel was started in a rented house – part of a “Chawl”- row of houses in one long structure – with common toilet, bathing (for the house) and one well – for water supply.
The main thing to remember is I developed serious interest in Kannada literature, due to the influence of the Kannada teacher “GK Master” popularly called G. K. Hegde, formed a literary club – “Kiriyara Koota” (“youngsters club”) became the Executive president and Editor, of the handwritten Quarterly magazine - “Hoovina Sara” (Garland of Flowers). Started a small library – bought books – (without pocket money – long story how this was done) – others also contributed. Presided over dialogues (discussions on literary issues - e.g. Progressive literature Vs Traditional Literature etc. The president was Ramakrishna Hegde (R. K. Hegde) who later became Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1983 Jan to Aug 1988, Dy, Chairman Planning Commission, under V. P. Sing as Prime Minister and Commerce Minister under Atal Bihari Vaajapeyi N.D.A Government One of the founder members was T. Sheegehalli, N. T. Hegde Sheegehalli (V; T; Sheegehalli V., Tie whose major novel “Talegali” “End of a Generation” 440 pp I published posthumously April end this year (2010). His novel - the first he wrote and was the last, became a best seller list – No. 1 and No. 2 reviewed favorably by three Famous Kannada Literary Critics.
I am sad, very sad he is not alive to enjoy the popularity and fame the novel generated! To note – I read most of then Kannada Books published – all varieties – poetry, drama, novel, biography, essays etc. Kannada (Navodaya) Rerhaissance literature, developed fluently to speak and write in Kannada. I am proud to say, I have to this day retained the proficiency? Command? Of spoken and written Kannada. I could not have done all that I did for the posthumous publication of “Talegali” novel – including a Glossary, an Appendix – Havyakas – Their language and literature, but for this foundation, while at SIRSI.
There was a price to pay – not inevitable – but it happened. I failed in the High School - ending Public Examination (again a long story) - in 1946 – but briefly, decided to discontinue (any reapperancy) my further education. I changed my mind – thanks to the timely guidance and advice + help of my senior friend and well wisher from the village – late C. C. Mulgund. I went to Hubli, took tuition in mathematics (because the Sirsi High School teacher had to leave and he had joined the City High School at Hubli. He, Mr. Talegaonkar, alone could have helped me to pass the Matriculation Exam of Bombay University in 1947 and I did that – with just three months tuition in Maths and English – rest self study (6.30PM)
I shall now write briefly about my college education at Dharwad which was then a well known educational centre – the famous KarnatakCollege – later became the nucleus of Karnataka University in 1951 – the year I was to appear for my final B.A. Honors. Exam, until then it was part of Bombay University – one of the oldest three or four universities of India since Pre Independence time.
I joined Karnatak College in June 1947, opting for Arts. B.A. and then choosing Economics Honors – as my course. You could do either pass or Honors. I chose the latter. Apart from compulsory English Paper – although (four years) the Honors course (2 years) one had to choose 6 papers as the main subject course and one subsidiary course – choice of one of then available – history or Political Science. I chose the Political Science subject. For Hons in Economics – there were six compulsory papers- including 4 theory courses + Economic History (Germany, UK,USA, Japan and India) + Indian Economic Problems. Among the recommended books – well known authors- Crowther – Story of Money, Gilchrist – on monetary and other theories J. M. Keyns had burst on the economic scene – with his classic – General Theory of Employment.
He is a big name, even to - day as one of the major contributors to the development of Economic Science /discipline. Economics had begun to be written about with mathematic formulas/models. I should mention as part of the theory courses – we had to study – Growth of Economic Thought. Prof. S Dhekne and R. G. Sahsrabudhe – both of the Bombay Educational Service – (Marathi speaking) Sahsrabudhe taught the main Econ. Papers, perhaps one of them taught Political Science. The book for this – Harold Laski – Grammer of Politics. Director of LondonSchool of Economics – big name also influenced a generation of students/politicians (especially Labour Party). Jawahar Lal Nehru was one of the person influenced by Harold Laski.
For Indian Economic Problems only books available – also recommended were Jathar and Berry, and Wadia and Merchant – co authors. While I read both of these books. I relied mainly on Wadia and Merchant, read – D. S. Sawakar – Economic History, S. G. Panandikar – Central Bank in India (meaning RBI). Note that I always read – purchased most of the recommended books – did read guides – very few, not more than two one was on Indian Economic Problems- one of the better type – I think one of the author was Dewett. As part of compulsory English, we had to study Shakespeare’s dramas – “As you like it” – then for second year - known as Intermediate Exam. Public Exam of Bombay University. Some other books – I don’t remember.
For the first two years – Kannada and Sanskrit (actually a choice I exercised at High School) were the compulsory papers. This meant I had studied, Kannada and Sanskrit as one of the subjects since my 4thstandard High School + two years in college – total six years of my education. So, also English for six years – compulsory.
I may repeat, if I wrote earlier, that I studied at a Govt. primary school. All taught in Kannada medium –at the Municipal High School – also Kannada medium, except for Maths, Science and of course – English – also Sanskrit – because the Sanskrit teacher Aras did not knowKannada – being a Goan origin, he spoke only Konkani – his mother tongue Back to College – well known teachers taught various subjects- Principal, Correa Afonso (formally of Stxaviers College Bombay) Armando Mehezes, V. M. Inamdar, W. W. Bhaskar – taught English. Prof. S S. Malwad (he later became principal of the college) and R. K. Malgi taught Kannada. Prof. R. V. Jagirdar and Mr. Kulkarni taught Sanskrit. I had to study Kalidasa’s classic (Meghadoota) and Mudra Rakshasa – a drama. Prof. Jagirdar had a degree from LondonUniversity. (*All teachers were recruited to Bombay Educational Service.) He was also a well known Kannada dramatist – writing under the pen name “Shree Ranga”, a big name in Renaissance period Kannada literature.
I have always, for a longtime at least, felt uncomfortable when talking and writing in English. You may call it – inferiority Complex because I had not been to English Medium big name schools. Though KarnatakCollege – Dharwad was on of the five colleges run directly by Bombay Govt and was very well known. Playright, theatre personality, actor, director- Girish Karnad also studied at Sirsi and the same college where I studied. He however had no problem in speaking, writing in English. He originally wrote in Kannada, his dramas. Later translated in English and then it was translated in other Indian languages. His mother tongue is Konkani. He can speak well in Marathi. He addressed Marathi literary conference in Marathi. I am not that talented. I can now, write and speak in English reasonably well. Can speak and write in Kannada. And can read and speak Hindi, read Marathi to a great extent - follow 70-80 pc of what I read; I can understand Konakni, Gujarathi and Punjabi to a limited extent. I can’t read Urdu but can follow, when spoken if it is not highly Persianised or Arabicised. 7-45 pm
MY EXPERIENCE OF WRITING
12-12-10, 11-30 am
What I am about to write may be considered a “digression” but is related to what I have written before this – i. e my academic background (more written later) and knowledge of language – limited though it might have been. As a teenager (15-17 years) at Sirsi – Hubli, I wrote a few articles in Kannada including a political pamphlet – “Quit Goa” (Goveyinda chale javo) with the help and encouragement of Mr. Kulkund Shiva Rao (later known as “Niranjana”, novelist – short story writer etc) who was then a cardholding member of the Communist Party of India. (1946-1950) which was one big party. Later split in to two CPI and CPI (M). P. C. Joshi was the General Secretary until 1948 – afterwards B. T. Ranadive – displacing him on ideological grounds.
More militant and political line. The Party was banned, many leaders went underground and some were arrested and put in jails. Shiva Rao also went underground - with a secret new name - using my address for secret party correspondence. The CID police got to know this and my name entered the CID list – as a dangerous communist. The pamphlet quit gor got me lot of publicity among Sirsi friends and literary circles. I became an “author”. This association with Shiva Rao and CPI influenced me to the extent that I became an active “Political” worker – not a member, described as a “fellow traveler”.
I had come under the influence of my Hindi teacher – “Dhareswar Master” who was a Khaddar – wearing Nationalist – participant in freedom movement. I also started wearing “Khaddhar” – white Gandhi cap and participated in a small way in the “Quit India” movement in 1942 at Sirsi being “crowned” as a leader who organised a protest procession when one of our teachers – ‘ Vaman Hodke’ was arrested.
I had not organised the procession, - only participated. But the English teacher at the high school – S. V. Kamat – Anglophile, in the class announced that, “Pathak, you have been the leader, I understand” – I kept quiet.
Getting back to my writing experience, I attempted a long article in English while in second year of college – on the “Unification of Karnatak” sent it to “Bharat Jyoti” Sunday edition of the wellknown daily “Free Press Journal” ed. S. Sadanand, published from Bombay. I was surprised to find that it was published while reading the weekly at the local library. Next surprise – received an honorarium of Rs.20/- - big amount those days- equivalent of 50 pc of my monthly expenditure and I was happy, elated.
After joining D.S.S.W. in July 1955 I was asked by the Principal M. S. Gore to write a brief article on “Medical Social Work” for the monthly “Social Welfare”. The editor, Frieda Bedi had asked the principal who in turn asked me to write. My first “Professional” writing – I suppose in 1956. I had used two or three brief case illustrations in my article. The editor, mother of Kabir Bedi – Actor, edited out most part of it and retained the case illustrations – which were printed prominently. Subsequently – following a decision of staff meeting – that there should be regular seminars based on a paper written by a staff member. The “Privilege” of writing the first such paper (no one wrote subsequently) was either suggested by M.S.G. and or volunteered/accepted by me. The topic was “Applicability of Social case work Method in India”. Those were the days (period) when DSSW staff and other professionals outside like P.D.Kulkarni, were very critical of case work and had argued that it was not suitable for our country, which faced “Mass problems – Poverty; illiteracy and illhealth. Casework as an individual – oriented approach was unsuitable and “expensive”, even “wasteful”.
I took the challenge – worked hard – read a great deal and produced a first draft of closely type (single space) 30 pages – K. L. Raizada did the typing. I gave it to MSG for comments. Based on those I was to revise the paper. His one comment – I did not accept- did not agree. I had followed the universally accepted academic practice of referring to an author – Celebrity be may be – by the last name e.g. Gandhi, without prefix or suffix. MSG’s suggestion was that I should refer to him as either Mahatma Gandhi or Gandhiji. I have been influenced by Gandhi as a teenager, to this day I hold him in high respect. But I felt I had not made any mistake – showed any disrespect. There was another comment – also not acceptable to me.
I had quoted “Albert Schweitzer’ internationally known medical doctor – working in the field of leprosy relief. He (Albert Schweitzer) had three doctorates – one from Indian Philosophy! I had quoted him from - an article published in ‘”Atlantic Monthly”. USA which I had purchased while in USA in 1958 and read the article. MSG’s suggestions / comment was that he is not accepted as an authority on Indian philosophy. Quote – someone like S. Radhe Krishnan. I had read book/s of S. R. as well as another famous author – Prof. M. Hriyanna of Mysore University.
Irony is that later, when MSG wrote a major paper on attitudes to wealth – published in – “Economic and Cultural Change”. Ed. by Bert Hoselitz of Chicago University, he Quoted from Albert Schweitzer in the same context - Indian Philosophical tradition! A. S. I was told not an authority, but he became so, when MSG felt the need to quote him! A negative feeling developed in my mind about MSG – due to this episode, which perhaps, influenced my academic relationship with him. Outcome of this was is my first major professional paper – on social case work, remains unpublished to this day. I still have the MS with MSG’s handwritten comments in ink and Prof. Herbert H. Apteker’s comments in pencil. I made no attempt to revise, prepare another one/ two drafts as I would have done.
Dr. Aptekar - as sought by me, gave his opinion that the M. S. was worthy of publication – without any major revision. (Some revision would have been there). I had thought of sending this M. S. for publication to the Indian Journal of Social Work – TISS (Director is Ex – officer, Editor of the Journal). Unfortunately for me MSG became Director TISS in June 1962 – succeeding Prof. A. R. Wadia. I made no attempt to send it to IJSWK; Thereafter, I took a decision - so long as MSG was Editor – I would not send anything for publication on my own initiative. But, would do so if invited. I stuck to that decision – even after he retired and other’s succeeded him. My articles published in J. S. W. All of them are invitational articles. Two articles – one on supervision and the other – review article on G. R. Bannargies (GRB) book Papers on Social Work were published when MSG was the editor of IJSW. When the essay review was send to him he wrote a brief acknowldgement letter in which he said – “a thoughtful review”.
When TISS under A. R. Wadia, planned a book on the occasion of its silver jubilee, History and Philosophy of Social Work in India, I was chosen – a great honour at that time youngest, I was 30-31 years of age, and had been a teacher at D.S.S.W. for about five or six years. I could guess Dr. GRB had recommended my name – she was the founder – promoter of Medical – Social Work in India. She could have been the best/appropriate person to write it. She wrote on social casework. This article on medical Social Work is the first major published article on Social Work by me.
It brought a good deal of reputation as a young academic and I began to be noticed – invited for articles. Dr. Bannarjee has always been appreciative of me both as a student and later as a professional colleges Even obliged me by agreeing to write an article to “Social Work Forum” when I took over as the Editor in 1969 – and remained in that position for about 2 years. She wrote - that she would not have accepted the invitation because she had decided not to write for S.W.F for some reason, but would do so as I had invited her. A reciprocal gesture because I have declined an invitation because of MSG., later agreed to write for the seminar on supervision – other request another major paper, liked by GRB, published in IJSW later, as part of the seminar papers!
Again, another digression – and I write about Social Work Forum (SWF). I was invited by K. D. Gangrak the newly elected president of ATSW to become the Editor and had agreed on my terms – full control as Editor and Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board. SWF was behind schedule, two issues had not come out and financially in debt. The Press Kumar Printers was not paid for – due old bills and there was a “legal” notice from Mr. M. K. Bhargava Rs. 1000/- were due, big money in 1969-70. I knew MKB socially – was a friend – told him that I would personally advance Rs. 1000/- from my fund – to be reimbursed later.
That was what happened. I brought out SWF on schedule – making up the back log, ensured that the journal kept to the schedule, improved the quality – by way of articles, increased the number of subscribers, got (Mrs. V. Bala helped) new Advts. Introduced a new feature – “Social Welfare News” which I prepared with much hard work - going through several English newspapers – covering different regions – Hindu for example – the South, ‘Statesman’ for the East/North (Delhi Edu.), Times of India for the West/North. Readers liked this and other changes I introduced. I got compliments from wellknown professional like V. M. Kulkarni and others.
After 18 months – infact two years because of back log) I insisted that I should be relieved of Editor. SWF Handed over systematically – with proper records – financial/accounts subscribers etc. There was no debt and there was a small balance handed over. When I was Editor – B. S. Kumedan made a suggestion – we send SWF as a professional Journal in exchange for other foreign Journals – from UK, USA, thus get these Journals to the DSSW Library without paying huge subscription, in foreign exchange.
This worked well for some years – ended when SWF, after me once again became irregular and journal not reaching foreign Journals who had agreed for the exchange. I consider this phase of my professional career – an important achievement and a contribution to the profession.
Post – Script
Slice of Life – was a continuation of this writing. Excerpts from that - computer – printed – (Courtesy Malati) draft copy was sent to a few academies and DSSW Alumni. Rest was destroyed! Glimpses of My Life – but not autobiography.
S Pathak 19-05-2015, 7:00 pm
For twenty years (1936-1956) there was no book on Social Welfare / Social Work in India. Early publications ‘Social Welfare and Anthology’, bulky volume sponsored by Planning Commission, Published by Publication Division, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 1956. No conceptual clarity about social welfare. An abridged edition was published in 1959.
Another Anthology edited by A.R. Wadia, planned, sponsored by TISS faculty was published by Allied Publishers, Bombay, 1959. Title: History and Philosophy of Social Work in India. Faculty members of TISS and Alumni including me were the contributors in second edition in 1962.
‘Medical Social Work’ in India by S. H. Pathak DSSW Delhi, 1961, ‘Social Legislation in India’ – by V. V. Shashtri, Planning Commission sponsored – published by Publication Division, Government of India. And ‘A Century of Social Reform in India’ by S. Natarajan, Asia Publishing House, 1962 are the three single author books on a single theme or topic, to be published during the early 1960’s . Note that for twenty years there was no book on social work or social welfare in India.
There was the Indian Journal of Social work quarterly published by TISS since 1940. What did the students learn about social work in India? What were the sources? Lectures by teaches in from social work educational institutions in Bombay Delhi, Baroda and Madras? From where did the teachers get what they taught about India? Did they teach anything about social work in India? Questions to ponder.
Social work literature including Social Work research has been written about, reviewed by Prabha Gore (Later changed name Anita Herlekar), M.S. Gore and P. Ramachandran, S.N. Ranade and recently by Sanjai Bhatt etc in the Encyclopedia of Social Work 1966, 2012 and the ICSSR volumes on research. As there was not sufficient research literature on Social Work in India- A survey by S.N. Ranade was included as a paper in the volume on sociology!!
Murali Desai when she was Associate Editor of I.J.S.W. devoted two issues to social work literature. Special mention must be made of her untiring efforts in conceiving and executing the project ‘Review of 50 years of social work Literature'. Published in the July 1997 issue of I.J.S.W. Her contribution as an entrepreneur of social work literature is unparalleled.
Note: I have relied on memory in writing the above paragraphs on Social Work literature. There may be some inaccuracies, missing details to referred publications.
Papers and articles not reprinted in the above publications.
Memoirs of an Indian Social Work Educator
After two digressions I return to my educational background. After I passed out of Karnatak College –Karnataka University, 1st Batch with B.A. Special (i.e. Honors), I began to think what next? My father wanted me to be a lawyer - not work as an employee -to be on my own. There was no money left to pursue further P.G. or law course. My close friend at Karnatak College – senior by two years, had done LL.B at Belgaum. He told me that I could find some kind of temporary job, earn (working during the day) and study for LL.B at attending evening classes. I accepted his advice, went to Belgaum (Thalakwadi – a suburb) joined Raja Lachmen Gouda Law College (R.L.L.C) got admitted in the hostel, began searching for a job – for about a month, without success. Decided to discontinue and had a letter from Syndicate Bank, Dharwad that I could get some loan by mortgaging shares of Maharashtra Apex Bank – purchased by my father. I got the loan – enough for a year of P.G. study at Bombay. I wrote to the Registrar Bombay University, seeking admission for M.A. in Economics, got a reply that admission closed for that year (1951-52). I could try next year. I was in touch with my close friend R.K. Hegde, (he later became Chief Minister of Karnataka (1983-88), Dy. Chairman planning commission and commerce minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NDA government) who was then at Lucknow University, doing his M.A. Political Science 2nd year. He wrote, I could join Lucknow University even by late July, there were well known professors – he named some. I took a snap decision, went to Lucknow – never had travelled outside Karnataka, joined Lucknow University, Department of Economics and Sociology. Lucknow University had a composite P.G. Programme of Economics + Sociology. Common papers, Compulsory in the 1st year and specialization into one of the two streams - A (Economics) and B (sociology). I opted for B, and then changed to A much against the wish of the then Head of Department, Prof. D.P. Mukherjee- well known as one of the founders of Sociology in India. The other being Ghurye at Bombay University, M.S Gore's teacher. D.P as he was popularly known, was a double M. A (Economics and History) Gold medalist of Calcutta University. He was a great and versatile scholar/ teacher, Novelist in Bengali, art critic, musicologist (Hindustani Thumri in particular). He had revamped the curriculum when he took over as HOD, which was outdated during his predecessor’s tenure – well known Radha Kamal Mukherjee. D. P had introduced a new paper on Economics of Planning- note this, 1st in India. It was a compulsory 2nd year paper. There was an "Introduction to Sociology'' paper in the 1st year - which he taught. Also the paper on "Planning". As part of stream A (Economics) there was an optional paper either Economic History or Social Anthropology. As I had done Economic History as part of my B.A at Dharwar, I chose Social Anthropology- taught by another well-known scholar, H.O.D, Anthropology- Dr. (Prof) D. N. Majumdar. Another teacher his former student and then a junior colleague - Mr. (Dr) Mathur also shared the course teaching. I passed M.A. (Lucknow) in 1953 with II Class - just made it. I came home - began to look for a job which I needed badly. I had to take help by way of interest free loan to supplement my funds, to take care of my II year at Lucknow.
I used to come to Sirsi Tehsil town once every week from Banavasi my village to read the advertisement in Times of India (T.O.I). I came across one advertisement for a post of T. B. Social Worker by the Govt. of Bombay. Being eligible, I applied for it; was called for interview, was finally selected; received an appointment letter which said that I would be sent to T.I.S.S for two year study, stipend paid and only after that I would be appointed. Stipend took care of approximately 50 percent of my monthly expenditure at T.I.S.S staying in the hostel. Further debt from C. C. Mulgund - my well-wisher from Banawasi. I later learnt that the two persons who interviewed me were Dr. B. B. Dixit, Surgeon-General, (Dr. B.B.D Dixit later became the first Director of all India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi) Govt of Bombay (now the designation would be Director Medical Services) and Dr. G. R. Banerjee of T.I.S.S. Thus I landed accidentally at T.I.S.S and professional social Work both of which I had not heard. At T.I.S.S it was compulsory for me that I should take Medical and psychiatric Social Work (M.P.S.W) as my II year specialization. Dr. Banerjee was my field work supervisor during the I term), 1st year Field work at family Welfare Agency founded by her and Dr. Mhasker (read MSG's autobiography). II term was "Group Work" Placement at BDD Chowls, Worli- just organizing and playing with children not group work really. Mrs. Alvares - T.I.S.S Alumini was Field work supervisor. Prof. N. F. Kaikobad was in-charge of Group Work placement and also the Worli centre run by T.I.S.S (I was at T.I.S.S from 1953 July to 1955 May. I missed narrowly K.D.Gangrade as my Group Work Supervisor. He left T.I.S.S in January 1954 to join Delhi School of Social Work (D.S.S.W). I joined (D.S.S.W in July 1955). I should mention only a few things about my study at T.I.S.S. Other students used to say "poor Pathak" referring to the course I would be doing during II year (M.P.S.W) under Dr. Banerjee. She had rather a 'negative" image among students especially boy students of other specializations. Dr. G R Banerjee was considered to be very strict as a supervisor- very punctual herself demanding students also to be punctual. Part of the image was that "she was insensitive to the point of being cruel". There were stories doing the round. As was my nature, I decided to keep an open mind, do my best, "judge" her by my experience. That proved very helpful. I was punctual- I always am, did my work conscientiously, honestly shared the difficulties in field work. I became her "favorite" student. In those years there were hardly any books to· read on Social Work. We had to depend on class notes of teachers who taught. As part of M.P.S.W. GRB taught "Advanced case work and Counselling' during the II year. All other students were women I, the only boy. T.I.S.S was then not a university. Internal assessment & grades were by course teachers / field work supervisors. GRB had followed a practice of giving farewell to her students after the II year exam but before the results –at a good restaurant in Bombay. When our group’s farewell party was over GRB managed to get me away from other students, in whispers almost, said “Mr. Pathak you have done well in Advanced Case Work. Where did you find all that you wrote about Authority Factors in Case Work?” I replied Eliott Studt in “Federal Probation”, U.S. Journal which I had read in the library. She hadn't read it! She questioned me because, I had written what she had not taught yet relevant and more than what she had said-. I say this for two reasons, one the way I used to study. More than that the humility of GRB, implicitly admitting I had read what she hadn't read. Great quality in a teacher! Very few teachers have the courage and integrity to admit that the student is ahead of –them in reading.
Here I quote another incident from a colleague at D.S.S.W. Two bright Students - Dr. Vinay Bhaskar and Mr. Datta (son of S.C. Datta referred to by MSG), knowing that the teacher only lecturers from notes taken years ago- did not do any fresh reading, played this prank. ·"Sir you said this but so and so in their book have said differently''. Fictitious authors!-. The teacher said “I have read that book but ...". The two had a hearty laugh sharing this with friends and one of them spoke to a teacher who was a relation and this student was my student close to me and ·she told me. She retired as H.O.D. Contrast this teacher with GRB. Though no student tried this on me “I would have said - I am not aware of that book. Give me the details, I will read it".
Briefly about Dr. B. H. Mehta. He was a Ph.D in Sociology from Bombay University (also Dr. M. V. Moorthy)- at a time sociology was a new discipline in India; He had joined in the first few years of the establishment of T. I.S.S, was teaching C.O and Child welfare- his own ideas- not to be found in books- if there were books. He had the habit of referring to himself as "we". Interesting and to some, even inspiring teacher. The problem was when exam came students were worried- if class notes did not make sense. I don't know how word got around that I have "good" notes of Dr. Mehta. My notes were borrowed, copies were made after getting them typed and circulated remember- 'Xerox' was not there. Dr. Mehta was also intensely disliked by some of his students. I was the 'in between' category. There is an amusing end to this - a few who read my notes, got good grades, but I did not! I got C in C. 0 and in Child welfare. To end this part. After B. H. Mehta passed away- funds were collected by the T.I.S.S staff/ Alumni and B. H. Mehta Memorial Prize for the best research based article in I. J.S.W. When it was to be implemented- 1st award, I was a member of the Award choosing committee, and Dr. Tellis Nayak of (Roshni Nilaya) Mangalore, Dr. N. A. Gokarn of T. I. S. S were the other members. When I wrote to the Director, T.I.S.S- Dr. A. Desai, her reply- "The committee members may frame the rules and guidelines! It fell to my lot to draft the rules, after circulation to other members through T.I.S.S, and finally approved. Consider the problem, 3 of us located at different places - I in Delhi, Dr. Gokarn at Bombay and Dr. Tellis Nayak at Mangalore. Suppose, each one of us chose- 3 different authors. I had to bear in mind all these potential difficulties and frame, workable rules. Note also that- most of the articles - nearly 75 percent are from Non- Social Work authors - from other Social sciences. A few years later, I was again chosen a member of B.H.Mehta Research Award. In both the years, I am happy to say that the names chosen by me were the final awardees. This meant that at least one other member, if not two had made the same choice. We did not communicate between ourselves. We sent directly 3 names by rank to T.I.S.S and based on guidelines, T.I.S.S finalized the choice.
I end this part of my academic life- connected with T.I.S.S with a non- academic part of my life at T.I.S.S. T.I.S.S used to have election to the students union every term and I was elected a member of Students Union in the first year- I term. I was made in charge of picnic! There was a dominant group with some political association which won the elections each term. I was with this group to begin with. Later I quietly prepared to break away and organize a"challenge" to this group. It was a very difficult task. I had to unite a coalition of 3 different sub-groups- those openly opposed to the Ruling group- Songadwala was the leader of the opposite group. A section of the ruling group was not quite happy with the "ruling'' group. But chose to align with them as they felt that the opposition was playing in the hands of the Director- Prof. A R Wadia- a person with long administrative experience. He was Director of Education in Mysore State was Pro Vice Chancellor of Baroda University. I was part of the section that was not happy with the ruling group, but aligned with them. Then there were the neutral/ indifferent students. P. L. Govil was the original candidate as President by Songadwala group. But the dissident group insisted that they would break away from the ruling group, if only I were the candidate for President, Students Union. I was not keen. But I was determined to break the stranglehold of the ruling group. Songadwal realized that we needed that "dissident" group support to win. He called me for a "confidential" chat in a restaurant (EROS) away from T.I.S.S He changed his opinion of me - that I would not be controlled by the 'Ruling' group and decided to support me as the candidate for President of student’s Union. As a compromise my classmate and friend P.L.Govil was accepted as Vice-Presidential candidate. We wonwith a big margin to the shock of the Ruling group- who were very sure that their candidate Miss. Asha Mehta of my class would win hands down. But the aftermath of this was not happy. The T.I.S.S students became divided into two hostile groups. I decided once again to change this bitter, antagonist two groups - into a broadly cordial students of T.I.S.S. Once again I had to work hard- now with my group to get them to agree to the candidature of Asha Mehta in the 3rd term (2nd Year) without contest. I finally succeeded. Alas, Asha Mehta did not play her role- as unanimously elected president of student union. To cut this part short- though it is worth telling in some detail, I once again swung into action and succeeded in overthrowing Asha Mehta through a No- Confidence motion. Late J.J. Panakal used to remark to others later that I was a "hero" who became a "statesman", changed the T.I.S.S, student’s union election in the years to come in a significant way. I am happy to accept this description of myself.
I may conclude by saying that my political background in my college days (I was closely associated with the communist party of India, before it split and when it was banned in 1948 by government of India, the milit phase. B T Ranadive as the new secretary of C.P.I. I had also participated at the age of 12 years in the Quit India Movement) and my roles at T.I.S.S in 1953-55 students union elections all these experiences were very useful when I had to deal with the second major strike at D.S.S.W in 1971. I succeeded - with the help from student (Dr. Vinay Bhaskar and Dr. Aruna Khasgiwala played a major role) with me and quiet support of Principal S N Ranade, in breaking the strike and also breaking two more subsequent strikes. I think D.S.S.W is free from this virus- for many years to come.
Now I turn to my evolution as a “good’, “scholarly”, “influential” teacher at D.S.S.W.
I shall try to be very brief. Earlier I had written, on my own volition, of my experience as a young teacher teaching Social Case work and Medical Social Work, originally given to Prof. R. R. Singh, arising out of his questions which I had answered briefly through an Inland letter. They were thrown way without reading by the D.S.S.W teacher who was my student!!. These were mistaken, as my "case work class notes" by the teacher whom they given by R R Singh) - they were not. I did not have much by way of class notes for any course. I taught, in view of my very good memory, without class notes, what I had were jottings- like "teaching points" with occasional quotes necessary to aid my memory. In my first 2 or 3 years- I was "teacher is a student 24 hours ahead of the class" definition. What I read, what notes I had from T.I.S.S student days, standing in front of the podium- straight talk, ending with "any questions". There were very few, if asked I answered them frankly, with confidence. I remember, as part of four lectures of introduction to the Field on Medical Social Work to the I year students- entire class in the II term of my first year of teaching i.e. Jan March 1956. This question was asked by a student by the name Ahuja, I think innocently- not mischievously. "Sir, what is your salary “? I could have answered in such a way- that it would have been a 'snub' or a “rebuke". I chose to reply candidly- "Rs. 200+ Rs. 50 D.A- total Rs. 250.00. Any further questions? Many students were aghast. They thought that the Question should not have been asked:- perhaps some did speak disapprovingly to Ahuja. They were also very surprised- stunned, that I chose to answer, with a straight face, unemotionally - no anger, no embarrassment. After I took over teaching of Social Case Work in July 1956 from Miss V. Sharma, who had taught the course since 1953 and had resigned to go to the University of California to do her Ph.D. Students asked questions to test me- if I could be needled, if I could be made to lose my temper. (I learnt these later from some of my students). When they failed I rose in their esteem- an unflappable, well-read, confident teacher. From then onwards I had no difficulty in handling any group of students, in any class I taught.
Miss. Sharma used to lose her temper when questions were asked - could not handle them. Knowing this, some students deliberately asked questions to provoke her. I remember that Miss. V.Sharma used to say she had a headache either before going to the full class for teaching or after coming out.
There was paucity of available Social Work Literature even in U.S.A, much less in India around 1953 or so. Even T.I.S.S library was ill-equipped, D.S.S.W more so. E.g. for social case work there was only text- Gordon Hamilton’s – Theory and Practice of Social Case Work; Annette Garett's “Principles of Interviewing”. Only in 1957-58, Helen H. Perlman's pathbreaking Social Case work - A problem solving process - Person, Place and Process in Social Work, came out. Initially I relied on Hamilton (1958 I was in U.S.A) for about two academic years. From 1959-60 I followed Perlman. 1st book from a British author (Noel Timms) came in late 1960's or early 1970's. I used it in Combination with Perlman. For Medical Social Work, there was a book recommended by G.R.B- Harriett Bartlett's book. Later, on the suggestion of GRB, with great difficulty, I managed to get two volumes of compiled articles (published by Chicago University) of GRB's teacher Dora Goldstine - at Chicago University. I always ordered/ purchased copies for my personal "library" out of my small salary of Rs. 250/-I had to save some money to pay off my debt.
More than the paucity of literature, the irrelevance of these to Indian conditions troubled me a great deal. Gradually, I succeeded in weeding out the "irrelevant”, sifting and selecting the relevant and "blending" the relevant to the Indian "knowledge"- drawn from my own observation, experience as a field work supervisor, selected Indian Social science literature. My social science background helped me and my students through their social work field reports though problematic due to translating quickly spoken Hindi/ Hindustani /Punjabi/ Urdu/marwadi etc., into English- students varied in their academic background and of languages. Translation is not easy to scholars of book- translation. What to speak of D. S.S.W students- not the "elite"s of students coming out of the Universities- with under-graduate (degrees compounded by the problem of “Medium of Instructions" - Hindi, Marathi etc). With all these problems by and large my social work students were honest, did not write "fictional" reports, struggled to convey what they heard, saw and tried to understand- the problems of people in distress. The harsh Reality of Indian Society, as seen in Delhi's underbelly- lower stratum living in slums; visiting public hospitals, when ill. But with all the difficulties/ defeats, VERY RICH TREASURE OF RAW Knowledge, Unknown to them- my social work students were generating a treasure of knowledge that I liberally soaked in, polished them- selecting the useful, ignoring trivia/insignificant details. In other words, I realized the need of developing- Indian Social Work Literature for use in India. I can say I did play my small part, already begun by B. H. Mehta, G. R. Banerjee, Dr. M. V. Moorthy- and later M S Gore. MSG was of little help to me at the time I was a young teacher. BHM, MVM provided the "perspective" limited though it was, GRB pioneered the practice oriented knowledge- by way of establishing the field centers/ agencies, and directly practicing by taking a few cases to be handled by her at the Family Welfare Agency, B.D.D. Chawls, Delisle Road and Child Guidance Clinic, Bai Jorbai Wadia Hospital, Parel. I may mention, in a small way, followed GRB. Initiated efforts to establish Child Guidance Centre, at D.S.S.W nurtured it for some years (excellent work by Aruna Jain/ now Khasgiwala, Dean, Faculty of Social work, M.S. University, Baroda 2nd Tenure). Handled, initially, a few cases at the Silver Jubilee (now R.B) T.B. Hospital- OPD and ward, rather successfully- thus demonstrating what Medical Social work is to the Superintendent Dr. Krishna and OPD Dr. Maqbool. Revamped field work placements at the S.J.T.B Hospital from Recreational center based approach- to patients’ problem- oriented approach. A very difficult case handled by me referred directly by Dr. Krishna was a Gandhian T. B. Patient who had begun to fast unto death protesting against corrupt and insensitive administration. No case work theory helped me to tackle this. I relied on my "instincts" based on my knowledge- including some knowledge of Gandhian technique of fast. When the patient broke his fast, it was as though I had done a miracle! My stock went up among the top administration (Dr. Krishna) and some his colleagues. Similarly Dr. Maqbool at the OPD- I used to sit in the OPD, on the OPD/field work day in the morning. Dr. Maqbool was surprised, when he saw I succeeded, when he had failed to persuade a woman T.B. Patient - poor family- not to discontinue the treatment. He asked me what I did in amazement. He was a good doctor. Years later when Mrs. V Bala was working as T.B. Social worker, told me that one day an old patient came to enquire about me (without my name) and he gave sufficient details to her she could make out it was 'I' and I could make out it was the "fasting Gandhian patient". Two more interventions- I did not handle the full cases, one at Irwin Hospital (now LNJP) case handled by Girija Venkatraman mental illness case, the other at Lady Hardinge Medical College Hospital, handled by Ahluwalia. Both the student said- “no progress”, even when they followed my suggestions. I asked them to make appointments on a field work day with prior intimation to me and I would talk to the patients. I did so, succeeded in making the patients take the steps “movement in the case" as it was called. It should be remembered, my own proficiency to communicate in Hindi- "Khadi Boli" as the local spoken language was called was very limited. Two years at Lucknow for my M.A, two years at Bombay for my field work plus one or two years at Delhi. One more detail about my "direct" practice, GRB, Hon. Director Child G. Clinic (run by T.I.S.S.) asked me to work as a part time Psychiatric Social Worker on non-field work days, when Mr. M. G. Shah P.S.W resigned, until the post could be filled by regular recruitment. So for 3 months, I was a paid part time Psychiatric Social Worker at C.G.C. It conveys what GRB thought of me, as a student-practitioner, my potentials.
One more experience during the emergency- post emergency of 1975- 77 at Trilokpuri. The D.S.S.W field staff was divided on the suitability of placing students in Trilokpuri- resettled (tent living) former slum dwellers. We faced a serious problem (I was then Director Field Work) of slums having gone from Delhi/ N. Delhi. Where to send students for Group Work/ C.O placements? I argued “where the people have gone, we go. They need us, even more than before.” I shall skip the details- I managed to persuade the colleagues - a variety of major problems- for students (and people, transport). Lack of basic amenities, water supply, roads, schools for children. I had personally visited several times Trilokpuri (later Jahangir Puri was also chosen SN Ranade as supervisor), I met the Officers-in-charge of those new colonies- tried to find out the blocks- that we should choose for field work of students and selected them. I believed in leading from the front as they say in the army and cricket, demonstrating as a field work supervisor and Director of Field Work. One such block was the South Indian Tamilian weavers originally from Kollegal in Mysore district- later migrating to Tamil Nadu- near Dindigul- finally to Delhi. They spoke a language that sound like Tamil, but as my student discovered- by the name of Thirunarayan, it was a mixture of Kannada + Tamil- more of Kannada. Thirunarayan told me "Sir I cannot communicate with them. They speak some kind of Kannada". Once again I asked Thirunarayan to schedule a meeting of the people on a Sunday- both of us would go. We did- I spoke to them. Their demands- insistent- we need a Murugan Temple, a Tamil school, and cremation ground for our use! The officials could not grasp these as their basic needs- important demands- they were dubbed as "extremely un-cooperative". I told these people- I agree with your demands. I would/my students would do their best to get you these facilities! It was my firm grounding in South Indian culture that helped me to say what I said and we strove to keep our promises. Both of us, Thirunarayan and I together worked, even going on non-field work days or late evenings, meeting people who were in distress, meeting officials at several levels (Mrs. V.Bala and her husband V. Sriram were very helpful- through their Andhra Political contacts- Mr. Ram Rao who was Chairman Khadi and Village Industries Board. Post emergency era Janata government phase-one such intervention was to meet Laila Fernandez (later estranged), wife of George Fernandes- then Minister of Industries at the Government of India with Morarji Desai as Prime Minister. To use political/ high level official influence the officials who were "exploiting" the ignorant ex-slum dwellers- now at Trilokpuri. All these, could be called C.O. Indian way.
I may mention for 5 years or more I was Supervisor, of students placed in Jhandewalon slum (now invisible), as part of their group work/ C.O 1st year placements. A "case work specialist" supervising Group work/ C.O placements!! I had to educate myself about Group Work, and C.O - the right way the Indian approach. I did- Mr. M.C. Nanavatty, Head of Field work Department and Group Work/ C.O teacher was appreciative of my work.
Similarly, I had to learn a good deal about Research Methods- sampling, a variety of tests significance (chi. Square etc.)-the hard way, so that I could guide the then required, research dissertations of M.A (Social Work) D.S.S.W students.
I had not thought of writing my autobiography. I was surprised when two prominent persons from the field of performing arts suggested that I should write it. One of them repeatedly urged me to write. Perhaps influenced by this, on an impulse I started writing not my autography but my Memories as a teacher at DSSW Delhi University, in December 2010. I wrote on these three days 13, 15 and 16 Dec) and then stopped writing, realizing the practical problem of converting my hand written drafts into computer prints and revising the drafts etc. It is exactly three years since I wrote (13th Dec 2013, as I write this). Having pondered over what to do. with what I wrote, including destroying it, finally I managed to salvage a part approximately 50% into computer print of the first draft, without any major improvements retaining my abbreviations e.g. S.W.K for social work, shd for should etc, Thanks to Malathi, my close relative who has helped me immensely by handling my drafts of the last chapter of the book- Social Policy, Social Development and Social Welfare: I cannot make any more demands on her time. No more writing! Year-end resolution.
Autographies are a good source of historical accounts, written carefully with minimum of subjectivity. M. N. Srinivas wrote an autobiographical essay which was published into International social Science Journal. I. P. Desai made autobiographical references in his essay on Craft of Sociology. Among economists V.K.R. V Rao’s incomplete autobiography was edited and published posthumously by S.L. Rao. P.N. Dhar who was professor at Delhi School of Economics and last served as assistant secretary general of U.N. Development programmes (also secretary to the P.M. Indira Gandhi) published his autobiography. Among professional secretaries only M.S. Gore has published his autobiography “Memories that Linger” (about 400 pages) in which there are chapters dealing with his student days at T.I.S.S. and his years as Principal D.S.S.W and Director T.I.S.S. and also his role as a co-founder of Indian Conference of social work, now Indian council of social Welfare. (B. Chatterjee was the other founder - major role).
To read interview by Prof. Anjali Monteiro (taken on July 18, 2011) please download
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