and many such heart-rending stories waft around the 'Maharshi Karve Stree shikshan
Samstha' a name that is synonymous with the upliftment of and the education of women for
over the century now. This safe heaven was founded by the Bharat Ratna Dhondo Keshav Karve
Initially it started as a shelter for widows and downtrodden women.
But, he soon realised that true emancipation would be brought about educating women and
making them economically independent. Dr. Karve made it his life's mission to see that
women received education and there by laid the foundation stone to create history. And
what a magnificent history it has been!...and will continue to be so for future
"Today, the Samstha conducts educational activities for women
from the pre-primary level to graduation day, including a teacher's training course
leading to Bachelor's degree. In 1969, after founding the first Women's University in
India (Now known as S.N.D.T. University) Prof. Karve started schools in urban areas, in
order to have a steady flow of students to the university courses", declares a
visibly proud Ravindra Deshpande, Joint Secretary of the Institution.
Nirmala Gund, a past student of the institution found the entire
place to be a blessing in disguise. "I originally hail from Daund village. Back then
there was no school. My sister who works as a clerk in the institution suggested that I
join the Institution and complete my education. My accommodation problems were taken care
of too-thanks of the hostel facilities. But best of all, my fees and other expenses were
covered by the Samstha. Today, I am a commerce graduate, working towards my MSW- which I
am doing through the Institution," she says with a quiet smile.
Speaking of the hostels...the Karve Institution's hostels house 1200
girls. These facilities are offered at high school levels to girl students coming mainly
from the rural and backward areas. There are also students from the other states and from
remand homes or Juvenile court. Says Mrs. Charusheela Mohite, Assistant Lady
Superintendent of the Mahilashram Hostels, "We don't have facilities to take care of
young students i.e. from Std. 1 to Std. V. But exceptions are made in special cases with
regard to orphans, remand homes, etc. She further adds, "There are two types of
Boardings - A and B. The A type charges Rs.400 and the B type pay around Rs. 275. Most of
the B type boarders are girls who come from very poor homes, parents who cannot afford to
teach the girls, but yet desire a better future for them.. send them here."
Apart from this facility, the Samstha also offers other facilities
like sponsoring worthy, but poor students, by taking over the half the expense or waiving
them fully. "These cases are decided by a special team of social workers",
explains Mr. Ravindra Deshpande. "There is a unique donation generating schemed
called Bhau Beej, were past student and other volunteers collect donations to help
tide over the costs of various activies" adds Mrs. Padmaja Nalawade. "The
Institution depends on (financial) support from well wishers" chips in Dr.S.D.Bhide,
principal of Maharishi Karve Stree Shikshan Samshta's Cummins College of Engineering for
women. "In fact, the initial financial support of Rs. 1 crore came from the Cummins
Diesel (India) Foundation. And as a token of our appreciation, the Samstha named the
College," he adds.
Cummins College of Engineering happens to be the first engineering
college exclusively for women in India.
Dr. Bhide adds that "there are absolutely no 'donations'
demanded as it is a matter of policy. They offer three engineering degree courses in
Electronics and Telecommunications: Computer Engineering and lastly, Instrumentation and
Control. We also have a tie-up with Rose Human Institute of Technology in the U.S. of A
for our students and faculty members. The college also provides placement services to the
Karve Institute obviously has many first to its credit. As too in
the case of their Dr.Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for women, started two and
a half years ago, the very first of its kind in the country with complete with
'state-of-the-art educational equipment' for the students. The youngest principal in the
Institute Chain, Mr. Anuraag Kashyap who cannot stop talking about his dream project,
heads it. A practising architect, Mr. Kashyap firmly believes that there has to be a
change in the educational system. "Can you believe that these students have the same
syllabus, which I had when I was in College!" he asks with incredulous disbelief.
His is the only college that has introduced computers from the very
first semester of the curriculum. This is not included in the university syllabus.
Mr. Kashyap adds "We are trying for ISO...!", His college
is already equipped with the internet, they were on the e-mail till two years ago, the
most equipped computer studio in India, with 27 Pentium machines and so on.....So, the
9000 dream will probably be recognised in record time. Being the self effacing person, he
credits his college's success to the chairman of the college, Mr.Avinash Wardekar.
"He is our main source of support financially and otherwise!" he adds with a
The Maharishi Karve Stree Shiksthan Samstha has added another
feather, in it's already decorated cap! In the second week of January, it introduced the
first Business Management Courses for women in the country headed by Dr. Prathiba Joshi,
"It feels great to do something new! In the line with the Engineering College, we
intend to enhance the placement activities, increase the staff to deal with the rise in
the student population, introduce an entreprenuship development programme for women and
finally keep in touch with financial institutions, so that they can help our students in
their business ventures."