Colony, the autobiography of Siddharth Pardhe has won this year’s Keshavrao Kothavale Award. This autobiography is unusual in more ways than one.
Laxmanrao Bhagaji Pardhe, the author’s father worked as a labourer when Sahitya Sahawas was being build. Sahitya Sahawas is a colony of ‘Who’s Who’ in Marathi literature. It was built in 1970 when the Government of Maharashtra allotted a plot of land to build this colony.
Balasaheb Thackeray stays there, and Sachin Tendulkar grew up there playing cricket and reportedly breaking window panes with his shots. [Prof Ramesh Tendulkar, Sachin’s father stayed there.] Laxmanrao Pardhe did odd jobs, initially helping build the colony as a labourer and then as a plumber, carpenter and watchman. He built a small hut for himself on the outskirts of the colony. His wife, the author’s mother worked as a maid at many residents’ place. Siddharth grew up in the colony spending his time under the stairs, finding a place for studying on the terrace of the colony’s building and returning to his hut for a good night’s sleep. The families in the colony influenced, encouraged Siddharth, some of them inspired him. Siddharth, the author, completed his graduation, found a job for himself in Life Insurance Corporation of India and is an officer of MIG Club [where, incidentally, Sachin goes to practice his game].
Siddharth was encouraged to write his life story by some of them, and Dr. YD Phadke, who was a great researcher and author of several books, edited and revised the first chapter of his autobiography. Sachin attended the publication ceremony of this book.
This is the story of a person who is both, ambitious and sensitive; and who is mentored by some great minds in Marathi literature. It is also the story of the struggle of a person to rise above social barrier. For me, such stories provide inspiration.
Sachin and Siddharth, both born and brought up at the same place, in different families with vastly different educational, financial and social backgrounds. Both are high achievers, and both have managed to cross barriers in their own ways. Both inspire me. One significant difference is one is always in limelight and the other hidden from the world.
Read Siddharth Pardhe’s interview [Link]