MUMBAI: President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the year-long celebrations of the birth centenary of Maharashtra’s first Chief Minister Y.R. Chavan from the Gateway of India, on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion she enumerated the qualities of Mr Chavan as a politician, an able administrator and a keen observer of the country’s culture and society, “His multi-faceted personality made him a legendary leader of the urban and the rural masses. Even as a young child in High school he underwent 18 months in prison for hoisting the Indian flag on 26 January in Satara. He had an erudite personality and he was not just an able administrator but a wise man with an interest in almost all spheres of life.” She added that YR Chavan was an authority on various fields – be it social life, literature, arts, culture, and even media.
Ms Patil added that YR Chavan was a firm believer that political power was meant for the purpose of service of people, “He believed that agriculture, industry, education, Cooperative movement, irrigation, literature, languages and welfare, culture all are equally important part of national development and he took wise decision for their implementation.” The president in her speech also spoke of the responsibilities of the government,” The weak and deprived sections of the country must get a share getting a part in the development of the country. Welfare schemes must reach them for eradicating poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease and it is the responsibility of the government.”
Commemorating the contribution of the late Chavan, who became the country’s fifth deputy prime minister, Maharatra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that, “Y.R. Chavan held important portfolios in the central government before becoming the deputy prime minister between July 1979 and January 1980. He held important portfolios at the Centre like External Affairs, Home and Defence and his contribution in the field of co-operation, education, literature, rural development, agriculture, industrial development was immense. His vision for Maharashtra for the development envisaged the equal development of both the industrial and agricultural sectors across all the regions of the state.”
Marshall of the Indian Airforce, Arjan Singh was given the Yashwant Rai Chavan national award for his long and dedicated service to the country. While accepting the award the 95 year old spoke of the time when he worked with YR Chavan. “I had the good fortune of working with him in 1965 when he was the defence minister; he was a man of great courage and high morals.” Recalling the time when he worked under Y R Chavan, Marshall Singh said, “One day we learned that we were attacked heavily from Pakistan and we knew that unless we used air force we could not halt the attack and when we approached him he could not took less than a minute to take a decision and gave us a go ahead.” Marshall Singh returned the Rs 5 lakh that comes with the award requesting that it be used for a purpose more suited to YR Chavan’s vision.
From March 2012 to March 2013, which also marks Chavan’s birth centenary year, the Yashwant Rai Chavan Prasthan (Memorial) plans to hold a series of lectures and exhibitions in 12 districts across the state. The events will be conducted in collaboration with various Armed Forces formations.