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Rev. Dr. Bhaskar Pandurang Hivale

BPHE Society

Rev. Dr. Bhaskar Pandurang Hivale, is most respected educational maharshi of the pioneering era. At the dawn of our country's independence the visionary founder of Ahmednagar College, the late Dr. B.P. Hivale, with unconditional support of his wife, Ruthbai, started on the difficult task of starting a college

Dr. Hivale was born on 22nd January 1889 in Sholapur in Western India, then during the British Raj a part of Bombay Presidency, and in what is now the State of Maharashtra. He lost his parents at a very early age of fourteen to epidemics of small pox & plague. He had to shoulder the responsibility of his six younger siblings. Bhaskar completed matriculation and took up small jobs to finance his college education first at Fergusson College, Poona and later at Wilson College, Bombay. Choosing Philosophy as his major, he graduated from Bombay University. Rev. Edward Fairbanks of American Marathi Mission sent Bhasker to Boston in the Andover Theological Seminary in Boston for Bachelor of Divinity. After seven to eight months in India Bhaskar went back to America. The Dean of Andover D.J.W. Planter had promised Bhaskar about arrangements for a three years' scholarship for him for M.A. and Ph.D. In June 1928 Rev.Hivale was awarded Ph. D. He was b Dr. Hivale who was then a Ph. D from Harvard and an eminent Professor of Philosophy at Wilson College, Bombay, est

An Ajmer incident, which was deep rooted in Dr, Hivales mind changed his outlook towards education in rural India. The delegation from Maharashtra, attending a conference of the United Church of Northern India at Ajmer in 1945, felt deeply ashamed when at various discussion sessions everyone took a lively part, they being the exception because none of them knew English. That night, the group made a desperate appeal to Dr. Hivale to start a college where their children would be able to become graduates, and never have to face that kind of humiliation. Dr. Hivale founded College in the drought-prone area, famine stricken town of Ahmednagar, he was scoffed at by many, including his own well- wishers. The reason was that in 1887 there was a college started by the Reverend James Smith, and it had closed due to certain circumstances. It was sixty years later that Dr. Hivale decided to start his college on the same site where Rev. Smith's college had been located. He founded Ahmednagar College, ignoring the mockers' derision, on 29th June 1947 with the support and co-operation of the American Marathi Mission, Bombay, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission, Boston, Massachusetts, Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the late Mr. William H. Danforth of St. Louis, Missouri and a number of other individual friends and groups.

Dr. Hivale's determination to found a new college was perhaps strengthened by a challenging book by William H. Danforth entitled I Dare You, a book which Dr. Hivale has translated into Marathi. The title of this book had been taken by the college as one of its motto. He was a great dreamer of possibilities, a brave challenger of adversities and a man of integrity. He was guided by certain principles and the mottes of his college reflect his concern for ideals. The mottoes are: "Not things but men", "I Dare you " and "Ye shall know the truth". Dr. Hivale had faith in the inherent powers of people, the value of moral daring and the supreme accessibility of truth. The adventurer in Dr. Hivale was never afraid to face the obstacle in his way. The long-term challenge before Dr. Hivale was to fulfill two major aims and the purposes according to him were-

  • To provide higher education for students who, for various reasons, would not otherwise be able to have it.
  • To constantly strive for academic excellence, never being satisfied with the minimum permissible achievements, but always being concerned with ways to make learning an exciting, adventurous way of life for the students.

Dr. Hivale very well knew the value of quality education. He also believed that education of good standard could be provided even to a bewildered group of rural folks. He brought well-qualified staff from different parts and institutions of the country. He made arrangements for free food or food at subsidized rates and by providing decent hostel accommodation on the campus. Thus, the founder lessened their hardship. For quite a large number of students who had to struggle with hunger and poverty. Those who laughed at Dr. Hivale's idea of starting a college in Ahmednagar were wonder-struck by his success. He retired in March 1951 and continued to raise funds for the college and to provide guidance and inspiration to everyone associated with the institution until his death in 1961.