Shivajirao Girdhar Patil, senior Congress leader, freedom fighter and former Maharashtra Minister passed away at a private hospital in Mumbai on 22 July 2017. He was 92.
The father of late National Award winning actress Smita Patil, he began his social activism at an early age when he took part in the Indian independence movement. Patil like his daughter had always displayed a staunch commitment to social causes across sectors with unwavering resolve and contribution in the fields of education and agriculture through the cooperative sector.
He was married to Vidyatai Patil, a social worker, who passed away in March 2015 after 77 years of marriage. He is survived by two daughters, Anita Deshmukh and Manya Seth and actor grandson, Prateik Babbar, the son of Smita who had died during childbirth in December 1986.
About Shivajirao Giridhar Patil
• He served as an active politician since a very young age and had been associated with several political parties including CPI, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
• He began his career as a radical and a freedom fighter and was attracted to the Communist movement as a teenager.
• He became the president of CPI’s student wing, the All India Students Federation (AISF) in 1939, when he was just 15 years old.
• Through AISF, Patil took part in various activities aimed at destabilising the British rule in India, some among which were violent, leading to his arrest and imprisonment for 12 long years. He did not however, serve his sentence and broke out of jail.
• Post-Independence, he switched to Congress and served as the member of Maharashtra Legislative Council from 1960-67 and as a member of the state’s Legislative Assembly for three consecutive terms from 1967-80.
• He further served as a minister in the Maharashtra state cabinet led by late Congress chief ministers Vasantrao Naik, Shankarrao Chavan and Vasantdada Patil.
• As a state minister, Patil handled the portfolios of irrigation, power, protocol, co-operatives and legislative affairs.
• He also served as a member of the Rajya Sabha for one term from 1992 to 1998.
• In 1996, on the 10th death anniversary of his late daughter, he set up the ‘Smita Patil Charitable Trust’ that runs a public school in Dahiwad village of his native Dhule district imparting quality education to rural children.
• He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award by the Government of India for his immense contribution in public affairs in 2013.
The news of Patil’s death was condoled by several senior Congress leaders including party Vice-President Rahul Gandi and prominent leaders of other political parties. Current Chief Minister of Maharastra, Devendra Fadnavis also condoled Patil’s death, describing him “a stalwart of the cooperation movement” in the state.
Fadnavis stated that Patil had made a significant contribution to the Indian freedom struggle and post that, he played a major role in politics, social, cooperation movement and education fields. “His role in the development of the sugar cooperative sector brought international laurels,” said Fadnavis in his message.
Maharashtra Congress President and former CM, Ashok Chavan also expressed grief over Patil’s death and said that the masses have lost 'a committed' leader who had contributed immensely to the political, social, cooperation and education sectors.
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, who had worked closely with Patil previously, described him as a leader who “represented a generation, which was socially aware” and who showed absolute commitment to the Cooperative Movement and the democratic ideology.
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