Thousand Full Moon: Shri. Suresh Parshuram Ranade (81+)
Contributed by: Dr. Raghunath Boradkar (81+)
Shri Suresh Parshuram Ranade is an electrical engineer by profession and also a thorough bred Punekar. Ranades come from Kiwale, a small village near Pune. They still own an almost 200-year-old Ranade Wada and a temple there. Shri Suresh Ranade knows the history of the wada and the temple and also the past residents by heart and when one hears him telling the tales and the anecdotes along with the names and dates one gets the feeling of being in the presence of an Encyclopedia. Here he tells us about his student days during1949 to 1951 at the Ferguson College . He is a proud Fergusonian and ends his narration with a slogan Jai Ferguson!!
=0=It was generally assumed that boys from 'Contractor' Ranade family would for their education join Nu. Ma. Vi or S.P but not any other college. Of course there were exceptions. As per this unwritten rule I had my primary education in Nu Ma Vi. We were staying in Ravivar peth then and the school was very near. After primary I joined the same school for secondary from 1rst English standard. In 1943 vacation we shifted to Apte Road [Our present residence]. But there was no change of school. I appeared for S.S.C from Nu Ma Vi in 1949 and passed.
In June 1949 I decided to join Ferguson for science. For science Ferguson was the best. A new batch of about 120 students staying in the hostel and the vicinity of the college was formed and was named FY science 'F'. The routine was morning P.T. and then classes from 8 to 12 of Physics Chemistry Mathematics English and additional English and Biology and in the afternoon practicals lasting for one and a half to two and a half hours in different laboratories. Walking in the Ferguson college campus was an enchanting experience.
There was a sort of a bell, a hanging three feet square piece of iron on which a uniformed employee of Ferguson used to strike with a huge hammer. The number of strokes indicated the time. The students in the hostel could know the time by the strokes at night. It was so loud that I could hear the bell at my Apte road home. This bell was also used for the starting of the classes and the time to enter. Since I heard the bell at home I used to start when the first bell rang on my bicycle and reach before the second bell rang keep the bicycle on the stand and get in the class by the back entrance and sit on a back bench. But this happened occasionally.
While in NuMaVi I participated in the Laxmibai Ranade elocution competition and other inter school debating competitions and got prizes. The renowned professor Pu Ga Sahastrabuddhe used to guide and train me. He was a professor in SP College. Now that I was in Ferguson I was doubtful if he would guide me. Ferguson had a Gymkhana committee and also had a Debating Department. An elected student representative and two professors who used to act as a Guide. Shri V.D. Mhaiskar and Shri G.P. Pradhan were the guiding professors[ Shri Mhaiskar is now settled in London in law practice] . Both these professors agreed that I should get guidance from Professor Pu Ga Sahastrabuddhe. I was keen on participating in inter collegiate debating competitions. I knew Professor Pradhan had some association with Sevadal.
An inter collegiate Debating competition was organized in September 1949 at Belgaon. Ferguson decided to send two students for the competition and I was selected and the other one was H.R. Patankar [IAS Retired as chief secretary of Gujrat.] The subject was' The medium of instruction English or Mother tongue'. We were to speak for and against. I was a science student and Patankar was doing Arts [ B.A.] I was positively in favor of English medium. English I felt was the world language. And there was no parallel scientific terminology in local languages. Late Vishnushastri Chiplunkar had described English as 'Milk of a Tigress'. After 1947 many British soldiers and citizens while going back to Britain had sold their books to old book shops. My father was fond of collecting such books so he used to visit the old book shops and purchase them. He also insisted on our reading them. So I had read Shakespeare and also Sherlock Holmes. In FY Science Professor Kamat used to teach us English. He taught us Master of Ballantrae by R.L. Stevenson and I liked it very much. Actually I wanted to be a professor of English then. In short I was terribly influenced by English and thought this competition as a good chance of emphatically expressing myself. Shri Dange from Dhule, Professor Haribhau Tulpule from SP and Shri Khare from K K and Co guided us. We won the Gogate Shield at the competition for Ferguson College but hardly anyone showed any appreciation in the college. But my two cousins both girls doing their FY and my brother’s wife all in Ferguson appreciated my efforts. Because of them used to behave in a very gentlemanly way. Ranades valued education. My mother who had to stop her education due to marriage in 1930. Went to school and passed matriculation examination in 1947 when she was 31 years old. We were together she for FY Arts and I was for FY Science.
But the real genuine appreciation and some popularity came my way in 1950-51 when I was elected as a Debating secretary of the Ferguson College Gymkhana committee.
Principal D.D. Karve used to come to the college on his motorcycle with a sidecar exactly at the stroke of 10:30. He valued discipline greatly and that was right.
Eight colleges in Pune came together and formed a Joint Inter Collegiate Debating Society. [ These colleges were Ferguson, Law , BMCC, SP College, Wadia, Tilak College of Education, and College of Agriculture and SNDT. I was made the secretary of the society. Late Suresh Hattangadi was the chief. The vice chancellor of Pune university Hon. Dr. Jaykar was the President. The program was to organize a lecture of some renowned person every month which was to be open to all university students. Principal Dr. Karve reluctantly gave his permission. The inauguration was done by Sadhu Vasvani. Comrade Shri S. A. Dange delivered the second lecture. He was an excellent orator. The third lecture was to be delivered by Late Kakasaheb Gadgil [August 50]. He was a central minister then. Unfortunately, on the previous day students at Gwalher were fired upon. The students of ILS Law did not allow him to talk. He had to leave halfway. That was the end of Intercollegiate debating Union. But it taught us some lessons.
For Ferguson we, myself and Rajendra Baviskar, won the Gokhale Cup. This time also we were guided by Professor Pu. Ga. Sahastrabuddhe. The subject was 'In the power struggle between Russia and America, India should join America' Professor G.P. Pradhan was a socialist and did not seem to be keen on guiding me as I was to speak for the resolution. Professor Pu. Ga. Sahastrabudde had also guided SP's Sarojini Kulkarni. She later became Professor of Marathi [ Sarojini Vaidya].
Later in my life I learnt how important it was to have represented Ferguson College. Being a Fergusonian is being excellent! Rightful love and pride for the institution is essential as the college has shaped not only the past generations but is still shaping the personalities of the coming generations and will continue to do so for the times to come.
My grandson studying English and mathematics in 11th standard in the Ferguson College.
Suresh Parshuram Ranade B.E.[electrical] D I M Profession Electrical Engineer, Energy Auditor, Management consultant, Education center organizer