Thursday 25 July 2024

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Purushottam; but not Uttam Purush


Purushottam means the best among men. But according to his widow Kamala, Purushottam Kakodkar was anything but the best. For Goenkars of all hues and views, Kamala’s dismissal of her late husband in such derogatory terms comes as a shocker.

Purushottam alias Bhau Kakodkar

"Purushottam, but not Uttam Purush". This is how Kamala Kakodkar describes her husband Purushottam Kakodkar in her autobiography aptly named "Ek Dhaga Sutacha" (A strand of cotton).

Purushottam means the best among men. But according to his widow Kamala, Purushottam was anything but the best. For Goenkars of all hues and views, Kamala's dismissal of her late husband in such derogatory terms comes as a shocker.

Purushottam, or Pursobab as he was known among his peers and even as Bhau among many more, was a contemporary of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya. He was sentenced by the Portuguese for a long prison term for his participation with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya in the Civil Disobedient Movement launched by the latter on the 6th of June 1946 at Margao, Goa. Mr Kakodkar was deported to Portugal to serve the prison term.

Mr Kakodkar had also lived in the Sevagram Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi at Wardha near Nagpur.. It was at Wardha that Purushottam and Kamala were married and had a son named Anil.

Dr Anil Kakodkar

Yes. The very same Anil Kakodakar of Pokharan fame where, according to Atal Bihari Vajpayee the "Buddha" had "smiled" and India had detonated her atom bombs in an attempt to prove to the World that India had arrived on the atomic bomb scene and to lay a claim to the title of one of the World's super powers only to be mocked at by arrogant Pakistan by detonating her own Bombs.

And yes, the same Anil Kakodkar, one of India's great physicists, who has been decorated with the Titles of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan as well  and with innumerable doctorates, awards and recognitions from Universities, Institutions and Governments.

Yes, the same Anil who prefers to be known as Anil Kakodkar and not Anil Purushottam Kakodkar as is the practice among Goans and Maharastrians.

What made Kamala and Anil discard the name of Purushottam from their identities?

The autobiography reveals the story in no uncertain terms. After their marriage and birth of Anil, Purushottam came to Goa. He participated in the Freedom Movement of Goa, when it was launched by Dr. Ram Manohr Lohiya. He was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment and deported to Portugal..He was released from jail after Goa attained freedom on 19th December 1961.

Purushottam became a hero and came in close contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the era. He stayed with his wife Kamala and son Anil for a while. They had another child, a daughter.

But soon Purushottam deserted them all. Kamala was devastated. Purushottam went on to become Member of Parliament, first as a member of the Lok Sabha from Goa and later as nominated Member of the Rajya Sabha.

He lived in full public glare and reaped all benefits as a freedom fighter as well as MP. But he refused to support his family.

Kamala even filed a petition for maintenance in a Court in Mumbai and was awarded a monthly allowance from the income of Purushottam. But he never complied with the Court order. Kamala saw the futility of prosecuting the case further and gave up the fight...

Purushottam tried to throw Kamala and her minor children from their Mumbai house allotted to Purushottam by the Government of Maharashtra, but were saved by Madhukarrao Chowdhary, a Minister in the Maharastra Governmednt.

Kamala worked in the Women's hostel (Mahila Ashram), as a Montessori teacher, a clerk in the Khadi Bhavan and performed odd jobs to sustain the family.

She gave the best of education to Anil and his sister at great sacrifice. There were times when Kamala had to rush to Mumbai to save her dwelling house within days of her delivery and also to accompany little Anil to Khargon, a village in Madhya Pradesh, so that he would not miss his classes.

The autobiography is a sordid tale of a "patriot' who abdicated his conjugal and filial duties and of a valiant mother who groomed her son in the best traditions of a patriot to become one of India's greatest Scientists.

Mother Kamala, this Country owes you her gratitude for giving her ANIL, a real Uttam Purush.

"Ek Dhaga Sutacha" by Kamala Kakodkar 

Details of Book

"Ek Dhaga Sutacha", by Kamala Kakodkar

Published by Manovikas Prakashan

Price: Rs 150/-

Local Supplier: Mahesh Angle


Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Lot many things heard about Bhau for not being an "Uttam Purush". His family suffered badly, no doubt about it. But my storng belief is that one should get a chance to defend himself. I admire Kamala Kakodkar's sacrifice and hard life she lived, but I would say, it would have been more appropriate if she had written this book when Bhau was alive. I have same opinion about "Nach Ga Ghuma" by Madhavi Desai.

Chetan |


India did not detonate nuclear bombs in Pokhran to show any one that it is a super power. it is called weapon testing. Where from did you get that superpower myth? Or it is your usual long shot without a reason or rhyme.

BTW, good to see you write book reviews. Please keep them coming.

Jagan |

I think every human being has some or other shortcoming. Some ot them are known to a common man and the others never come out. But when somebody fights elections, the opposition always tries to bring out the shortcomings of the candidates, and Bhau had twice won the elections. Many things are said about Nehryu and Lady Mountbaton too! But one thing remains that Bhau did suffer for the freedom of Goa,and his sacrifice will always be remembered and respected.

Vishwas Prabhudesai |

That tells you. Appearences are deceptive..

Nobody in Goa would believe this HYDE side of BHAU. I am glad that the truth has been told. I also doubt he was 'close' to Nehru..

Shivanand Gaitonde |

Blogger's Profile


Ramakant Khalap

Adv Ramakant Khalap is former Chairman of the Goa State Law Commission. Being a veteran politician of Goa, he has served the political arena as the union law minister as well as Goa’s deputy chief minister and the opposition leader in the past. He also takes keen interest in literature and cultural activities while heading several institutions, especially in the field of Marathi literature.


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