About the Author
Dr. Suresh Padhye was born in his maternal grandfather’s ministerial bungalow in Nagpur at sunrise on the most auspicious day of Dushera (Vijayalaxmi) on October 7th 1935. He is the fifth of six children. His paternal grandmother Sitabai had the privilege of naming all her grandchildren. She lived in Raipur where her neighborhood had many Bengali families. They had a typical trait of naming the off springs in alliteration. For example the Bose brothers were Sarat Chandra, Satish Chandra, Suresh Chandra, Subhash Chandra and Sailesh Chandra. Owing to this influence, her grandchildren were named as Rameshchandra, Umeshchandra, Sureshchandra and sisters Chandrakala, Shahsikala, and Indukala and their cousins Sachitanand, Sadanand, Kishori & Madhuri.
EDUCATION: From Elementary School to Ph.D., Dr. Padhye completed his entire education in his hometown of Amravati. He topped in the college in B.A. and completed his masters in Geography with second place in the University. Instead of looking for a job, he accepted a three year State Government Research fellowship. For two years he moved on foot through four hundred villages in six districts in Maharashtra state collecting data. He worked very hard about eighteen hours a day with no break. He did everything from typing to cartography to photography. At the end of two years, he was quite frustrated due to lack of guidance and facilities. He corresponded with a world famous authority in Geography of the time, Sir Dudley Stamp of London. Sir Dudley kindly accepted to guide him and appointed Prof. Emeris Jones as his Supervisor at London School of Economics. Dr. Padhye paid his fees and booked a passage to London in 1962 on the ship S.S.Roma. Just two days prior to his departure, he went to see his Gurus in Mumbai, Dr. C.D.Deshpande, a world known authority from India in the field of Geography and then Joint Director of Education of Maharashtra and Principal of Parle College C.B. Joshi. With great foresight they persuaded him to cancel his passage to London and stay in India. They knew that if he went abroad, he would never return. Dr Padhye says, “They were absolutely visionary. I now realize the loss of my daughters who are both settled in the United States.”
JOB & RESEARCH: Immediately after canceling his trip to London, Dr.C.D.Deshpande selected him through the Public Service Commission and appointed as Lecturer in his very college in his hometown of Amravati. Thus Dr.Padhye became a lecturer at the Government College in Amravati on February 23rd 1963. He devoted himself to research work once again. He completed his thesis in 1963 and under the examinership of Prof Learmonth of Canberra, Australia, was awarded his Ph.D. in Geography. Dr. Padhye achieved the distinction of being the first indigenous Ph.D. in his subject in the State of Maharashtra and also of being the youngest ever at that time. He worked on various committees of the State Government, wrote nationalized Text Books for schools, published more than twenty five research papers in standard journals, helped various departments on research projects and served number of Universities. He eventually became the head of the Department of Geography and retired in 1995 as the Principal of the Government College of Vidarbha Mahavidyalaya in Amravati.
ABROAD: Dr.Padhye has participated and presented papers in International Geographical Congress at Paris (1984) and Sydney (1988). He has toured more than thirty countries accompanied by his wife and his close friends Dr. Shekhawat and Dr. Wadodkar.
STUDENT LIFE: Dr.Padhye was a very active student in many spheres. He was captain of the athletic team and colour holder of pole-vaults; he played tennis for thirty years. He was captain of the college Basket Ball team. He was also an all round gymnast who did well at Parallel Bars, Single Bar, Roman Rings, Vaulting Horse and Mallakhamb. He acted in plays and secured trophies in debates. He was well known for mimicry and earned his pocket money by giving magic shows publicly. He learnt palmistry from Chiro and Benham. He was a voracious reader. He was elected President of the Student’s Union and Geographical Society.
MEMORABLE SPEECHES: Dr. Padhye is known amongst his family and friends for his oratory skills. His first memorable speech was in the year of the Chinese aggression on India. He prepared by reading speeches of Subhash Chandra Bose in the book ‘On to Delhi’ (C) to know how he induced people to part with their wealth in SE Asia. He then rehearsed his own speeches with friend Prabhakar (Dr.Wadotkar) as his judge. When he delivered his speech on November 7th 1962 at his college, appealing for a defense fund, it became the talk of the town. The students donated about six hundred grams worth of gold. Another notable speech was delivered by him on the Indo-Pak war during the conflict. It was a demonstrative lecture based on running war news. Dr. Padhye spoke on the Bangladesh front and stopped with exhaustion after seven hours. The students and staff insisted he continue the talk on the Western front as well.
POLITICAL LEANINGS: In young days, Dr. Padhye had inclination towards politics. He was bid farewell by thousands of students when he left to join the Goa liberation front. He believed in Gen. Eisenhower’s advice and shunned political aspirations. The adage says ‘First educate, then agitate and then legislate’. In due course, Dr. Padhye became a Government Gazetted Officer and hence the question of being politically active did not arise. Most of his fellow students and contemporaries who pursued political yearnings have now achieved eminent positions in Indian politics.
MARRIAGE: Due to his constant trips to the Himalayas his family was worried that he will become a ‘Sanyasi’ (monk). But he eventually got married to Mrs. Shefali Padhye who was also a fellow lecturer in his college. She is now retired and dedicates her time to the welfare of Sharada Udyog Mandir which was started by her mother-in-law to provide employment to women in need. Dr. and Mrs. Padhye are blessed with three children and six grand children.