The Colossus That Was Bapurao Naik

(Arun Naik, Bapurao Naik’s elder son speaks at the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh kickstarting Bapurao Naik’s centenary year celebrations).


Today is 1st March 2019. My father Bapurao Shivram Naik was born on 29th February 1920. Next year will be his centenary year. And I wish to celebrate it. Not merely because Bapurao was my father. But because he was a notable man. I shall elaborate upon his many achievements, his research, his writings, and his multi-faceted personality.

I have chosen to approach Bapurao's lifetime achievements mainly through his writings. I shall dwell upon each major article, each major book, and each area of his research. But first, let's start at the beginning.

Bapurao Naik was born in a well-to-do middle class family in Vengurla, now in Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. The family was well-to-do, but merely so, and only for a very short period after Bapurao was born. His mother Laxmi passed away in 1925 when Bapurao was only five years old. He had two elder sisters, one younger sister, and one younger brother. My grandfather owned a tea shop. After he lost his wife, my grandfather also lost interest in life and in business. My father Bapurao studied at the Mission School in Vengurla and came to Mumbai for his matric examination at the age of sixteen in 1936.

He had passed all the exams in Vengurla: Drawing, Sanskrit. He passed the matriculation exam also with flying colours. But he had no money and could not easily pursue studies in college. He had to work - either in Vengurla serving tea to customers, or in Mumbai. He chose Mumbai.

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