Monday, August 31, 2020

Krishna Arjun Keluskar


                    Krishna Arjun Keluskar   (20th august 1860------unknown),

                      A great benefactor of Baba Sabib Dr.B.R.Ambedkar

                                                                         By : Er.H.R. Phonsa

 A good hearted teacher and Marathi writer Krishna Arjun Keluskar was born on 20 August 1860 in Marashtra  in British India.  He was born in Kelus village of Vegurala. According to Census 2011 information the location code or village code of Kelus village is 566647. Kelus village is located in Vengurla Tehsil of Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra, India. It is situated 24km away from sub-district headquarter Vengurla and 33km away from district headquarter. Kelus village is also a gram panchayat. Keluskar was  a prime  Shivcharitkar in Marathi.

Subedar Ramji Sakhpal ,Bhimrao Ambedkar ’s father moved to Bombay (now Mumbai)  in 1904. Ramji got on rent accommodation in Dabak Chawl at lower Parel,  a labour area. Bhimrao was admitted in Maratha  High School and later to the Elphinstone High School. The house surroundings were not conducive for peaceful living and education of children.  So to continue his studies Bhimrao Ambedkar  used to go to Charni Road Garden (now S.K. Patil Udyan) to study. Bhimrao Ambedkar  used to  read under a street light pole in the garden as the house lady had warned them to put off light early. Krishnaji Arjun Keluskar, the Brahmin Headmaster ( D.Keer writes Assistant teacher) of Wilson High School, who used to frequent the same garden, noticed the studious boy. Keluskar asked from Bhimrao Ambedkar , his family and circumstances why he reads in the garden for long time.  Bhimrao Ambedkar told him all his difficulties. For these pleasant conversations Keluskar used to sit with Bhimrao Ambedkar. Both had pleasant talks and Kerluskar promised all help in his studies to Bhimrao Ambedkar. He carried his promise ,by giving reading material and all other possible helps to Bhimrao Ambedkar .

      When Bhimrao Ambedkar  explained his difficulties and his desire to get higher education, Keluskar could judge the supper qualities  in  Bhimrao Ambedkar  and  wished him bright future . Keluskar ji , promised Bhimrao Ambedkar  all helps in his studies. When Bhimrao  Ambedkar passed his Matriculation in 1907 so earned the distinction of being first Mahar, to pass such examination.  This occasion was celebrated by his community and a function was arranged which was attended by good hearted teacher Krishana Ji Keluskar and S.K. Bole, both Brahmins by caste. S.K.Bole a great socialist reformer of Maharashtra presided over the function. Both spoke of high head and heart qualities in Ambedkar, and wished him all success. Krishana  Arjun  Keluskar , a famous  Marathi writer gave his book” Life Of Gautam Buddhato Bhimrao Ambedkar  . Bhimrao Ambedkar read this book which  brought turning point in his life. The seed of Buddhism sown by this book spouted in 1935 when Baba Dahib declared to leave Hinduism and it bore fruits on 14th October 1956 when Baba Sahib embraced Buddhism with his lacs of followers and succeeded to bring back Buddha to His land of birth India, after 20 centuries. 

S .K. Bole a social reformer moved a resolution in the Bombay Legislative Council on 4thAugust, 1923 and the same was adopted in the House. The resolution stated that "The untouchable classes be allowed to use all public water places and Dharamshalas which were built and maintained out of public funds or administered by the bodies appointed by the Government or created by statue, as well as public schools, courts, offices and dispensaries." The Bombay Government accordingly issued directive instructions for its implementation on 11th September, 1923. But this order remained buried in the files with no practical follow up initiative by the Government or social organizations. 

Ramji Sakhpal was facing financial hardships to bear education expenses of his son  Bhimrao Ambedkar . At time he borrowed money from his married daughters to defray the charges of purchasing books for Bhim.  Here again Keluskar ji came to his rescue. As Kerluskar had gained nearness to Maharaj Baroda Siyaji Gaikward –III due to writing  a Book Chhatarpati Shiva Ji Maharaj. For which Maharaja had helped him financially. He arranged an interview of Bhimrao Ambedkar with Maharaja at Maharaja Palace Malabar Hills Bombay. On the appointed day and time Bhimrao Ambedkar could not reach the palace. But in the evening when Maharaja was moving out , he saw Bhimrao Ambedkar standing at his palace gate .The watchman had not allow Bhimrao to enter gate despite the fact he had an interview pass. Maharaja called Bhimrao Ambedkar in, put him some questions and on getting satisfactory answers, sanctioned a monthly scholarship of rupees twenty five .

Ramji Sakhpal passed away on 2nd February 1913 leaving his son to face the world alone. Ambedkar was keeping in his mind the desire of higher education as per wishes of his father. To Ambedkar higher studies was the only way he could  cut the age old slavery chains of his untouchable Samaj. He had also faced , these precarious condition being faced of his Samaj, so was desirous to cut their roots. He again met his old well wisher keluskar, who advised him to meet the Maharaja Baroda.   He also told to  Ambedkar the Town Hall Bombay announcement of  Maharaja  to extend  help to  meritorious untouchable  students to peruse  studies in foreign  universities. Mean while Baroda State had invited applications for sanction of 4 scholarships for studies in Columbia University New York, U.S.A.  Bhimrao Ambedkar   was  on look out of such opportunities. Ambedkar met the Maharaja and expressed his wish for help for higher studies. Maharaja advised Ambedkar to put up his application to the Baroda State for foreign scholarship for higher studies. Ambedkar put up an application and his request was accepted . Bhimrao Ambedkar was asked to sign an agreement on June 4, 1913 to serve the Baroda State for 10 years after completion of his foreign studies and he signed the agreement. Ambedkar prepared for going abroad for higher studies.

 He reached New York in the third week of Julu, 1913. After his studies at Columbia and London he return to India on August 21, 1917. Reason to return to India leaving his studies incomplete, was  that his scholarship term was not extended by the Dewan Of Baroda State.

As per agreement Dr. Ambedkar had to serve the State of Baroda for 10 years. On reaching Baroda Ambedkar was treated very badly  , he got no accommodation to live and his office high caste staff including peons treated the highly read Doctor with contempt.  Ambedkar returned to Bombay. When this came in notice of Keluskar, he approached Maharaja Baroda and informed him all about it. Even Maharaja did not reply to Keluskar. But professor at Baroda was very well known to Keluskar. Keluskar asked him to help Ambedkar and he agreed to keep Ambedkar as paying guest.On these assurances Ambedkar returned to Baroda. On  reaching Baroda railway Station  Ambedkar received a  note from the  professor through his  man ,saying ,his orthodox  wife was not agreeing  to the proposal of Ambedkar, an touchable, staying at their house. Ambedkar again returned to Bombay second time. His step mother was serious and she passed away.

 As per available records Krishana Arjun Keluskar wrote life story book “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Charitra.” and the first Marathi edition of this  book having 600 pages was brought out in 1907. Shahu Ji Maharaj financially helped the author. The Maharaja of Baroda Siyaji Giakward honored Keluskar with “ Ragal Of Baroda State” award. The book was later published in Hindi and Gujrati.  The author continued collecting more material for the book and second edition with added material was also published by the Entertainer press by K.R. Mitr.  This was done on the promise to purchase books by  The Shri Shivaji Literary Memorial Committee” formed by  some leading members of different Hindu Communities in Bombay. But this committee could only  collect rupees  thousands so the author  For publishing the two editions Keluskar was caught in debt trap of Rupees 24000/-.  The committee approached  the Chief of Indore State Sawai Shri Tukojirao III Holkar hor financial help. Sawai Shri Tukojirao III Holkar agreed to extend help to pay off the debt. So the  purchase of 4000 copies of English version of this book was finalised  for denoting to all World Libraries( Refer Committee letter 15th September 1925 from Keluskar  address. Address — C/o K. A. Keluskar, Dadar, Bombay, India)  . This also confirms that at least till September 1925 Keluskar was alive. BAMCEF a Dalit organization have brought out 4 editions of this book between 1991-2010. This explains the importance of the book and wisdom, labor  of the learned author. Beside these above mentioned books, Keluskar also  wrote in Marathi  Adhyamic( Spiritual) Gayanratnavali (1894), Old History of France and Character of Tukaram Maharaj .

 Dr.B.R. Bhimrao  Ambedkar engaged himself in multifarious duties in India. Mean while a post of Principal of Sydenham College Bombay fell vacant. Ambedkar had all qualifications to be appointed, he applied.  Keluskar met Dr. R. P. Paranjpye, the  Member for Education, at Mahabaleshwaram and  recommended Ambedka’s name for the post. However Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was not appointed despite all his super education qualification records. Instead Dr. R. P. Paranjpye offered post of Principal of Elphinstone College Bombay but Dr. Ambedkar refused the offer.

Dr Ambedkar was in London in 1933 he came to know that his benefactor Keluskar was then, an old man needed help. The great full Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had not forgotten the  sympathies of  Keluskar, wrote a petition to Maharaja Baroda through his Dewan and appealed the  Maharaja to grant monthly pension to to ease his life in old age. This way both Dr. Ambedkar and Keluskar  stood by each other rendered  helped when ever any one was in need.  Not only these both persons has gone down in history but shall be remembered for their generosity.

 Words 1628

Dated 31-8-2020                                                       Er.H.R.Phonsa



Source Material.  


2.       Dr. B.R.Ambedkar,The Messiah Of the Down trodden By Janak Singh.

3.       Dr.Ambedkar: Life and Mission by Dhananjay Keer

4.      DR. AMBEDKAR AND BRAHMINS by  Justice R.A. Jahagirdar (Retd)

5.       Dr.Ambedkar and his Associates By; Er.H.R.Phonsa.


  1. Sir, S.K Bole and Krishna Arjun Keluskar none of these two social reformers were Brahmin.
    S.K Bole was from the Bhandari community and Keluskar Ji was from the Maratha caste..
    Source- Gail Omvedt's book ' Cultural Revolution in Colonial Society: Non-Brahmin Movement in western India: 1870-1930.'

    1. Apart from this book, Gail Omedt another book- 1. Buddhism in India and 2. Dalit and Democratic rights in India mentioned the Keluskar caste as Non-Brahmin Maratha.
      The biography of Shiva Ji Maharaj written by Keluskar is available on the website of the Maharashtra government. In its Introductory Preface keluskar caste is mentioned as non-Brahmin Maratha

    2. in this article by Gail Omvedt, Keluskar caste is mentioned as Maratha and Bole caste as Bhandari


      Marathi book published on website of Maharashtra Government in which keluskar caste is mentioned as Maratha.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    S.K Bole was Bhandari

  4. Krishna Arjun Keluskar was from the Maratha caste and S.K Bole was from the Bhandari caste.