Padma Shri Karmaveer Kakasaheb Wagh (Father)

Karmaveer Kakasaheb Wagh accepting the Padma Shri award

Kakasaheb alias Deoram Wagh was born on 26th October 1898 into a respectable agricultural family of Bajabai and Sayaji Wagh in Ranwad Village of Nashik District. His education in Nashik during his formative years was cut short by the infamous epidemic (1914–15), which wreaked havoc on the region and forced young Deoram to return to his village in Ranwad. Although his homecoming hindered his study, it was actually a blessing in disguise. It planted the seeds of social work that would flourish and form a large portion of his life's work in the years to come.

Young Kakasaheb was inspired to engage in the field of education for the masses—the "Bahujan," who had been primarily denied the privilege by the socio-cultural and economic systems of the time.

He pioneered the establishment of Maratha Vidya Prasarak Samaj and other educational institutions in and around Nashik, motivated by progressive figures such as Rajashri Shahu Maharaj, Sayajirao Gaikwad Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde, Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil, and Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh.

Kakasaheb’s role in working for the upliftment of the downtrodden and marginalized communities was notable through his battle and support against the unjust land ceiling act known as ‘Kulkayda’ and the ‘Jungle Satyagraha’ – a movement for the emancipation of the tribal communities. He fought for the ‘Sanyukta Maharashtra Movement’ and was instrumental in the construction of the ‘Gangapur dam’ in Nashik as well as many co-operative sugar mills throughout the region. From 1961 to 1971, he served two consecutive terms as Chairman of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Sugar Factories Federation Ltd. His keen interest to serve people got him to enter politics as an MLA and once there, he continued to construct educational facilities with a concentration on women's education.

Because of his tireless work for the oppressed, underprivileged and marginalized communities, he was awarded ‘PADMA SHRI’, a coveted award by Govt. of India on 26 th January 1970.

Kakasaheb was an avid traveller and visited the length and the breadth of India before he breathed his last on 22 nd July 1973. The legacy of Kakasaheb Wagh is still present today. After his passing, Karmaveer Kakasaheb Wagh Co-op Sugar plant ltd., Niphad was given his name by Ranwad Co-op Sugar factory. Numerous organizations in the sectors of education, cooperation, and social welfare bear his name. Kakasaheb’s name and legacy continues to thrive through the K. K. Wagh Education Society in Nashik.