Among those who had been instrumental in the formation of early group in Pune, two were from Hyderabad. The first one who came to Pune was Sadashivrao Gaikwad who was working in military engineering service. He was transferred to Pune. Following him came Mr. Ramchandra Gaikwad who had secured a job in military dairy farm. Both these Gaikwads were closely associated with each other and they both got living accommodation in same premises at 410, Rasta Peth. Sadashivrao had acquaintance with Bundellu family even before moving to Pune and so he started visiting Bundellu family in Pune. Ramchandrao was a singer and was very fond of participating in satsang programs. He along with Sadhashivrao started attending bhajan programs which were held at various places in Pune. Ramchandrarao used to sing bhajans of Kabir, Meera and Brahmanand. He had sonorous high pitch voice and any passerby would invariably stop for a while to hear him singing. He sang Hindi songs and was accompanied on dholak by one Mr. Sadhuramji More who was related to Sadashivrao. All these families of Thade, Bundelllu and Gaikwads used to visit saintly person by name Mali Baba. Mali Baba was a hefty person often found sitting on a small varandah in front of his house. It is said that he was fond of drinking liquor and would also have a spitting pot near him. He had his own following and would guide and help people in their difficulties and domestic problems. It seems he had spiritual connection with Meher Baba and had some role to play in Meher Baba’s Avataric mission. The reason for such an observation is that some of the early Baba lovers of Pune at some point of time, had come in Mali Baba’s contact. In that sense, Mali Baba had become a channel to connect many people with Meher Baba. It is also said that Mali Baba used to refer Baba lovers as “mothya gharchi mandali“, meaning people of elite families. Once, Ramchandra Gadekar fell down from a tonga and had his leg badly injured. LB Thade was staying nearby so Thade took Gadekar to his place for rest and first-aid. Co-incidentally, Mali Baba visited the place at the same time and looking at Ramchandra Gadekar’s swollen leg, made a remark, “Dukkha konache ani bhog kunala”, meaning “for someone’s sorrow, someone else suffers”. Saying this, he departed and swelling on Gadekar’s foot started subsiding. I remember one more incidence that DS Bhawsar, a staunch Baba lover and worker, had narrated to me. Once, at Guruprasad, Bhawsar was telling something to Baba and Baba was listening attentively. During the course of conversation, Malibaba’s name was mentioned by Bhawsar. Bhawsar remembered that on the reference of Malibaba’s name, Baba with a serious expression on his face, folded his hands in salutation, and touched his forehead and said in adoration, “Mali Babana majhe sashtang namskar“, meaning ‘my humble salutations to Mali Baba’. Mali Baba’s small room was central place where Subhadra Bundellu, Ramchandra Gaikwad and some others would sing devotional songs. On some occasions, even Madhusudan and Namdeorao Solapure, another member of the Pune Centre’s bhajan group, sang in a gathering before Mali Baba.

Let us reconnect with our story of Baba activity at Pune. Ramchandrarao and Sadashivrao after finishing dinner used to visit a nearby Paan shop. A young and handsome boy also used to come to this shop for having paan. This youth had a distinctive touch to his hair-style and his mannerism and style of talking was like a cinema hero. Although he was Brahmin, his Urdu speaking and pronunciation was fluent and correct. Ramchandrarao and Sadhashivrao both were from Hyderabad i.e. state of Nizam where Urdu was a colloquial language. These three enjoyed each other’s company as they shared many common interests. This young lad was no other but Madhusudhan who later was to make matchless contribution to the formation and functioning of Pune group. In his last days, Madhusudhan did mention to me that Ramchandrao had played a major role in influencing him to join Baba group in those early days of its formation. Madhusudan had a natural and inborn talent for music which he utilized in the functioning of the group.

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