Memories of August 15, 1947 by Arvind Kolhatkar


Arvind Kolhatkar spent his childhood in Satara, and later studied at Fergusson College, Pune and the University of Pune. After getting his MA in Mathematics, he joined the Indian Revenue Service, served in the Income Tax Department for about 30 years, rose to the rank of Commissioner, and retired voluntarily. He was an Executive Director of the Bombay Stock Exchange for 3 years. He and his wife Aruna currently live in Toronto.His email address is

I have a vivid memory of August 15, 1947, even though I was only four years old!

At that time, we lived in Satara, Maharashtra. I attended a Montessori school, which was located in the backyard of the local girls' high school called Kanyashala.

Our school had organized a celebration, in which a small tricolour Indian flag was hoisted. More importantly, the school had prepared sooji halwa, a sweet dish traditionally eaten at celebrations. In my excitement, I was jumping around, and tripped on a wooden box. My knee got a scratch, and I started crying. My Bindu aatya (aunt, my father's youngest sister) was a Matriculation (Class XI) student in Kanyashala. My teacher called in Bindu aatya, who took me home. They remembered to give me a tin medal of the tricolour and my share of the sooji halwa!

My aunt is still around in Mumbai and remembers this and many similar incidents. It was my habit to drop into her class whenever I felt like it, and loudly call out for Bindu aatya. This had become a standing joke for her friends and an embarrassment for her. Things were much more informal then in our small corner of the world!

© Arvind Kolhatkar 2009


nice exoerience to share

Shri Kolhatkar, I am touched by the story that you have described. And I am happy that with all these struggles, you have been successful in your life. Quite commandeble. My heart goes out to those brahmins who suffered during those time. How about those who suffered and are still suffering for milleniums due to the caste boundray and religious dominance of those who were elite and by those who devised scriptural, social, and religious system to marginalize those who were born in a different group ? They are oppressed forever and there seems to be no end in sight. Certainly, there may be some progress due to government intervention but has this changed the attitude of millions who have superiority complex being born in a higher caste ?! (Youtube clip a video that may evoke the feelings of unease. It requires guts to see the entire video. I am also born in a upper class and I can tell that such barbaric treatment continues to this day. Let's not forget that being born as brahmin poor or destitute, still provides a self confidence instilled due to ancesteral customs and enables the individual to reach his or her full potential. While for a low cast people no matter what - they are still considered inferior regardless whether they have talent or smarts and intellect. No matter how hard they work it is discounted as their karmas. How sad !! Please check out some of the youtube videos they are eye-openers and makes one think in this day and age. Something to think about. Can check out you tube for such information. Hope you will take it in a good spirit. Regards.

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