Baba Adhav

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Baba Adhav
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Born1 June 1930
Pune, Maharastra
  • Social activist
  • Trade unionist

Dr. Babasaheb Pandurang Adhav (born 1 June 1930, Pune, Maharastra, India) also known as Baba Adhav is an Indian social activist and trade unionist known for his work in creating social reforms for unorganized and underprivileged daily wage workers including head loaders, waste-pickers, street vendors and other weaker denominations in Maharashtra and parts of India. Examples of such reforms include: getting India's unprotected laborers social security, legal protection, medical insurance, and credit. He draws ideological inspirations from Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and Mahatma Gandhi.[1]

Some of his key social reforms include establishing an unorganized workers’ trade union called the Hamal Panchayat, introducing minimum wages for head loaders and laborers, the creation and implementation of Maharashtra Mathadi Hamal and Other Manual Workers Act[2] and instigating the Ek Gaav, Ek Panavtha (translation One village, one pond) movement to ensure Dalits/untouchables get access to water in rural Maharashtra [3]. Baba has played a key role in pursuing the state authorities to enact progressive legislation like the Slum Rehabilitation Act 1995|Slum Rehabilitation Act [4], Dam and Project-Affected Rehabilitation Act [5], and the Devdasi Rehabilitation Act [6].

Early Life

Baba was born in Pune|Pune, Maharashtra, on June 1st, 1930. His father Pandurang, had an established lentil distribution business. His father's business got folded in the great economic depression of 1930. Subsequently, his father passed away when Baba was 3 months old. Baba and his 4 siblings (1 elder brother and 3 sisters) were raised by their mother Babutai Pandurang Adhav (Nee Zende). They were brought up in their mother's maternal home in Nana Peth, Pune, supported by her brother Bapusaheb Zende.[7]

Baba took primary school education with Pune municipal corporation's public school and higher education in Shivaji Maratha School, Pune. In 1952 he graduated from Tarachand Ramnath Ayurveda college and started his medical practice in his Nana Peth home in Pune.

Growing up, Baba was inspired by the socialist doctrines of Bhausaheb Ranade, S. M. Joshi, Narayan Ganesh Gore|N. G. Gore, and Rammanohar Lohia.[8] During his formative years, he worked in the Rashtra Seva Dal with other socialist leaders including Bhai Vaidya, Pannalal Surana, Bapu Kaldate who became his close friends and allies throughout his career.

Baba married Sheela Garud in 1966 who worked as a nurse.[9]

During the 1952 famine in Maharashtra, Baba was approached by few Hamals to lead their union in a :simple:Satyagraha|Satyagraha against high prices and food rationing. He served time in prison for 3 weeks and decided to change his career to focus on creating social reforms.[10]


In 1955, Baba began his efforts to organize the Hamals, to form the first unorganized labor union – Hamal Panchayat.[11]

In 1963, Baba was elected as a Municipal Councilor (corporator) of Bhavani Peth, Pune constituency. The municipal election was fought under a front Nagarik Sanghatana (translation: Citizens Forum). As an elected member he worked for the underprivileged and resolved many issues for slum dwellers and their rehabilitation.[12]


  1. Narayan 2018, p. 53.
  2. "REHABILITATION OF AFFECTED PERSONS. THE MAHARASHTRA PROJECT AFFECTED PERSONS REHABILITATION ACT, 1999" (PDF). Prologue. Gouvernment of Maharashtra.: 7–39 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  3. Adhav 2005, p. 5-7.
  4. "Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees. Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees, World Bank 2000" (PDF). Prologue. World Bank.: 315–317 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  5. "State-Formation From Below': Social Movement Of The Dam-Evictees' and Legal Transformation' Of The State In Maharashtra (India), 1960-1976". Prologue. National Research University Higher School of Economics: 10–12. 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  6. "Livelihood Models of Rural Development" (PDF). Prologue. University of Kolhapur: 13–16. 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  7. Narayan 2018, p. 15-39.
  8. Narayan 2018, p. 41-43.
  9. Lokesh 2015, p. 202-221.
  10. Deshpande, Rajeshwari (1999). "Organising the Unorganised: Case of Hamal Panchayat. Economic and Political Weekly". Prologue: 34–39. JSTOR 4408452. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  11. Deshpande, Rajeshwari (1999). "Organising the Unorganised: Case of Hamal Panchayat. Economic and Political Weekly". Prologue: 34–39. JSTOR 4408452. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  12. Narayan 2018, p. 27-31.

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