Sri Ramakant Keshav Deshpande was a lawyer by profession, visionary, a public servant of highest integrity and honesty, an activist for the tribal cause, a freedom fighter. He missed the death penalty by the British just because Tahshildar Sri Harkare and poet Deshpande refused to give witness against him.
Born on 26th December 1913 in Amaravati – Maharastra. After completing his degree in law he started his career as a lawyer. During his youth he was involved in the activities of Ramakrishna Mission. Then he joined as a Government officer in rationing department. He had to quit the job as he could not tolerate the corruption and the nexus between the govt. officials and the traders. Finally he took up the law profession again. The Quit India movement attracted him towards Freedom Struggle.
Soon after the independence the nexus between many groups of antisocial elements in Madhya Pradesh made the then chief minister Sri Ravi Shankar Shukla to meet Sri Thakkar Bappa. As per the wishes of Thakkar Bapa a great Gandhian, Balasaheb took up the govt. job again as the regional co-coordinator of backward castes welfare division in Jashpur. Balasaheb did a commendable work in the field of tribal education during this tenure.
After the death of Thakkar Bappa in 1950 the link between Tribes and govt. got cut off. Balasaheb got punishment transfer to Chandrapur district of Maharastra as a reward for his tribal service!. He resigned from the service and decided to move to Jashpur to carry out the unfinished agenda of tribal awakening. The historical meeting between Sri Guruji gave him the necessary direction and motivation to solve the social problem in Jashpur. He started a boys hostel in Jashpur in a building given by the King of Jashpur Sri Vidya Bhushan Singh.
The saga of Tribal awakening begins with these students hostel 13 tribal boys on the foundation day of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram on 26th December 1952. VKA started working among every tribe it could reach. VKA transformed in to an All India organization, spreading its educational, social, cultural, economic and other multi-dimensional activities during his life time. Realizing his failing health he nominated Sri Jagadev Ram Uraon as the President of VKA. Balasheb’s life ended on 21st April 1995 but his life mission continues to serve the brothers and sisters living in remote forests of our nation.
Founders Trustees of Vanavasi Kalyana Karnataka
Late Shri Ajith Kumar
- Born on 27th August 1934 @ Srikshethra Sidhaganga, Tumkur District.
- Education Double graduate BE in Electrical and Mechanical Streams.
- Completed the Yoga education under the guidance of Sri Pattabhi Joise and Sri BKS Iyengar.
- Brain behind various Seva Projects and devoted entire his life to the society.
- Died in the fatal road accident on 04.12.1990 and in his memory this day is remembered as “SEVA DIN”.
Shri Prakash Kamath
- Person behind starting of Vananvasi Kalyana activities in Karnataka under the guidance of Sri Late Ajith Kumar.
- Born on 10th April 1949 @ Sringeri, Karnataka.
- Gold Medalist in his Bachelor of Engineering in electrical from Regional Engineering College, Suratkal.
- Devoted his entire life to the society and in particular welfare of the Tribals.
- Worked in various capacities for the development of Vanavasis including around 10 years in the North Eastern part of the Country
- Due to age related ailments, he has passed away on Apr 21, 2019