M. M. Dave the Great
Yes. M. M. Dave is my father’s name. As per my opinion, he was a great person. It is not because he was my father. Had he been not my father, but if, I would have come across to him to analyze him, I would have kept him at the top.
How much great was he? As per my opinion, if somebody asks my opinion as to who is greater between M. K. Gandhi and my father, I would have said it was my father who was quite greater than Mahatma Gandhi.
If we want to analyze a person for its greatness, following points need to be taken into account.
- Sacrifice of the person,
- The morality and Devotion towards duty,
- The skill of the person,
- The logical approach of the person,
- M. M. Dave was great under the afore said criteria.
Is it that my father was great due to some inherited property of my grandfather? Yes. I think so.
My father was the only survived son of my grandfather. He had two sisters, one elder and one younger.
My grandfather was a Sanskrit Scholar of Kashi Vidyapith. His subjects were Astrology (ज्योतिष), Religious rituals (कर्मकान्ड) and philosophy (तत्त्वज्ञान).
I had a great respect for my grandfather. My grandfather died during 1944 at the age of nearly 80+ years, when I was hardly four years.
My grandfather was better known by his name Mahashankar Shastri, though his surname was Dave (Dvivedi). Mahashankar Shastri was a big and honorable name in the kingdom of Lunavada. Lunavada was a small state of Gujarat. Lunavada considered to be the “SMALL KASHI (छोटा काशी) of Gujarat, because it had the Brahmins knowing all the four Vedas.
MAX MULLAR had visited Lunavada and had met my grandfather. My grandfather was conservative but appeared to be a logical person. He believed in maintaining traditions, but he was of the opinion that the Astrology does not tell the future. What is told as a forecast, it is to be taken as a blessing of the astrologer who studied the mathematics of the movements of planets in the sky in relations to the star clusters. For keeping this mathematics alive, the tradition of preparing a Horoscope was introduced.
MY FATHER AND GRANDFATHER USED TO TALK AND DISCUSS ON THE PHILOSOPHY IN THE SANSKRIT LANGUAGE VERY FLUENTLY.
My father was born in Lunavada on 9th November 1909 (10th day of Krishna Paksha of Ashvin of Vikram Era). He died on 2nd April 1996 peacefully.
SANSKRIT OR ENGLISH? CONDITIONAL PERMISSION
It was the period of 1918, M. M. Dave my father passed his 4th standard of the primary school. At that time there were two options, either to go ahead with the same school upto 7th Standard and then to go to the Primary Teaching Training College for further study for 3 years, or to join 1st standard of English school for matriculation and then to a college of Bombay university.
WHICH LANGUAGE SHOULD BE OPTED FOR FURTHER STUDY?
My grandfather was of the opinion that the British would leave India sooner or later. English would also go with them from India. English would be replaced by Sanskrit. Hence, his son (my father), should join “Sanskrit Path Shala of Lunavada”. His desire was, his son should become scholar in Sanskrit. He should go to Kashi for further study.
My father said he would prefer English, but he would not ignore Sanskrit. He would join English School. He would also join the Sanskrit Pathshala on part time basis. My grandfather agreed to it conditionally.
My grandfather put conditions;
That his son would keep Shikhaa (शिखा),
That his son would keep Mundan [(मुन्डन) and would remain clean shaved. i.e. no hair on the head accept Shikhaa शिखा),
That his son keep his head covered with either turban (दक्षिणी पगडी)] or a black cap (काली टोपी),
That his son would keep him self dressed in dhoti (धोती) and never put on payjama (पायजामा),
The child M. M. Dave my father agreed to all these conditions. At a later stage my grandfather gave some relaxation e.g. from turban and cap.
ECONOMICAL CONDITIONS: HAND TO MOUTH
People had a simple life. Though there was no scarcity of the food grains, but the large common mass was several miles away from a simple luxury. When my grandfather went to Rangoon for performing some Yajna (यज्ञ), his family in India, was in a hand to mouth condition.
My paternal grandmother used to go to the nearby forest to pluck leaves of “Flame Tree”, to prepare leaf plates. Next day she would prepare leaf plates. When she would prepare 1000 plates and 1000 leaf bowls, she would be paid Re. 1/-. She would pay the fees of my father for English School which was Re 1/- per month.
When my grandfather returned to India he had 1000 rupees with him. He got the house repaired by a part of 1000 rupees. My father cleared the matriculation. He joined the English school as the teacher in English. During this period he had also passed out Philosophy and Sanskrit Grammar from Kashi Vidyapith, which was considered en-par with post graduation.
M. K. GANDHI’S MOVEMENT OF SWADESHI
While working in the English School (S. K. High School Lunavada), M. M. Dave was most popular among teachers and students. The Maharaja of Lunavada kingdom had banned any activity related with freedom struggle. But the Swadeshi Movement cannot be banned. There by during the vacations, M. M. Dave and his friends who were completely dedicated to Nation, used to travel on foot into the villages of Lunavada state and Punch Mahals District, for canvassing for Swadeshi. Since most of them were Brahmins they under the tradition, were not permitted to take cooked food with them, they used to take baked grams.
Of course the Maharaja of Lunavada was not happy with Swadeshi movement within his kingdom. But some freedom fighters were arrogant and may challenge the action of the king, as by the law of the land, one cannot stop Swadeshi Movement, when it was not stopped in British India.
MAHATMA GANDHI ENDED HIS FAST
On an occasion, Mahatma Gandhi ended his fast. While addressing a meeting organized for Swadeshi, M. M. Dave informed the public, that “today M. K. Gandhi has ended his fast.” This was considered as a political statement by the Maharaja of the Kingdom, and he dismissed M. M. Dave from the job. His English typing job was also terminated.
SALUTE TO THE KING AVOIDED
Young M. M. Dave was arrogant to some extent. There was a practice to submit a salute to the king when he was passing on the road. All the people on the road side would submit a salute. M. M. Dave used to look at him but never used to salute him. Maharaja knew this, but he used to keep mum. My grandfather told M. M. Dave, “if you do not want to salute the king, it is ok, but in that case you should go inside some street and you can avoid the line of sight with the king. Why should you just insult the king for nothing?”
I think, this was a great advice. One should never invite trouble.
When M. M. Dave was dismissed, his father had become very old according to that period. Probably he was 75 years of age. The jobs in governments were very few. M. M. Dave my father, went to Godhra and some villages which were under British agency rule and did some teaching job.
The salary of a teacher was very poor. That too, in a private school, it was very very poor. But the respect for the teacher was great. Mostly because they were Brahmins, and they were dedicated to their work. MY father had even gone to Hoobli of Dharavad Karnataka for a job for a salary of 4 rupees more.
THE BRITISH PERIOD WAS A PERIOD OF MISERY AND SUFFERING.
Once upon a time, my father suffering from a fever of 104F. There was a doctor 8 kilometers away from the village (Jantral of Punch Mahal District). The doctor used to give a good medicine. The medicine was perfect. But the Doctor used to charge 4 Anna (25 paise), for the first time. My father had no money. However he walked 8 kilometers all the way, with 104F fever, and reached to the physicians. My father told him that he was a teacher. He would give the charge, once he would receive the salary. The physician was kind enough. He gave medicine.
M. M. DAVE CLEARED THE EXAMINATION OF ADVOCATE
While working as a teacher or remaining jobless, he cleared the most difficult course of law and passed out the examination of Advocate. He became Advocate. (The result of the examination was to be 4 to 5 out of one hundred) He joined a lawyer’s firm in Ahmedabad. The firm did not pay him a single penny for the work for whole of the year. Whatsoever earned so far got consumed. My father had started searching a job.
In 1944 the king of Viththal Gadh (विठ्ठल गढ) wanted a person who knew law. M. M. Dave my father applied. He was appointed as Divan (दिवान) of the kingdom with the salary of Rs. 100/- per month. Viththal Gadh was a very small state whose annual income was 1.25 lakhs. The king was calculative. He initially gave Rs. 75/- per month. But after some time he realize the skill of M. M. Dave and started giving Rs. 100/-. King was kind and brave. M. M. Dave resolved all the problems of the kingdom related with nearby kings and the British agency.
IN A CONFERENCE OF KINGS OF SAURASHTRA
In a conference of all the kings of Saurashtra, where a matter related with sports was being discussed. It was a general opinion about the welfare of the people with the least priority to the sports. M. M. Dave justified the importance of the sports, though M. M. Dave had never participated in any sports. The Maharaja of Dhangadhra was very much impressed by his speech and invited to join his kingdom. Since the king of Viththal Gadh had left with no problem, he relieved him.
In 1945-46 M. M. Dave was the minister of publication of government orders in Dhrangadhra kingdom, where his work was remarkable.
INDIA BECAME INDEPENDENT:
On 15th August 1947, India became independent. The Maharaja of Dhrangadhra was the first king to decide to hand over his kingdom to the Union of India. But Vallabhbhai Patel visited Bhavnagar first. Hence the Maharaja of Bhavnagar became the first king to handover the kingdom to the Union of India.
WITH MANUBHAI SHAH
Manubhai Shah the minister (probably the minister of commodities and industry) wanted a person, excellent in languages and legal matters. Somebody told him, and advice to pick up M. M. Dave who was in Dhrangadhra State, though he was considered pro-kingdoms by some people, but in reality he was devoted to the national interest as he had suffered a lot from a kingdom during his early life. He was absorbed as Senior Superintendent thereafter he was made Dy. Director. He drafted the law and the ordinance accurately and skillfully, all the ministries had a very high opinion about him.
WITH STATE BANK OF SAURASHTRA HQ BHAVNAGAR
Somewhere in 1951, Bhavnagar Darbar Bank was to be nationalized. M. M. DAVE was deputed to Bhavnagar (Bhavnagar Darbar Bank’s head quarter was Bhavnagar) to look into the legal matters and framing the rules and regulations for the nationalized State Bank of Saurashtra.
At a later stage M. M. Dave was absorbed as the law and administration Officer in StaTe Bank of Saurashtra. In due course he became Dy. General Manager which was next to the General Manager. M. M. Dave retired at the then superannuation age of 58 years, during the period of his services the bank flourished like anything, from 4 branches to 108 branches widely spread in all the big cities of India and all the villages having upto 5000 population in Saurashtra.
On the very next day of his retirement, M. M. Dave got appointment as legal advisor to UCO Bank stationed at Bombay on three years’ contract. Then he worked as Legal advisor to the National Textile Corporation. Then he worked as the Legal Advisor to Gujarat State Textile Corporation.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT M. M. DAVE?
Wherever he went he had brought revolution. He had a special technique for innovative ideas to reduce the efforts, that too, with foolproof procedure.
He would never become angry, even if the person would had committed repetitive mistake. Of course such occasion would hardly come up, because he would point out the error with some humor,
Though he was a lawyer, his perception on mathematical fundamental principles was clear.
His logic was extraordinary and convincing to make the person agreeable on what had he suggested. Even national union leaders of nationalized banks employees were scared of him.
He was very strict on his principles. There were many persons in Lunavada State whom nobody can purchase at any price. M. M. Dave was falling under that category.
He had convincing solution for each issue,
After the retirement from several service jobs, he and his son Mr. Girish Dave, who was M. Com. LL. B. and advocate and had worked as a law officer in several banks like HDFC, SBI, RBI etc… , opened up a law firm viz. Dave & Girish & Co. Advocates in Mumbai in 1977. This is an international law firm of a special grade.
INDIAN CONSTITUTION IN SANSKRIT LANGUAGE
He being a scholar of Sanskrit had made several translations of law books. Most prominent was the translation of initial portion of Indian Constitution in Sanskrit Verse.
This book was dedicated to the then President of India Dr. Radhakrishnan. On reading this book, Dr. Radhakrishnan wrote him a personal letter for appreciating his work. Based on this, the Government of India later requested him to translate the whole constitution of India in Sanskrit. He did the same somewhere in 1984. He was awarded by the Ministry of Law Union of India.
In 1986 a progressive thrombosis paralyses attacked him. M. M. Dave remained inactive for a week. His power of confidence and determination made him walking independently in a week’s time. In a month’s time he started working from home on all legal matters of his firm. He died peacefully in 1996 on this day, i.e. 2nd April, probably due to the clot.
My father never dressed in payjama. He used to wear Khadi clothes. He never applied soap on his body even while shaving. He used to write articles in English magazines. He was logical but conservative. His concepts were clear. He believed in Castes system.
As a Brahmin he maintained the traditions like praatah Sandhya (प्रातः संध्या), Puajaa (पूजा), Oopavitam (उपवितम़), all ceremonial tradition and rituals. He never touched onion, Garlic, Bit, Carrot … etc. He had hatred towards smoking, drinking liquor and non-veg food. However he had never enforced his beliefs on us.
He was a complete man.
He sacrificed fame to perform his duties towards his family. He could have become a person of national fame, but in that case his family could have been put in hardship. He married at the age of 20 with an oath before Fire that he would take care of his family. He stuck to his oath, and though ready to sacrifice everything for himself, he did not ask his family to suffer to enable him to meet his ambitions. In this way he sacrificed his ambition of fame. He served the nation by his services.
M. M. Dave and Politics:
He was against Nehruvian Congress. But he was also against Raj Narain, Nitish, Laloo, Mamata at that time also. Surprisingly I find no negative on their end at that time. But my father could foresee their aptitude. My father was very much in favor of A. D. Gorwala an Ex. ICS officer who resigned on principle from the Government. A. D. Gorwala had not even cared for his pension benefit. A. D. Gorwala was publishing a magazine “Opinion”. My father used to write articles in “Opinion”.
His idea ran parallel with socialism but he had no faith in Government machinery. He wanted self sufficient units like what M. K. Gandhi wanted small circles and big circle complement to each other.
M. M. Dave and Religion:
Once upon a time I asked “whether are we Vaishnava-s (because my grandfather used to read Bhagvatam in some body’s weekly session)? He just showed his displeasure and denied. My eldest brother told me with a smile that we Brahmins do not worship small God. Our God is Devadhidev Maheshvara (देवाधिदेव महेश्वर). My grandfather used to worship Dattatreya (दत्तात्रेय). We have a very good Brass Statue of Dattatreya (दत्तात्रेय) where Shiva (शिव) is at the center. In reality Dattatrey (दत्तात्रेय) is the form of Shiva (शिव). My father believed in Advait (अद्वैत) where the ultimate is Shiva.
I had a lot questions on Aryan Anarya (आर्य अनार्य) Theory. Once I asked my father, “is it that Shiva was the God of Anarya?” He annoyed and told me that Aryan theory is fake theory. There is no mention of any place which is outside India in Vedas.
Shirish Mohanlal Dave
Tags: M. M. Dave, my father, my grandfather, Mahashankar Shastri, Dvivedi (Dave), Lunavada, small Kashi, Sanskrit, Pathshala, Maharaja, Kingdom, Viththal Gadh, Dhrangadhra, Saurashtra, Manubhai Shah, Minister of commodities and Industries, English, Sanskrit, English School, Primary School, Law, Philosophy, Grammar, Kashi Vidyapith, M. K. Gandhi’s movement of Swadeshi, Salute to the king, State Bank of Saurashtra, Law Officer, Legal Advisor, Bhavnagar Darbar Bank, Nationalization