Anutai Wagh

Padma Bhushan Tarabai Modak
(The founder member of NBSS & Gram Bal Shiksha Kendra)

Tarabai Modak is rightlycalled as the “Montessori Mother”. She has made a significant contribution topreschool education in India. Her method brought in a silent revolution in thetribal community of Kosbad.

PadmabhushanTarabaiModak, a pioneer of preschool education in India was born in April 1892. Shegraduated from the University of Mumbai. In 1921, she became the first Indianprincipal of Barten female college of Education at Rajkot. She came acrossMaria Montessori’s writing and decided to educate her own daughter accordingly.In 1923, she resigned from college and joined Shri Gijubhai Badheka whoconducted a pre primary school in Bhavnagar and propagated Montessori’stheories. In 1926, she helped him establish the Nutan Bal Shikshan Sangh (thenew child education association) for the spread and development of pre-primaryschool and teacher training center in Dadar in north Bombay. She started theGram Bal Shiksha Kendra at Bordi in 1945. From 1946 to 1952 she was a member ofthe Bombay Legislative Assembly. She visited Europe in 1949 to attend theMontessori conference held in Italy and to observe pre primary institutions inthe European countries. In 1957 she shifted Gram Shiksha Kendra from Bordi toKosbad. The Vikaswadi Project was launched and conducted at Kosbad under herconstant guidance. She devoted the last 27 years of her life to this projectwhich was the core of the Gram Bal Shiksha Kendra activities. She was theGeneral Secretary of the Nutan Bal Shikshan Sangh for over 25 years andsubsequently became its vice president. She wrote a number of books forchildren and parents in Marathi and Gujarati. She also wrote books on childeducation in English. In 1962, the Government of India honoured her with thetitle of Padma Bhushan. She passed away on 31 August 1973 at the age of 81.




1882 Born in Mumbai

1907 Passed the Matricexamination

1914 Passed BAexamination

1915 got married to ShriKrisnaji Vaman Modak

1920 Birth of daughterPrabha

1921 to 1923 Worked as aPrincipal of the Barton Female Training College at Rajkot,Gujarat.

1923 to 1932 Along withShri Gijubhai Badheka worked in the Dakshinamurti foundation atBhavnagar,Gujarat.

1933 to 1935 Worked as aprivate tutor to the Prince of Vasda,Gujarat.

1936 to 1945 EstablishedSHISHUVIHAR in Dadar,Mumbai and worked there.

1940 to 1945 Wassecretary of the NUTAN BAL SHIKSHAN SANGH and also held the post editor ofSHIKSHAN PATRIKA in Marathi,Hindi and Gujarati.

1945 to 1957 Establishedand GRAMBAL SHIKSHA KENDRA for rural child education at Bordi in DahanuTaluka,Thane District, Maharashtra. Worked and experimented and fine tuned herideas of child education along with its application.

1946 to 1951 elected asMLA to the Vidhan Parishad of Mumbai State.

1952 Sad demise of heronly child daughter,Prabha.

1953 death of her husbandShri K.V.Modak.

1957 to 1973 Conductedmany successful experiments about Tribal child education and implemented themat GRAMBAL SHIKSHA KENDRA

1962 Honoured by theIndian government by awarding her Padmabhushan for her work in the tribaleducation.(26-1-1962)

1973 Died after spendingher entire life working for the child education in particular the tribalchildren.(31-8-1973)


Padma Shri Anutai Wagh

Anutai Wagh born on March 17, 1910. She was married at the ageof 13 and became a child widow 6 months later and returned to her parents'home. After passing the Vernacular Final (VII Std) examination, she took upprimary teacher's training in Pune. In the final examination, she obtained afirst class. She then served as a teacher for 3 years in villages, after whichshe joined the famous Hujur Paga School in Pune. While teaching there, shejoined a Night School and passed matric in 1937. Later in 1950, she graduated fromthe S.N.D.T. Women's University. For many years she had to support and educateher younger brother and sister. Anutai bore the burden of this domesticresponsibility with cheer, but as the years went by, she longed to devoteherself to social work in a rural area.

The turning point in Anutai's life came in 1945 when she met thelate Mrs Tarabai Modak in a training camp for women village workers organizedby Kasturba Memorial Trust at Borivli (Bombay). Tarabai was planning to startan experimental pre-primary school in a rural area, Bordi, in Dahanu Taluka.She asked Anutai whether she would like to join the proposed school and thelatter readily agreed.

So began an educational partnership between the two women whichwas to last till Tarabai's death in 1973. The Gram Bal Shiksha Kendra(G.B.S.K.) started by both of them at Bordi in 1945, and moved to its presentsetting at Kosbad Hill in the heart of the tribal area in 1957, became afountainhead of new ideas, exploratory ventures, experiments and innovations ineducation, all closely related to the needs and problems of the children of themost under-privileged sections of society. Today Anutai is Director if G.B.S.K.and Secretary of the parent body, the Nutan Bal Shikshan Sangh, and guides thehost of educational activities which have been started at Kosbad.

The new concepts of Balvadi, Anganwadi and Kuran Shala (MeadowSchool) born out of her continuous thought and applied work in the tribal areasof Thane District, have been recognized as innovative and useful concepts inthe history of education in this country. Her efforts to produce educationalaids out of the indigenous material available in rural areas, has certainlyrevolutionized the pre-school learning methods in the country, and has provideda model to the other developing countries also.

Tarabai and Anutai had to confront the challenge posed by theindifference and apathy of tribal people towards education. But by dint ofsustained work, patience and determination, they overcame this hurdle and laidthe foundation of a system of education which was perfectly attuned to theneeds, habits and culture of the Adivasis. Their success has been acclaimed byone and all.

Today a wide range of visitors, eminent educationists in Indiaand other countries, representatives from UNICEF and UNESCO and a variety ofprofessionals interested in reforming education make a pilgrimage to Kosbad andreturn with a sense of fulfillment, having seen something new, dynamic and fullof life.

In addition to her responsibility as the Director of Gram BalShiksha Kendra, Anutai has also been the President of another registeredvoluntary organization called “Thane District Stree Shakti Jagruti Samiti”since 1977. The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, inspiredher to take up the cause of women. She felt that an immeasurable spiritualstrength lies hidden in women which, if released at the appropriate time, couldprofoundly influence the world beneficially. She felt that all possible effortsshould be made to awaken the women community and make them realize that theymust face and fight with courage the injustices, tyrannies and humiliationsinflicted on them by society.

Under the auspices of this new organization, she has startedmany activities for the welfare of women and children. Many Mahila Melawas(Gatherings) have been organized where importance of Family Welfare Programmes,Health and Hygiene, Child Care, Nutrition, Cottage Industries, Evil Effects ofSuperstitions, and Social Education is brought home to the women throughvarious methods of community contact. Some crèches have also been started intribal hamlets for children of working women.

In June 1980 she started a school for the Dumb and Deaf poorchildren. She devotes a lot of time of her daily routine to the work of thisorganization.

She is the editor of a Marathi Magazine “Shikshan Patrika” inwhich very useful literature for children, teachers and parents is regularlypublished.

Under the auspices of Stree Shakti Jagriti Samity, she startedanother monthly titled “Savitri” in 1981, when she received the first Awardinstituted by the Maharashtra State in memory of late Savitribai Phule. In thismonthly, devoted to the problems and activities of the women community, Anutaigives details of the living and dead, who had done outstanding work for thewelfare of the community.

A number of young girls and middle aged women, faced with somedomestic or social crisis or problem came to Anutai to seek solution to theirproblems, Anutai takes them into confidence, understands their mind, sharestheir sufferings and anxieties and discusses with them in detail and shows thema convincing and logical solution.

Anutai, in (1983), started a totally new project called"Gram-Mangal", at Dabhon, a remote village. Dabhon is a typicallytribal area, inhabited by Warlis, who are the most backward among the tribals.No other social work agency has penetrated into this are so far. Anutaiselected the place for trying out her experiment of a Free School a school withno building and syllabus and the subjects taught would be those arising out ofactivities, which aim at all-sided development of the Walis, includingimprovement of their economic status.

Anutai fully acknowledges her debt to the late Tarabai Modak whohad inspired and guided her and to the teachings of Gandhiji and Vinobaji whichhave profoundly influenced her from a young age. Whenever she finds herselffaced with any serious problem in life, she immediately resorts the book “GeetaPravachan” written by Vinobaji and seeks her solution there.

Anutai has been the recipient of several honors, conferred onher by the Central Government, Maharashtra Government and various voluntaryorganizations. The major ones among them are :

· National Award for the Best Worker in the field of ChildWelfare,

· Title of 'Dalit Mitra',

· Ideal Teacher's Award,

· Savitribai Phule Award,

· Recipient of Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Uplift and Welfare ofWomen and Children-1985

· F.I.E. Foundation (Ichalkaranji) Award.




1910 Born in Morgaon,Pune

1925 First in the Vernacular Finals in Nashik.

1929 First in the Primary Teachers Certificate course at Pune.

1929 to 1933 Worked as a primary teacher Chandvad (Pimpalgoan)

1933 to 1944 Worked as a primary teacher in Hujoor Paga,Pune.

1937 passed her Matric examination attending the night school

1945 attended a seminar cum workshop organised by the KasturbaTrust for the Early Childhood Teacher’s Training Programme. Met her MentorTaratai Modak at the seminar.

1945 to 1956 Joined Taratai in GRAMBAL SHIKSHA KENDRA and workedalong with Taratai.

1956 to 1973 Took the post and responsibility of the caretakerof GRAMBAL SHIKSHA KENDRA.

1961 Inspite of failing eyesight due to cataract in both theeyes passed her BA examinations from the S.N.D.T. University.

1972 Received the prestigious Ideal Teacher’s award given by theState Government.

1973 to 1992 Director of GRAMBAL SHIKSHA KENDRA

1972 to 1992 Held the post of editor of SHKSHAN PATRIKA

1980 Established in Dhanau, a residential school for the Hearingimpaired children.

Established a magazine SAVITRI for women.

Established GRAMANGAL at Aine,in Taluka Dahanu.

1984 Awarded the Padmashri in recognition of her work in thefield of childhood education in tribal area.

1985 Honoured by conferring the Award given by the JamnalalBajaj Foundation

1989 Honoured by conferring the D.Lit by the SNDT University torecognise her work.

1992 Died at the age of 82 (27-9-1992)


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