Roha has given birth to many famous personalities and scholars. Internationally famous economist & former minister in the Central Governmant of India Dr. CD. Deshmukh and the person behind the creation of the Swadhyaya Family, Shri Pandurang Shastri Athavle are from Roha. Famous marathi writer Nayan Acharya, stage personality Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar, Pradeep Dalvi have spent most of their lifetime in Roha itself. Another writer Sushil Padabhrut who is also known as Tatyasaheb Kunte worked as a principal in Roha's Mehendale Highschool. Other person Govind Chimanaji Bhate of Roha was a professor and principal in Fargusan College. The book written by him "The History Of Marathi Literature" was acclaimed nationally. Moreshvar Kale, also from Roha travelled round India by doing Pada-Yatra, i.e by walking. In 1932 he wrote books like "Amchi Paygadichi Chakkar", "Mazha Kashmircha Pravas", "Himalayachi Yatra".
Pandurang Shastri Athavle:
On Saturday August 31, 1996 as our own Dada, Shri Pandurang Shastri Athavle, walked
a few steps to receive the coveted Magasaysay Award for Community Leadership from His Excellency Fidel V. Ramos, President of the Republic of the Philipines, the capacity filled grand hall
of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines gave a thunderous ovation to honour this profound thinker, counsellor and activist from India.
Born in a family of Brahmin scholars in Roha, Athavle mastered Sanskrit as a youth & absorbed the wisdom of the hindu classics in Japan to attend a world religious conference in 1954, he asserted confidently the salience of Vedic teachings & way of life. Some one asked: In your country, is there a single community that lives by these ideals? Disturbed by this question, Athavle returned home & pondered frankly the grim realities of contemporary Indian life.
Having founded a school combining India's sacred knowledge with Western learning, he began meeting regularly with a group of earnest young truth seekers - entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers & lawyers. He led them to cultivate self-awareness (Swadhyaya) and to devote a portion of their free time to acts of devotion and gratitude to God. Taking up the call in 1958, Athavle's middle-class disciples ventured into rural villages to propogate Swadhyaya & to advance their teacher's beleif that barriers of caste, gender & religion must be transcended in order to recognize the true equality of all people. In the ensuing decades, Athavales volunteers swelled to hundreds, ten thousands, ten ten of thousands. Today Athavle, or Dada (elder brother) as he is popularly known, guides a huge spiritual movement that courses through thousands of villages and touches millons of urban and rural India. Although empatically spiritual, the Swadyaya movement has brought striking social and material benefits to its adherents.
In hundreds of villages, Swadyaya devotees have abandoned drunkeness, gamblings, wife beating and preety crime to devote themselves to community betterment. Fisherfolk, chanting sanskrit hyumns, ply "boat temples whose daily catchis reserved for the local hungry. Villagers plant multi hectare "tree temple" to restore degradedland and to make their habbitats green again. Farmers cultivate the common fields of "Gods farm" to grow food to share with needy neighboures. Swadyaya imbuied villages are clean, tidy and prosperous children faithfully attend schools. Villages of all castes, men and women, worship side by side. Untouchability is not recognized. Moreover, communal strife is rare in Swadyaya communities and, in some places, Muslims, Hindu and Christians share the same place of worship. Even so Athavale often reminds people that Swadhyaya has nothing to do with politics and is not undertaken to solve the ploblem of the world. He says "We are, merely planting a bouquet of flowers of love, compasion, selflessness, and peace". A small organisation of volunteers give some co-ordination to Athavle's vast "family" and guides the work of Swadhyaya schools. But it is largely through teaching that Athavle leads the movement. His pithy, conversational sermons hold multitudes in rapt attention and circulate widely in print and on cassetes.
Athavle teaches them that "God resides in every one" and that acheiving "spititual omeness" will bring with it solutions for wordly problems. Calling upon the oldest of the hindu teaching, but alluting to western thinkers as well 75 years ago Athavle exhorts his listeners to liberate themselves from preconceived ideas and "baseless beleifs". The basic revolution, he asserts, "should be of the human mind".
This great leader and social worker passed away on October 25, 2003. He and his work will be remembered for a long period.
Dr. CD. Deshmukh:Chintaman Deshmukh was born on January 14, 1896 at Nata, near Fort Raigarh, in Maharashtra, in a land - holding family with a tradition of public service. Chintaman's father, Dwarakanath Ganesh Deshmukh, was a respected lawyer and his mother, Bhagirathibai was a deeply religious lady. Chintaman Deshmukh had an outstanding educational career. He stood first in the Matriculation examination of the University of Bombay in 1912, and also secured the first Jagannath Sankersett Scholarship in Sanskrit. At the University of Cambridge in 1917, he graduated in the field of Natural Sciences Tripos with Botany, Chemistry and Geology, winning the Frank Smart Prize in Botany. He appeared for the Indian Civil Service Examination, then held only in London, in 1918, and topped the list of successful candidates.
For most of his 21 years with the Indian Civil Service, Chintaman Deshmukh was with the then Central Provinces and Berar Government where, among other things, he was probably the youngest among those who held the positions of Revenue Secretary and Finance Secretary. While on leave in London, he worked as one of the secretaries to the Second Round Table Conference in which Mahatma Gandhi participated. The memorandum submitted by the Central Provinces and Berar Government, which Deshmukh prepared, for the purpose of the enquiry by Sir Otto Niemeyer leading to the award on the financial relations between the Centre and the Provinces under the Government of India Act, 1935, won him high acclaim.
Chintaman Deshmukh's association with the Reserve Bank of India began in July 1939, when he was appointed Liaison Officer in the Bank to keep the Government of India in touch with the Bank's affairs. Three months later, he was appointed Secretary of the Central Board of the Bank and two years later in December 1941, as the Deputy Governor. He was Governor from August 11, 1943 to June 30, 1949. Chintaman Deshmukh proved to be an outstanding Governor. He presided over the transformation of the Reserve Bank from a private shareholder's bank to a nationalised institution and secured the enactment of a comprehensive legislation for the regulation of banking companies and the establishment of the first financial institution for the provision of long-term credit to industry, namely, the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI). He also initiated a number of steps for building up an adequate machinery for rural credit. Commenting on Chintaman Deshmukh's role in regard to the provision of rural credit, a leading co-operator wrote that he "brought about a complete change in the approach from one of hesitant conservatism or laissez-fare to that of a progressive outlook and adoption of positive steps to built up an institutional machinery to provide agricultural credit and for channelling Reserve Bank funds for development of agriculture".
Chintaman Deshmukh played an important role in the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944, which lead to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). In both of these institutions, Chintaman Deshmukh was a Member of the Board of Governors for ten years and was the Chairman at the Joint Annual Meeting of these two institutions held in Paris in 1950. In September 1949, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Chintaman Deshmukh as India's Special Financial Ambassador to America and Europe, in which capacity he conducted the preliminary negotiations for a wheat loan from the USA. Towards the end of the year, Jawaharlal Nehru asked Chintaman Deshmukh to work on the organisation of the Planning Commission and appointed him member of it when it was set up on April 1, 1950. Shortly thereafter, Chintaman Deshmukh joined the Union Cabinet as the Finance Minister and held that office with distinction till he resigned in July 1956. His stewardship of the country's finances was marked by prudence as well as a humane perspective and vision in dealing imaginatively with the changing financial needs of a developing country. Financial policy was directed towards facilitating the achievement of rapid growth, social justice and economic stability. He made significant contributions to the formulation and implementation of the country's First and Second Five Year Plans. He was also primarily responsible for such important landmarks in the area of social control of the financial structure such as the enactment of a new Companies Act, and nationalisation of the Imperial Bank of India and life insurance companies. A different phase of public service by Chintaman Deshmukh in the realms of education and social service was noticed since his Chairmanship of the University Grants Commission from 1956 to 1960, helping to lay a solid foundation for the improvement of the standards of University education in the country. He was Vice-Chancellor the University of Delhi from March 1962 to February 1967, building it up as an outstanding institution for higher learning. Chintaman Deshmukh also gave generously of his time and energies to the building up of other important institutions devoted to the cause of education and research. He was President of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) from 1945 to 1964. It was during the period when he was both the President of the ISI and the Union Finance Minister that the National Sample Survey, to be conducted by the ISI, was instituted (1951-52), and the Central Statistics Office was established. He was President of the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, from 1965 to 1974. He served as the Honorary Chairman of the National Book Trust from 1957 to 1960. He founded the India International Centre in 1959, for which he was the Life President. He headed the Board of Governors of the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, from 1959 to 1973 and was also the Chairman of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, in 1963-64.
Other bodies with which Chintaman Deshmukh was associated included the Indian Council of World Affairs (1960-67) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (1965-70). Alongwith his wife Durgabai, Chintaman Deshmukh participated in multifaceted social service work, especially in the functional literacy and family planning work undertaken by the Andhra Mahila Sabha, Madras and Hyderabad, a social organisation of which Smt. Durgabai was the Founder President. He became its President after Smt. Durgabai's death. Chintaman Deshmukh's old college at Cambridge, Jesus College, elected him an Honorary Fellow in 1952 in recognition of his distinguished contribution in the areas of Indian and international finance and administration. He was co-recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation's Award for distinguished Government Service in 1959. A number of prestigious universities and institutions, international as well as Indian, conferred on him doctorates honoris causa; these included the Universities of Princeton (USA), Leicester (UK), Pune, Delhi, Allahabad, Nagpur and Osmania (India), as also the Indian Statistical Institute. Chintaman Deshmukh had a great love for gardening and horticulture was his special hobby. His love for Sanskrit is well known and he published a volume of his poems in Sanskrit in 1969. He was also proficient in a number of foreign languages. Chintaman Deshmukh died in his 87th year at Hyderabad on October 2, 1982. With his rare combination of qualities of idealism and objectivity, culture and science, integrity, dedication and imagination, Chintaman Deshmukh always ranks high among the eminent sons of India.