Bharat Ratna Marshi Annasaheb, also known as Dhondo Keshav Karve, was a pioneer in the field of women’s education, widow marriage, and rehabilitation. In 1916, he established the Women’s University, also known as Mahila Vidhyapeth, in Pune. His mission was to expand women’s education, and during his visit to Belgaum (now Belagavi), he met Dattopant Belvi to discuss establishing an institution for women’s education in the area.
Maharshi Annasaheb Karve summoned Smt Babubai Aho from Pune to Belgaum and entrusted her with the task of establishing the women’s institution. On May 25, 1923, the Mahila Vidyalaya Mandal was established, and on May 27, 1923, the Marathi School, named Mahila Vidyalaya School, was established for women.
Initially, only three students were admitted to the school, Kum. Godavari Belvi, Kum Indu Mujamdar, and Kum Godavari Khot, and Maharshi Annasaheb Karve personally gave them their first lessons. By 1925, the school had 76 women students and was run in the guest house of the Social Club before being relocated to Sunthankar Wada.
Maharshi Annasaheb Karve’s dedication to women’s education and empowerment was truly remarkable, and his legacy continues to inspire generations of women to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential.
Several like-minded individuals, including the late Sri Shrinivas Kulkarni, the late Bandopant Kulkarni, the late Dr. Sathe, the late Vaman Hari Khot, and the late Dr. G V Herekar, among many others, generously contributed their time and resources to purchase the property on College Road. In 1941, on May 11th, the Mahila Vidyalaya school was relocated to its own premises, where it has since flourished and become one of the most renowned institutions in the city.
The school boasts a vast network of alumni, including accomplished women such as pilot Smt. Geeta Godbole, the discoverer of India’s first test tube, Dr. Indira Hinduja, and the late poet Indira Sant, among others. Notably, the entire team of Karnataka Kho kho was comprised of students from Mahila Vidyalaya Marathi High School two decades ago.
In the late seventies, the late Prabhatai Deshpande merged her English medium school with the Mahila Vidyalaya, with the assistance of the managing committee. Today, the Prabhatai Deshpande English School at Mahila Vidyalaya is a renowned institution in the city.
Surviving as an institution for a century and continuing to make progress is a remarkable achievement in today’s world. We extend our sincerest congratulations to Mahila Vidyalaya and wish them continued success in the future.