was supported by the like minded people and eminent freedom
fighters such as Dr. Dhananjayrao Gadgil,
Balgangadhar Tilak and a few
others.Their efforts brought good dividends and Vithalrao
Eknathrao Vikhe Patil's dream came true in the form of Asia's
first cooperative sugar factory at Pravaranagar which was
established in 1948. The production of sugar started in
1950. A humble, poor, not so well-known person was soon
recognized by people and the first Prime Minister of India,
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Pravaranagar in May, 1961
and lauded the work of Vithalrao Eknathrao Vikhe Patil.
He was awarded Padmashri in 1962 and fondly with respect
was addressed by people as "Padmashri". Since
then, Padmashri did not look back. The sugar factory had
many diversifications in its products area and irrigation
also took a boost. He laid the foundation of Pravara Rural
Education Society in July, 1964 followed by Pnivara Public
School in August, 1964, Pravara Kanya Vidya Mandir in 1969
and Padmashri Vikhe Patil College of Arts, Science and Commerce
in 1971. These institutions brought school and college education
to the rural boys and girls at their door steps. Padmashri
Vithalrao E.Vikhe Patil was later on conferred with degree
of D.Litt. by University of Pune and D.Sc. by Mahatma Phule
Agricultural University, Rahuri. Padmashri
had serious concern for the health of rural people and in
1972 Pravara Medical Trust was launched which has grown
into a fullfledged medical setup.
had a multifaceted personality and had highest degree of
spiritual inclination. He was a torch bearer of Socio- Economic
transformation of this entire area (in and around Pravaranagar).
This great man of mother India left for his heavenly abode
on 27th April, 1980. His mortal remains are laid at "Shaktisthal"
in Pravaranagar. The deeds and accomplishments of Padmashri
Dr.Vithalrao Vikhe Patil made him immortal and he is living
and will live forever till the civilization exists and in
the hearts of the generations to come. Padmashri's name
will be written in golden letters in the history of our
great country as pioneer of co-operative movement and for
bringing about socia-economic, educational and cultural
transformation of the villagers, and for giving a unique
model of rural development to the country.