Published On : Tue, Nov 20th, 2012

Balasaheb’s childhood still alive in Paratwada, recalls house owner’s daughter Neelima

Raj Thackeray and his entourage at the Ughade residence

Nagpur News: Paratwada, popularly associated with the twin city of Achalpur in Amravati district hold a proud distinction of being home to many eminent personalities who had shined in the field of literature, arts and politics. Not only is the city the childhood haven of the great tiger of Maharashtra Balasaheb Thackeray, the soil of the city has also nurtured the childhood of humor poet Shail Chaturvedi, Madhup Pandey, Ram Shewalker, Pradeep Choube, Ram Nagarkar and a host of other dignitaries.

Sharing a brief account of memories of Balasaheb in Paratwada with Nagpur Today, Neelima Harode, daughter of the late businessman Rameshwar N. Ughade, explored the childhood days of the bereaved Maratha leader. Neelima informed that Thackeray spent the golden days of his childhood growing up at the grand Parasram Wada (a big house with vast space for verandah) owned by her father. It was here that Balasaheb saw the wonderful eight years of his childhood along with his father Prabodhankar Thackeray and mother Ramabai. His father had rented a portion of this house then.

Uddhav Thackeray and others at the Ughade residence

The fond memories often came to warm up Balasaheb even when he reached the peak of popularity. Even years after he left the city, he used to frequent this place with son Uddhav and nephew Raj.

Neelima said that her father late Rameshwar Ughade had presented a piece of 2500 sq. ft. of land to Thackeray who further utilized it for charitable purpose.  The Parasram Dharamarth Aushdhalaya established there has been serving the under privileged section of the society for years. More recently, Prabodhankar Thackeray Vachanalaya and Meenatai Thackeray Smruti Sabhagruha were also established at the same place which Uddhav dedicated to the local people in 2010. Balasaheb and Uddhav always termed Paratwada as their native and Ughade family as their close relatives, she said.

Recalling the memories of Balasaheb’s association with her, Neelima told that when she received Nehru Yuva Puraskar and Rashtriya Yuva Puraskar in 2003-04, she was personally felicitated by Balasaheb. “That was the priceless moment of my life that I have preserved till now,” she said.

Uddhav Thackeray at the Ughade residence

Neelima who runs a nursing college was inspired for social work by her father Rameshwar Ughade. She has appealed to the rich people of the society to come forward and help the poor students pursuing courses in her college.

She was even approached by Shiv Sena to foray into politics; however, she has decided to presently focus on her social and academic works. She takes proud in the fact that such a person of honor like Balasaheb Thackerey had been in her house for eight years.

She considered herself fortunate to have spent her childhood in the same Girdhar Parasam Wada where the memories of Balasaheb’s childhood are still alive. She said that it might be the effect of this place that she is fearlessly fighting against any injustice meted out the weaker section of the society.