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Ganga (Gangutai) Patwardhan was an educationist. She was born at Mahad in Raigad district, Maharashtra. Her father tried to get her married off at the age of twelve, but she flatly refused and insisted that she be admitted to the famous Huzoor Paga School in Pune. She was supported in her demand by her brother-in-law Bapusaheb Chiplunkar, who taught at Hinge Stree Shikshan Sanstha, set up by the late Dhondo Keshav Karve, and where she was eventually admitted. Having completed school she got herself admitted to Bharatvarshiya Mahila Vidyapeeth, now known as SNDT University for Women, Baroda. She then went to England to do a course in Montessori teaching. On her return she married a widower, Narayan Mahadeo Patwardhan, on the condition that he would observe Gandhian brahmacharya (renunciation). They married despite opposition by Narayanrao’s relatives as they were of the same gotra. After the death of her brother-in-law Gangutai became vice-principal of the Training College for Women at Baroda and later she served as vice-chancellor of SNDT University for Women for ten years.

Gangutai was associated with the Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha, the Nutan Bal Shikshan Sanstha, Kanya Shala and the Girl Guides. She was the first recipient of the prestigious Baya Karve award instituted by Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha. She received the FIE foundation award and the Deenanath Mangeshkar award. Her eyes were donated according to her wishes. Her autobiography in Marathi is titled, Chakoribaher: Ek Atmakathan or ‘Outside the Courtyard’ (Pune: Sadhana Press, 1974) (Outside the daily grind).
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