Raghunath Dhondo Karve


Raghunath Dhondo Karve (14 January 1882 – 14 October 1953) was a professor of mathematics and a social reformer from Maharashtra, India. He was a pioneer in initiating family planning and birth control for masses in Mumbai in 1921.

Raghunath Dhondo Karve
Born(1882-01-14)14 January 1882
Died14 October 1953(1953-10-14) (aged 71)
Mumbai, India
OccupationProfessor of mathematics
EducationM.A. Mathematics, Diplome d'Etudes Superieures(Paris)
SpouseMalati Raghunath Karve

Born in a Chitpavan Brahmin family, Raghunath was the eldest son of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. [1]His mother Radhabai died during childbirth in 1891, when he was nine. He was born in Murud. He studied at New English School, Pune. He stood first in a matriculation examination conducted in 1899. He went to Fergusson College, Pune where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. Karve started his professional career as a professor of mathematics at Wilson College in Mumbai. However, when he started publicly expressing his views about family planning, population control, and women's right to experience sexual/sensual pleasure as much as men, the conservative Christian administrators of the college asked him to resign from the professorship. He then devoted himself to the above causes.

On his own initiative, Karve started the very first birth control clinic in India in 1921, the same year when the first birth control clinic opened in London.

Books authoredEdit

  • ‘Santatiniyaman Aachar ani Vichar’ (Family planning: Thoughts and Action) in 1923[2][3]
  • ‘Guptrogapasun Bachav’ & ‘Aadhunik Kaamashastra’
  • In 1927 he published ‘Samajswasthya[4]’; a monthly on social health, and continued it till death (14 October 1953). Through this monthly, he tried to educated people about sex education. He hardly could meet his own needs, yet he never ceased from continuing the monthly
  • ‘Adhunik Kamashastra’ (1934)
  • ‘Adhunik Aharshastra’ (1938)
  • ‘Vaishya Vyavasay’ (1940), which had a scientific approach.
  • Some of his other light themed books were ‘Parischya Ghari’ (1946) and ’13 Goshti’ (1940)[5]

Samaj SwasthyaEdit

Karve published a Marathi magazine Samaj Swasthya (समाजस्वास्थ्य)[6] starting from July 1927 until 1953. In it, he continually discussed issues of society's well-being through population control through use of contraceptives so as prevent unwanted pregnancies and induced abortions. He promoted responsible parenting by men, gender equality, and women's empowerment and right to experience sexual/sensual pleasure. As an illustration of some of Karve's radical thoughts, he expressed the thought that so long as childbirth and venereal diseases are prevented, women could engage in promiscuity—even perhaps with male prostitutes—for the sake of variety in sexual pleasure, if they so desire, without, in fact, harming their husbands. All the issues of this magazine are now available at www.radhonkarve.com

Wife's supportEdit

Karve's wife, Malati, supported his cause though it brought them social ostracism besides his loss of his professorial career. She shared the couple's financial responsibility, and the two chose to remain childless.

Apart from his wife, he had support of Dr. Ambedkar, "Wrangler Paranjape",[7] Riyastkar Sardesai, and Mama Varekar. He had to swim against the current all his life. He got hurt, but he never gave up.

Critic's analysisEdit

Literary critic M V Dhond has written three essays on Karve. In the third essay, he analyses why Karve was not as successful in his mission as much as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes, his counterparts in United States and UK, respectively.

Karve's mission was not restricted to that of Sanger and Stopes namely happy family life, emancipation of women, control of population. Karve wanted women to have as much sexual freedom and sensual pleasure as men.

Dhond claims contemporary society's objectives were restricted to those of Sanger and Stopes and hence not only Karve's mission as a whole suffered, he himself was persecuted by society at large. There were other reasons too: Karve's unattractive personality, poor finances, and lack of networking skills.

It's unfortunate Karve was not alive when three major events, that make us understand woman sexuality better, took place-
1. Publication of the Kinsey report in 1953
2. Publication of Masters and Johnson's book in 1966 and
3. Publication of The Hite Report in 1976.
These documents have proven how right Karve was with his thoughts on woman's sexuality.

Further readingEdit

  • "Ra. Dho. Karve" (र. धो. कर्वे) by Yashawant Dinkar Phadke, 1981 (in Marathi)
  • "'Samajswastya'kar"- a biography of R.D.Karve by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "Maharashtrache Shilpakaar – Ra Dho Karve" -a biography by Dr Anant Deshmukh, (2013)
  • "Ra. Dho. Karve" (र. धो. कर्वे) : Vyaktitva aani kartrutva by Dr. Anant Deshmukh (2010)
  • "'Samajswastya'til nivadak lekh" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "Mopansa'chya katha" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "Buddhipramanyawad (translated by Prof. Madhukar Toradmal)" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakshan, 2010
  • "Asangrahita R.D.Karve" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "R.D.Karve-Mate aani Matantare" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "Shesha Samajswastya" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • "Nivadak 'Sharadechi Patre'" edited by Dr. Anant Deshmukh, Padmagandha Prakashan, 2010
  • Research articles on R. D. Karve by Dr. Anant Deshmukh[8]
  • Raghunathrao Dhondo Karve – Ek drashta purush – Article in Loksatta by Dr Anant Deshmukh 12-Jan-2003
  • Avaghe Ra Dho (अवघे ‘रधों’) – Article in Loksatta 10-Oct-2010
  • "Majhe Puran" by Anandibai Karve, 1951 (Marathi)
  • "Kahi Ambat Kahi God" by Shakuntala Paranjape, 1979 (Marathi)
  • "Upekshit Drashta" by Diwakar Bapat, 1971 (Marathi)
  • Marathi novel based on R D Karve's life: "Raghunathachi Bakhar" (रघुनाथाची बखर) by S J Joshi (श्री ज जोशी), 1976
  • National family health survey (NFHS-2), India, 1998–99
  • The Journal of Family Welfare By Family Planning Association of India
  • National family health survey (MCH and family planning)
  • Marathi film on the life of R. D. Karve: Dhyasparva (2001), directed by Amol Palekar[9]


  1. ^ "Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve | Taluka Dapoli". www.talukadapoli.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ "RD Karve: Meet the Man Who Pioneered Sex Education In the 1920s". The Quint. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Raghunath Dhondo Keshav Karve | Taluka Dapoli". www.talukadapoli.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Samajswasthya: The handbook for a healthy society - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Raghunath Dhondo Keshav Karve | Taluka Dapoli". www.talukadapoli.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  6. ^ Issues of Samaj Swasthya reprinted by Padmagandha Publications
  7. ^ "First Indian Wrangler : Raghunath Purushottam Paranjape from Dapoli | Taluka Dapoli". www.talukadapoli.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  8. ^ Articles by Dr. Anant Deshmukh
  9. ^ Ramanan, Nitya, ed. (12 February 2003). "Actor by Accident, Director by Choice". www.indiacurrents.com. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
Article Title Publication Date
Ra. Dho.Karve yanchya aayushyatil Nairobiparva Loksatta 14 October 2001
Kutumbaniyajanache aadhya purskarte Navashakti 11 November 2001
Lok bhitat mhanun Mahanagar 9 February 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani char French grahasta Mahanagar 23 February 2002
Prof. Ra. Dhon. Karve aani Dr.Manoramabai Thatte-wad Mahanagar 9 March 2002
Raghunthravanchya hatche don durmil lekh Mahanagar 27 April 2002
Karve aani Karve Mahanagar 23 March 2002
Raghunathrav aani Narhapant Joshi Mahanagar 20 April 2002
Raghunathravanche prashansak aani virodhak:Ke.Bha.Lele Mahanagar 6 April 2002
Ra.Dhon.Karve, ganitache uchcha shikshan va Paris Mahanagar 21 September 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Shankarrao Kirliskar Mahanagar 7 September 2002
Shastriya sangeeache jankar Ra. Dhon.Karve Mahanagar 5 October 2002
Raghunathrao, Gandhiji aani santatiniyamana Mahanagar 4 January 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Shakuntala Paranjapye Mahanagar 13 July 2002
Raghunathrao Karve aani Manoramabai Khabade-wadachya nimittane Mahanagar 27 July 2002
Captain Pillai aani Shree Rhushi: Doghanchya don tarha Mahanagar 24 August 2002
Prof.Karve aani Prof. Phadke Mahanagar 29 June 2002
Raghunathrao karve,Prabhakar Padhye va V.Shantaram Mahanagar 25 May 2002
Samajswasthamadhil lakshavedhak lekhan Mahanagar 10 August 2002
Raghunathravanche 'Jeevan' masikatil lekhan Mahanagar 14 December 2002
'Samajswastha' tikave mhanun wachakanchya suchana Mahanagar 26 October 2002
Raghunathrawansambandhichicha pahila vyaktichitratmak lekh Mahanagar 22 June 2002
Raghunathrawanche 'Vasundhare'til lekhan Mahanagar 8 June 2002
Raghunathrao, Dr.Robinson va Dr.Ellis Mahanagar 23 November 2002
Prof.R.D.Karve yanche samikshatma lekhan Mahanagar 11 January 2003
Shodha Raghunathrawancha Mahanagar 1 February 2003
Dr.Ya.Di.Phadake yana anavruta patra Mahanagar 8 February 2003
'Samajswasthya'kar:Lekhakachi bhumika Lalit Diwali 2004
Soshik Samajsevika Lokprabha Diwali 2001
Ra.dhon.Karve,Ra.Shri.Jog aani Mardhekar Zapurza Diwali 2003
Ra.Dhon.Karve:Shodhayatra Audumbar Diwali 2004
Akher Dharmabhaskar Diwali 2002
Saradechi patre Dharmabhaskar Diwali 2005

External linksEdit

  • Article by Dr. Anant Deshmukh (डॉ. अनंत देशमुख) (Marathi)