Centre for Modeling and Simulation
Savitribai Phule Pune University All Models Are False, Some Are Useful

Professor Padmakar V. Panat: Reminiscences

By Jayanta Panat

It is very difficult to put all the memories that I had about my uncle Dr. Padmakar V. Panat. However, it is a first such instance that I have to write about some one who is not present materially; I am making an effort of it.

Firstly, Late Prof. Panat whom I was calling Inna Kaka, my uncle, was one of the great personalities I have acquainted so far. There are many reasons to say that. All those reasons some or the other way have helped me to grow up & make my own stance in life. Few reasons I would like to share here in this note.

The first remembrance I had about him when I was a child. I used to visit in every summer at his house in Pune University, where I noticed that there was no place where one sits in front of God. Being innocent at that age, I asked my grandmother about it. The answer she gave me made permanent mark on my mind. She said that Inna kaka is one of the people who do pray, but in a different way. He provides assistance in many ways for others to learn, educate and get their own position in life. I realized this way of prayer later and felt it is better than the conventional one.

Panat family belongs to Jalgaon in Maharashtra where my father as well as uncle born and brought up. The family to which they belong was of a high-school teacher. For a teacher’s family there is a natural perimeter marked about so many things that one should not do or doing them would need great daring. Middle class high-school teacher family is always confined in the shackles against all those daring. I feel Inna kaka was first person in the family to rebel against & break these shackles. First of all he built his own stance; he built his own frame of mind and did not get prejudice by RSS sympathies existed in the family at that time. He always used to say that if you have to make progress in life you should leave your house. He himself did it first, went to Berkeley, USA for his PhD. It was a great thing even in early seventies. Another great thing about him that he returned back to India from USA, leaving the job. He adopted a profession of a teacher where he could satisfy his urge for research in physics. He was a born fighter against all odds also he was a learner till end. Even during his last days he took his disease as an opportunity to learn about the medical field and wrote series of articles explaining physics behind the common medical equipments. He was not a person who can succumb easily.

He always used to say about his grandfather. He once said to me, that ‘if you want to compare yourself always compare with economically weaker than you & if you want to have competition with some one, always compete those who have more knowledge than you’. This advice was given to him by his grandfather.

He always used to say about importance and place of fundamental sciences related to every applied field. He was inspiration for all of us. All of us used to feel proud of him for the books he wrote. He was a hard core physicist, always liked to talk on the subject.

He was very rational in his approach with sound and clear opinion. I had always taken his advice in many situations due to this reason. He advised me to do post graduation. He became very glad when I got admission in SPA at New Delhi and when I got gold medal during the PG course. He always promoted & advised me for taking major decisions in life. He was appreciator of good things, physics & classical music.

In his young age he was fascinated with the Marxist philosophy and inclined towards communism. He mastered the philosophy by reading a lot of literature by famous authors. He was fond of reading and had large collection of books in Marathi & English languages. I always discussed with him on the current affairs and I appreciated his point of view and his way of thinking. He also appreciated nationalism of Veer Savarkar. Though, he was having difference of opinion on some areas. He has given me books many times to read which he liked.

Dr. Panat was very frank and gave his opinions without any hesitation. He was always optimistic and insisted us to be optimistic, too. I remember him saying that one should not hesitate to perform his/ her own duties at the same time one should say no to the things which are beyond your scope. Saying ‘No’ boldly will not affect any thing, as safeguarding your own interest is your first priority.

He was a casual person in many ways. But I remember him preparing till late nights for his lectures when he was working. Even when he was taking few courses after his retirement he did prepare perfectly before it. He was always organized before hand for giving his lectures. His sense of prioritizing things was very good. I stayed with him and his family for 5 years while doing my degree course in architecture from Pune. Hence, I was closely observing him and drawn many lessons from him for my own benefit.

Due to many such reasons, I will remember him. His absence can’t be made over at all. I am confidant that in future his teachings will guide me achieving my goals.

Jayanta Panat is Prof. Padmakar Panat's nephew.
He teaches architecture at the College of Military Engineering (CME), Pune.

March 23, 2009

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