She had founded Shankar Brahme Samaj Vidnyan Granthalaya which became a centre for Left, progressive and secular forces in Pune and Maharashtra conducting research, publishing important pamphlets on topical issues and organizing activities to create awareness.
The range of her passionate involvement in people’s movements and issues was staggering-from economic development, environment, organic farming, peace, anti-nuclear movements, people’s science, women’s rights, casteism, communalism, education, secularism and culture.
She co-founded many platforms to further these causes, including Lok Vidnyan Sanghatana, Maharashtra Dushkal Nivaran and Nirmulan Mandal, Purogami Mahila Sanghatana, Lokayat, Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti and Bayaja Trust.
Brahme was actively involved in experiments to promote organic and sustainable agriculture in Konkan. She authored more than 50 booklets in Marathi and monographs on these topics to create people’s awareness and for the education of activists. She maintained close links with all different shades and strands of progressive people’s movements.
Her family’s friends said she was active till the last moment and only last week had attended a meeting in Purandar with local residents to oppose the proposed airport. Her last article was about the devastating impact of the demonetisation on ordinary people.
Born to eminent economist and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission D R Gadgil and eminent social worker Pramila Gadgil (Kale) she completed her schooling at Huzurpaga in Pune, went to SP college and did her PhD from Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics, Pune where she was reader and also its registrar.
During her tenure at GIPE she conducted a numerous studies including two important reports on the regional development plan for Marathwada and land use in Western Maharashtra. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Maharashtra. Neeraj Jain, who worked with her in Lokayat, said she lived an extremely simple and frugal life, devoting all her time and personal material resources to support progressive movements and activists from trade union, peasants, students, youth and other social and political organisations. Fiercely independent, she lived alone for several years, but her house was open to all at any time, Jain added.
She is survived by her brothers eminent environmentalist Madhav Gadgil and Purushottam Gadgil, sister-in-law Sulochana Gadgil, nephew Siddhartha Gadgil and niece Gauri Shah. A condolence meeting has been organized on Sunday at Rashtra Seva Dal open hall at Sane Guruji Smarak Parisar at 5pm.