Dattatraya (Dadasaheb) Shankar Potnis

Dadasaheb Potnis was a very respected and well-known figure not only in Nashik, but in Maharashtra. As is evident from his bio-data, he had made impressions in political,social, cultural,religious fields of human life. A staunch believer in Mahatma Gandhiji and his philosophy, he has devoted his life for the upliftment of the society. His contribution to Journalism was significant and so is it in the overall development of the economic and social life. He is the pioneer in promoting schools, bank,co-operative bank,co-operative sugar factory, and consumer society. Very rarely found virtue in him is detachment. Once he realised that the establishments are able to take care of themselves, he kept himself away from them and took upanother challenge. Born on 22 November 1909 at Wai (Dist. Satara), he had his primary and high school education in Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya of Pune and after matriculation in S.P. College of Pune.From student’s life, he had inclination for social work. Those were the days of the National Movement of Freedom against the rule of British. While studying in B.A. class, he left college and started working for the Congress Party. He suffered imprisonment five different times.

Political work

His political career started in 1930. He was imprisoned for 45 days in Nashik Jail at Raviwar Karanja.In 1931 he founded Satyagrah Ashram at Baglan in Nashik District. He was active as underground worker in 1932 in Nashik District. He held the position of Nashik District Congress Secretary for many years. He was associated with the social worker- Vinoba Bhave in 1934. He worked as an organizer and election propagandist for Congress party. He was the member of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress for many years. For the All India Congress Conference held in 1950 at Nashik, he worked as Publicity Chief and Member of Welcome Committee.


He started the daily newspaper “Gavkari” in 1938. Since then he was the Chief Editor of Gavkari.

Gavkari’s circulation all over North Maharashtra is over 90000. “Gavkari” is now 60 years old. He initiated monthly “Amrut Marathi Digest” in 1952. “Ras Rang” a weekly for the younger generation started being published and is still very famous for the information on various sports and cinemas. “Krishi Sadhan” weekly was first published in 1975. Daily “Ajintha” newspaper – a sister concern of Gavkari, started in 1960 in Aurangabad for Marathwada Region.He was the President of Marathi Journalists Conference. He presided over Journalists Conference held at Panjim, Goa. He was President of “Maharashtra Mudran Parishaad” held in Sholapur. He was also the Secretary and Vice-President of Indian Languages Newspapers Association.

Social Work

He was involved in the Seva Dal work in 1936. He was the District Seva Dal Chief upto 1942. In fact he was the promoter of the Seva Dal movement in Nashik city and Nashik district. Influenced by the invitation of Mahatma Gandhi, he left college and devoted himself to the National interest. He founded Gramseva Samiti in Baglan Taluka. In 1932 Gramseva Samiti was banned by British Government and all the workers of Samiti were arrested and imprisoned. He was also a member of Gandhi Seva Sangh founded by Mahatma Gandhi for six years.

Educational Work

He has taken lead in opening 30 primary schools in Malegaon and Baglan Talukas and founded Malegaon Taluka Primary Education Shikshan Prasarak Mandal which was functional till he was put in Jail in 1942. His wife also joined him to help the famine affected people in Dharapur for six months in 1940. Bidi Workers organisation in Nashik was built by him.

Cultural work

He has been closely associated with many cultural associations of Nashik. He was the President of “Lokhitwadi Mandal ” for 11 years. For beautifying Nashik City, he founded “Vanrai Mitra Mandal” of which he is working as President.

Industries, Economomy and Commerce

His work in Economic field is also substantial. He founded Village Industries Organizations and was the Chief Promoter and Chairman of Federation for many years. He founded District Milk co-operative Society. Government Milk Scheme Nashik is the outcome of his efforts. He organized many conferences to promote commerce and industries at Nashik. In 1958 he founded Nashik Merchants Co-operative Bank and worked as Chief Promoter, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of this bank.

In 1960-62 he worked hard to develop Nashik Industrial Area. Central Co-operative Consumer Society in Nashik City was established in 1965 on his lead. He worked there as Chairman for 2 years. He was the chief promoter of the Nashik Co-operative Sugar factory at Nashik, where he worked as Chairman for many years. He worked as President of Khadi Gramodyog Mandal.

Work in religious field

He supported the renovation of Ramdas Temple at Takli and was the President of Takli Devsthan. He worked for the development of Hanuman Janma Sthan at Anjaneri and founded Hanuman Janma Sthan Vikas Samiti. He was the President of “Sant Vichar Bharati Sanstha” at Nashik. He founded the Sanstha to promote secularism (Sarva Dharma Sam Bhav).