We aredeeply sorry to record in these columns the death of Mr. Shinde at Poona which happened on Sunday last. Annasaheb Shinde, as he was known, appeared to be well-stricken in years though, as we know now, he was only seventy years old, born as he was on the 23rd April 1873. After completing his education and taking his B.A. Degree, he was drawn to the tenets of theism as expounded by the Prarthana Samaj, and especially by Bhandarkar, Ranade, and kelkar. The Present writer has heard him preaching from the pulpit of the Prarthana Samaj prior to his leaving for England to study theology at the Manchester College, Oxford, and prior to his work later, for a number of years in Bombay, as a missionary of the Church. He has also attended his weekly classes where he expounded to the students Prof. Rhys David’s lectures on Buddhism, the Depressed classes Mission of India sponsored by the Prarthana Samaj with its School at Parel for the children of the depressed classes. Sir Narayan Chandavarkar, Mr. Shinde and, later on, Mr. Sohoni will ever be remembered in connection with that noble work for the uplift of the depressed classes. The Samaj has never stood for caste and has never looked upon any human being as an untouchable. The school at parel under the guidance of Mr. Sohoni was run on that principle and did a great deal of useful constructive work to spread light among those who needed it most. The Samaj was a pioneer in this work of anti-untouchability, and Mr. Shinde’s name has become associated for all time to come with the emancipation and uplift of the fallen and the depressed primarily from the fact that, as a missionary of the Samaj, he plunged himself whole heartedly in the activity of the Samaj in connection with the Depressed classes Mission in India. His later years were psent in Poona, and his work in Bhokarwadi where he founded The Ahilya-Ashram, gave him a place in the heart of the backward classes in the city. In that relation he was drawn to the Harijan movement started by Mr. Gandhi after 1920, and later, went to jail in connection with the non-co-operation movement of 1930. But soon, as we have reason to believe, he was cured of that megalomania, and when the writer saw him in Poona, only a few years ago, he found Mr. Shinde his former self, standing for truth, sincerity, charity, love and independence, as reason and sentiment fused together could reveal them to him, rather than as he saw them through the eyes of another, however great that other person may be. As a result of this disillusionment, there had come into his utterances and writings a strain of bitterness, if not of total disappointment.
Mr. Shinde was a kind and generous soul aware of his limitations, and humble, and, for that very reason, really great. His life as lived for a noble cause that he had made his own. It was marked by preserverence in spite of the apathy he met with among those who should pursue it with tenacity and will. His conversation no less than his platform speeches had a flair all their own. They were refreshingly frank, and fress from cant of any kind. He has gone to his rest after living like a servant of God, and we have no doubt all honest and earnest men will cherish his name with gratitude and love. “Perish discretion when it interferes with duty” – that was his motto. He reverenced the highest, had patience with the lowest, and believed and wrought in the spirit “that this day’s performance of the meanest duty be thy religion”. His Soul, we feel sure, will find its rest and peace in the higher realm where he has gone, for he has done his task here with zeal and patience, with fear of God in his heart, and with love fo fellowman. He has not worked for self, power, or popularity; he had his crosses in life; and he has lived true to his conviction all life. Not success but this staunchness counts after ail in the last reckoning of life. Thus he was weighed, and was not found wanting. And hence this tribute of love and reverence to his memory.