Professor Manikrao (1878 - 1954)
In this brave and affluent family, a son who was named Gajanan was born on December 31st, 1878, later to become the famous Rajratna, Rajpriya, Prof. Manikrao. His father’s name was Yeshwant and mother’s name was Sitabai.
From his very childhood, Gajanan was intelligent and extraordinarily smart and active. Gajanan started his primary schooling at the age of eight and as the custom was those days, started attending Akhada (gymnasium) regularly. The Akhada he attended at Warashia, Baroda was run by a highly skilled wrestler and exponent of Indian Marshal Arts known as Jummadada.
After completion of his primary education, Gajanan was asked by his father Yeshwantrao, what he would like to do further? Spontaneous but firm, came the reply that he would like to learn various arts of Physical education. Such a reply amongst affluent families was unheard of in those days as education was given more importance over physical fitness. Looking to Gajanan’s firmness and great enthusiasm in the field of physical education and knowing the capabilities of Guru Jummadada, whom Yeshwantrao knew well, conceded to Gajanan’s demand and thus started the new era of revival of the lost Indian glory of Physical education and fitness and of Indian Marshal Arts.
Over a period of next twelve years, Jummadada saw to it that Gajanan became an expert not only in wrestling, malkham and martial arts which Jummadada knew and taught to Gajanan but also got him trained through other experts in the art of Binnot (Unique Martial art of making armed warrior unarmed) which is now extinct and also the Unani therapy to make Gajanan efficient Hakim (Unani practitioner). While undergoing the physical training, Gajanan also learnt different languages such as Sanskrit, Farsi, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Guajarati and Marathi. All this helped him in understanding his subjects well and express himself to make common man understand the importance of physical education.
His Guru Jummadada used to call him “Bhai” (Bhai), which perhaps got converted into “Bhau” ( Bhau - in Marathi means brother), and he then became Bhau for everybody. He passed away in the year May 25th, 1954 leaving behind a huge gathering of his followers. Several new institutions were opened by his disciples in various parts of India, and these along with Shree Jummadada Vyayam Mandir of Baroda makes him immortal.