Together we can

For ages, we as human beings have known the importance and power of cooperation. But its moment of realisation came when Barrister Dhananjay Gadgil, Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil, Padmashri Vasantdada Patil and other stalwarts laid the foundation of Maharashtra’s cooperative movement. But Lokmanya Tilak was the first one to introduce the idea of a “Swadeshi Store”. It was the beginning of the dream of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Inspired by his efforts, India’s first cooperative society took shape in 1917, in the form of Deccan Merchants Co-op Credit Society Ltd., Mumbai. Unfortunately, Lokmanya Tilak’s crucial contribution to the cooperative movement, didn’t get its due.

The cooperative movement transformed many sectors. From small credit cooperative societies to large cooperative banks, cooperative sugar mills, milk societies, textile mills and animal husbandry centres stand tall even today and continue to bring a positive change to the lives of the people. The nation, the state of Maharashtra, and especially Western Maharashtra witnessed a significant economic transformation. Going beyond the economic impact, the benefits of cooperation have been felt in the social sphere as well. It has taught people, important lessons in equality, brotherhood and self-reliance. In fact, the cooperative movement has transformed the education sector as well.

From 1970-75, Belgaum witnessed the emergence of the cooperative movement. A number of small and big cooperative credit societies came into existence. As the voice of the people of Belgaum, Tarun Bharat supported many such cooperative societies, and tried to underline the importance of this idea of cooperation.

People witnessed many big projects being run successfully, based on the cooperative model. The social impact of these cooperative societies led to the realisation that this movement can empower people, economically as well. “There’s no progression without cooperation”, became people’s motto.