Dr Laxmanrao Kokardekar, D.P.E (Berlin)
In July 1929 H.V.P.Mandal sent Dr. kokardekar to germany specially for the study of Physical Education. For 3 ½ yrs he studied at Berlin College under Principal Karl Diem. In a few days he became a favorite student. In 1932 after the completion of the studies he came back to India with a degree in his bag. He toured the whole India and surveyed the condition of Physical Education in India. He prepared his own plan for the study of physical education and discussed it with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya who was very much impressed by it. Dr. Kokardekar formed Regional Sports and Athletic Board for Central Provinces and Berar. With missionary zeal he started publishing articles, delivering lectures and sponsoring discussions everywhere in C.P. and Berar on the duty and role of Municipal Council and district board and the university. The purpose behind it was to convince the people to prepare the background for P.E. and seek unification of it. This campaign was so powerful and effective that Nagpur University created one post of Director of Physical Education and appointed Dr. Kokardekar himself as a Director. Later on when Congress assumed power in department of Physical Education and appointed him as Chief Organiser. Afterwards when the Congress Ministry resigned the Governor closed down the department and sent him back to the University.
While serving with the M.P. Govt. he went to Tripuri Congress taking one month’s leave to shoulder the responsibility of organizing volunteers. The team of organizers, Mr. Salpale, Mr. Gijare and Mr. K.B. Deshpande all sent by the Mandal.
It was Dr. Kokardekar who persuaded Subhash Babu to invite H.V.P.M. team for demonstrating Physical Education. The original idea of spreading and propagating Physical Education through team demonstrations was of Dr. Kokardekar. It was Dr. Kokardekar who inculcated the idea in the minds of the members that the Physical Education demonstrations should aim at capturing the minds of the spectators. And for that they should adopt certain devices. At the same time they should change with time. Accordingly, he established the president of changing the programmed but on the lines of Physical Educations.
Dr. Kokardekar was the official of the Regional Olympic Association. He was member of the executive of the Indian Olympic Association. He was the Director or the Board of Physical Welfare, Nagpur University. He was the member of Royal life Saving society, London, and German Life Saving Society.
Before joining H.V.P.M. on the call of Mahatma Gandhi he boycotted Govt. High School in 1920 and started village to village campaign to spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi of non- cooperation.
For four years from 1922 to 1926 he was with Mahatma Gandhi in Sabarmati Ashram. It was through this discipline that Mr. Kokardekar imbibed selflessness and relentless working. During this period he obtained the degree of Gujrat University under the guidance of Acharya Kaka Kalelkar.
In 1924 Malbar saw heavy floods. The relief operations were entrusted to Mr. Kokardekar by Mahatmaji.
In 1928 April in Convening Berar Youth Federation he had Lion’s share. Dr. Hardikar from Hubli was the president. Immediately after this on 10th of May “Fight for freedom Day” (Swatantra Sangram Din) was celebrated with enthusiasm.
There was indications of the development of Dr. Kokardekar’s multidimensional personality that was going to unfold and give its maximum advantage to promote the interests of Physical Education in India. It was just heralded by these activities still lay ahead. But as cruel luck would have it he died of accident before his services could be utilised to further the cause of Physical Education. He was crused under the military truck. Thus latent force was nipped in the bud. Every lover of Physical Education in Nagpur University was plunged into grief. The H.V.P.M. lost in him one of the main architects of this monument. It seemed the clouds of danger had started assuming frightening dimension on the distant horizon of the Mandal.