Somnath Shankar Deshpande

Son of Shankar, Nana Saheb Nimonkar, Brahmin, Inspector of Police, Aged 51, 37, Saniwar Peth, Poona. 6th September, 1936

I am the son of Nana Saheb Nimonkar. Our place Nimon is 20 miles off Shirdi. There (at Nimon) we have our Vatan of Deshpande. Shirdi is on our way from or to Kopergaon. And at Shirdi, we have relations. Balvantrao (Father of Madhava Rao Deshpande, i.e. Shyama) was my father’s uncle and loved my father. Once he took my father to Sai Baba saying, “People believe he is a mad fakir. I doubt if he is really mad but you had better go with me, see him and give me your opinion.” Whenever Balvant had gone to see Baba, the latter kept him at a distance by taking up a brickbat and either flinging it or threatening to fling it at him. Thus he kept away people from going into the Mosque where he stayed. But when my father went to see him, he flung no stones and they approached quite close to him. My father’s heart was attracted to Sai as soon as he saw him and on his return home he assured his uncle that Baba was a Saint and not a mad man. The uncle wondered why stones were hurled when he went to Baba formerly but not on the present occasion. “That is because you doubted if he was mad, but I did not ”, said my father. Since then, my father paid annual and later biennial or more frequent visits to baba - as his faith was steadily increasing.

My father was an Honorary Magistrate of Sangamner and there he met Nana Saheb Chandorkar (the Collector’s Chitnis) who also was an admirer of Baba and both would talk together about Baba.

When Nana Saheb Chandorkar started the idea of rebuilding Baba’s Masjid and collected subscriptions, my father contributed his mite and what is more he supervised the building operations. Baba would not let the workmen to go on with the work as he complained of their work and undid their work. The building was long being prevented from completing even its foundation. Baba however had great trust in my father and my father hurried on the work all night when Baba slept at that chavadi.