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KAKA HALWAI the Sweetness of Pune for the Sixth Generations

Sachin Gadve, his brother Sameer and cousins Siddharth, Animish, Abhijit and Ashutosh have everything among them in terms of modern accounting practices, business acumen, technical ability, managerial skills and above all, zeal to succeed. No surprise then that one often hears professional terms like backward integration, QC, R&D popping up in the discussions with them. Money for them, is an essential part of life and business, but not the sole objective of them. It is the family values and busi

     Way back in circa 1892, Morappasheth Gadve, a resident of Pune entered business. One of his close friends, the now famous Dagdusheth Halwai had a running business of making sweets and thereby earning the moniker Halwai (maker of sweets). When Morappasheth expressed his wish to enter some business, Dagdusheth offered to start a sweet shop under his brand name in partnership with Morappasheth. Little did he know, or for that matter even Morappasheth didn’t know, that nearly a century and a half later this story would become a part of the great history of Pune.

     The Gadve family originally hailed from a small village named Par, situated at the base of the historic Pratapgarh. It was time when the source of constant inspiration for the state of Maharashtra and indeed all the Marathi speaking people even today, Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj had established his Hindavi Swarajya against all odds. The village Par has an even more ancient history through a temple that is believed to date back to 5000 years ago.                                           


            The ancestors of Morappasheth Gadve were, naturally, serving Shivaji Maharaj. Their job was to take care of his shibandi or the horses. Sometime later, Chhatrapati Maharaj transferred the Gadve family out of their village to another village, Jeur-Mandki. They were entrusted the care of 500 horses and to cover the cost as well as in the form of remuneration, the family was awarded 40 acres of land.

            Several generations later, after 1818 when the Peshwa rule in came to an end at the hands of the British, the Gadve family moved to Pune. Towards the end of the 19th century, Morappasheth Gadve had become a respected man in Pune. That was the time when legends like Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the great mathematician, writer, thinker, political and social leader and a leading freedom fighter and Dagdusheth Halwai, who was one of the most generous philanthropic businessman of his time, were in their full glory. Morappasheth Gadve was close to both these towering personalities. He was respectfully called Kaka (paternal uncle) in his circle and the name stuck.

            Later, in 1930, Kaka’s elder son Somnath Gadve took part in a Court auction to buy a shop near the Datta Mandir, close to the vegetable market even today known as Mandai in the heart of Pune. Before that, he withdrew from the partnership of Dagdusheth to chart his own course in life.

            Although it was a fresh inning and a fresh beginning, the nature of business was the same. Somnath Gadve did not want to lose the goodwill of his father and the legacy and experience he had left behind in sweet making. In order to carry forward the legacy and also as a mark of respect and remembrance of his father, Somnath Gadve named his new shop Kaka Halwai. He started making and selling items like Khawa Burfi and its variants like Mango Burfi, Almond Burfi etc.

            Those were the days of the Marathi musical plays called Kirloskar Natak Mandali as the movies were taking baby steps as yet. These musical plays used to go on well into the nights and at times even early mornings. Since there were two theatres in the area, Kaka Halwai, the shop, usually had late night/early morning customers. They were the people who walked back home after the show, discussing the music, the singing caliber of the cast, the stars etc. They usually stopped at Kaka Halwai to have some late night snack of sweets. The shop took off. Soon, Somnath Gadve’s younger brother Shankar joined him and shared his responsibility.

            In 1943, Somnath Gadve passed away.                                      


            He had three sons, named after the Ramayana protagonist brothers, Ramchandra, Laxman and Bharat. The eldest brother Ramchandra took over the mantle of the family business after his father’s sudden demise, allowing the younger ones to continue their education.

            After completing their education though, they followed their brother into the family business dutifully. Incidentally, the entire Gadve clan has stupassed away in the same school, Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya, famous by its acronym NuMaVi. As many as five generations of the Gadve family have passed out from this school

            In the year 1952, Ramchandra’s younger brother Laxman opened a second Kaka Halwai shop in Pune, in the Deccan Gymkhana area, the affluent area? of those days.

            In 1963, Ramchandra Gadve passed away, leaving three sons behind. His brother Laxman took over the reins of the business because Ramchandra’s and his own children were still in school. After five years, in 1968, even Laxmanrao Gadve passed away.

            Uncle of Ramchandra and Laxman and brother of Kaka Halwai, Shankarrao Gadve was blessed with a long life and all along he remained behind the brothers. He then continued the business till 1971, when he too passed away.

            In a span of eight years, three elders in the family had passed away. Usually, this could have meant an end to the business; however, just after the death of his uncle Laxman, eldest son of Ramchandra, Surendra had passed out of school after his matriculation and had started looking afte Read More

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