Ramdas Ganesh Bhatkal (b.1935)


Educated in Bombay (now Mumbai) at the Robert Money School, Elphinstone College and the University of Bombay. After a Masters degree in Political Science and a degree in law, he has obtained a doctorate from the University of Mumbai for his dissertation on `Gandhi and His Adversaries with special reference to Savarkar and Ambedkar’ in 2007. He is a visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Institute of Gandhian Studies, Wardha for Gandhian Philosophy.
Edited `Political Alternatives in India’ (1967). `Snakes and Ladders’ (1998) and ‘Alternate Strategies for India’s Development’ (1997).


Started working in the family business, Popular Book Depot, established in 1924. In 1952 started getting involved in the publishing activities of the firm and developed the publishing wing into the most significant independent publishing house in India. The institution, now in 85th year of existence has grown in various directions.

In 1961 went to England for professional training with the English Universities Press. In 1962 established Popular Prakashan as an independent unit concentrating on publishing in English and Marathi.  In English, the unit has published books in the field of social sciences based on a high level of academic research and an acute sense of social awareness.  In the field of political science, biographies, history and current affairs there is a strong sense of democratic commitment. In the field of medicine, Populars have played a pioneering role in replacing British and American books with those authored by Indian doctors. In Marathi, Popular is associated with most of the great writers of the last five decades. Popular is involved in multi-lingual publishing in the field of Children’s’ books, cookery books, etc. Is the Chairman of the Kolkata based firm Bhatkal & Sen which publishes under the imprints Stree and Samya books in English and Bengali.

Audio-visual Publishing

Populars have done pioneering work in the field of audio-visual publishing.  Their Marathi serial `Paulkhuna' on Mumbai Doordarshan has been much acclaimed and has been released in the form of videocassettes. `Paulkhuna' was conceived by Ramdas Bhatkal and directed by Amol Palekar. Recently, `Bombay Lawyers’ a Hindi serial written and directed by Satyajit Bhatkal was produced by Popular Prakashan for NDTV India.

Popular Prakashan, under Harsha Bhatkal is also playing a significant role in the world of Visual Arts and has organized art exhibitions and launched an art book-publishing programme.


Presided over the Marathi Prakashak Sammelan in 1986; was president of the Bombay Booksellers and Publishers Association and of the Federation of Indian Publishers. He was the Chairman of the Export Promotion Council for Books.
In 1993 was awarded by Varnamala, Orissa, Prakash Bharati Samman, for publication of works of translation.
Among the life Achievemrnent awards for Marathi publishing are the Maharashtra Foundation Puraskar (1994), V.P. Bhagvat Puraskar ( 19xx), Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan Honours (19xx). The first awardee of Shri Pu Bhagvat Utkrishta Prakashak Puraskar was Ramdas Bhatkal/Popular Prakashan in 2009.
Federation of Indian Publishers awarded in 1995  `Distinguished Publishers Award for publishing in English'.

Theatre, Music and Literature

A keen student of Theatre, he was a Drama critic for The Times of   India (1969-72). He   has written extensively on Theatre in Marathi & English. Contributor to the Oxford History of Marathi Theatre.

`Jigsaw:  Study in   Friendship' is his first published work in Marathi  (1997) His second book `Mohanmaya: Gandhi aani Tyancha Mitraparivar (2007) has been much acclaimed. Both he books have received State awards His play ‘Jagadamba’ is published and staged in 2009.

He had training in Hindustani Classical vocal music from of Pandit S.C.R. Bhat for twenty-eight years. He has also received guidance from Pandit Dinkar Kaikini and Pandit Yaswant Mahale of Agra Gharana and Pandit Balasaheb Poochwalre of Gwalior Gharana.  Has given vocal recitals in Hindusthani classical music in various centers.

He is the Founding President of Antarbharati Anuvaad Suvidha Kendra under the auspices of Sane Guruji Rashtriya Smarak Trust.






Mr. Harsha Ramdas Bhatkal, born on 15th August 1962 - a book publisher at heart, leads his 85 year old family publishing house, Popular Prakashan,. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai and has 25 years experience in publishing and marketing industry. Apart from this he has been involved with several businesses.  He is now a Whole time Director of Talwalkars Better Value Fitness, India's leading operator of gyms having over 130 gyms in 70 cities. He is a passionate collector of contemporary Indian art and is also Chairman of Foundation B&G, nonprofit entity dedicated to creating awareness for visual arts through publishing projects, special exhibitions and artist’s workshops.

He has worked as a business journalist for Update magazine before joining his family business Popular Prakashan Private Limited as Sales Manager. He took over Value Added News Service a fledgling business database service and went on to create Vans Information Limited http://www.bseindia.com/stock-share-price/in-house-productions-ltd/in-house-prod/526610/ one of the pioneers in the electronic information services in India. He has won several awards; including the Paul Hamlyn scholarship for young Indian publishers and also the Award for excellence by the Federation of Indian Publishers to young Indian publishers. He is responsible for brand strategy and overall brand building for Talwalkar’s Better Value Fitness.

He is also a founder promoter of Brainworks Educational Learning, a leading preschool company in India respected for its excellent curriculum and now having 72 schools across India. He is now involved with global expansion of Indian Cookery Private Limited, a A restaurant company in association with celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Indian Cookery Private Limited currently has 40 restaurants in 5 countries. He lives in Mumbai with wife, Smeeta and daughters Tanvi and Mitalee.

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