Also known as Annasaheb Maharishi Karve, Dhondo Keshav was a devoted social reformer and educationist. He dedicated his life for the upliftment of widows and himself married a widow to prove his sincerity for the cause. He founded several institutions to promote widow marriage and women’s education.

Some of these were the Vidhva Vivahottejak Mandali (Society for the Promotion of Widow Remarriage) in 1893, which was named as Vidhva Vivaha Pratibandh Nivarak Mandali (Society for Removal of Hin­drances to Widow Remarriage) in 1895; Mahisashrams (Widow Homes) in 1898; Mahila Vidyalaya (School for Women) in 1907; Nishkam Karma Math (Monastery of Disinterested Work) in 1908; Indian Women’s University in 1916; and the Samata Sangh (Association for Promotion of Equality) in 1944. In 1955, Dhondo Keshav received the Padma Vibhushan and in 1958, he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna.