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Monday, November 15, 2010

Gandhian LC Jain passes away...

He was 85 and suffering from illness for over a year this morning's news papers inform us (link, link). But, Sri. Jain was much younger at heart and one of the last symbols of what Gandhian's were, in their lifestyle, their way of working and attitude to people.

I had been introduced to him by a friend and when he first met and enquire what I did in his elegant Gandhian way (most Gandhians of a certain era had this elegant charm about them, Dharampal did), he quickly got into the family details, 'are you happy?', 'can you sustain?', 'is your family supportive?', the query that is always asked of any youngster by a generation of people who knew what it was to suffer under less resources.

I have had the privilege to have met with him several times at his impressive and simple residence in Bangaluru and he always had a appreciative work, 'if you want I will vacate my space for you', 'call me whenever you want, if my body permits I will be there',...the kind of encouragement that is rare amongst people of such illustrious accomplishments. He had at one time spoken with great enthusiasm about the work he and Dharampal did under Kamala Markendeya in the refugee camps in Delhi immediately after the Partition and Freedom.

The last time I had a long meeting with him was along with Sri. J. Prabhakar, the coordinator of a network of volunteers across Tamilnadu. He heard him out and turned to me and said with a glitter in his eyes, 'so, you have come to flaunt to me how rich you are interacting and working with all these amazing people' and laughed heartily. The humour is another characteristic feature of such elders. He told JP clearly at that meeting, 'these people whom you work with, these are the real government of this country, don't think or talk about petitioning. I have no hopes that the Government in the Centre or any State will be able to help the people any longer, their priorities and ideas are all different, people will have to help themselves'. His life long passion and much of his work seems to have been in de-centralization and Swaraj as a vision.

While on that, he was also against Social Activists entering the political arena. He once named couple of prominent social activists whom he had dissuaded from entering the political arena because he maintained that their influence in society would come down if they enter the parliament in its current status.

When Dharampal died, he wrote a fond letter recollecting their joint work and saying, 'I will meet you someday in a different world, my friend', he will be among several friends in another world I am sure. This world is poorer by another endearing Gandhian; and the Gandhian values of Swadeshi and Swaraj lost another prominent voice.

Condolences to Madam Devaki Jain and his two sons, Gopalkrishna Jain and Srinivasan Jain.

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