I feel like an orphan now: Hazare

Eminent social worker Anna Hazare on Saturday May 29, 2010 said he felt like an orphan after the demise of GP Pradhan, who was instrumental in helping create a pressure group during various agitations.

Hazare visited Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar and offered his tribute to the departed socialist leader who passed away on Saturday morning. Pradhan's close friends Rambhau Tupe, Mohan Dharia, Bhai Vaidya, Baba Adhav, ND Patil, Kishor Pawar, Narendra Dabholkar, Subhash Ware, Madan Bafna and Kapil Patil offered their tributes to the departed soul. Many politicians, including chief minister Ashok Chavan, expressed their condolences.

Hazare said it was Pradhan who backed him during the Right To Information (RTI) campaign and did not hesitate to mobilise support for the movement. He said Pradhan held a unique authority by the virtue of his character and values and was always a lighthouse for all the activists in various movements.

Socialist leader Bhai Vaidya recalled that Pradhan at the age of 18 became a socialist and remained so till his last breath. He recalled that Pradhan had participated in Rashtra Seva Dal camp and had delivered an address at the age of 21. He described Pradhan as a true teacher whose greatness reflected through two of his outstanding students -- linguist Ashok Kelkar and Padma recipient PR Dubashi.

'Mahendra treated me like his father'

It was very difficult for Mahendra Girase and Khandu Pawar to control their feelings after Pradhan breathed his last at 5.05 am on Saturday May 29, 2010 morning. These two boys looked after Pradhan Master during his six-year stay at the Sane Guruji Hospital where Pradhan was a trustee. Girase said his father was overwhelmed when Pradhan Sir praised Mahendra. Pradhan had said to Mahendra's father, "You are lucky to have a son like Mahendra who is taking my care like his own father." Khandu said in the last few months, Pradhan Sir had become so fragile that he used to say, "Don't leave my hand, otherwise I would die". Bhai Vaidya said Pradhan Master wanted to end his life on June 11 which is Sane Guruji's death anniversary.

State honour

Before Pradhan's body was donated to the hospital attached to Sumatibai Shah College of Ayurveda, a state honour was paid to the departed socialist leader. As the body was kept on the hospital premises, bugle was sounded to bid adieu to the departed leader. Divisional commissioner Dilip Band and district collector Chandrakant Dalvi laid wreaths on behalf of the government.

Condolence meet

At SM Joshi Foundation, Navi Peth, on June 3, 5.30pm

Shailendra Paranjpe/

"The Man Who Had No Enemy Left Us"

Condolences pour in for veteran socialist leader and freedom fighter G. P. Pradhan who passed away on Saturday May 29, 2010 morning. Terming his death as the losing of a critical link in the socialist thinking, city's guardian minister and state water resources minister Ajit Pawar said he had no enemy.

"Pradhan sir was groomed by S. M. Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore and Achyutrao Patwardhan. He was not only an all rounder leader but also had earned respect from all quarters of public. People will always remember his stint as the leader of opposition in Legislative Council. The service he rendered among Adivasis of Thane district will be always remembered," Pawar said in his message.

He added that Pradhan dedicated his own house to Sadhana, the mouthpiece of socialist party in Maharashtra. He did not have any longings and the society has lost an ideal in him.

Suresh Kalmadi, Member of Parliament said, "An ideal guide has left us in the form of Pradhan sir. Helping the downtrodden to get the justice was his lifelong mission. He lived a life of niskham karmyogi."

Ashok Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra said in his message, "We have lost a cultured and intellectual personality in the form of Pradhan sir. While pursuing his social and political work, he also cultivated the academic activities. He rendered a yeomen service to Marathi literature in the form of intellectual books. His thinking for social and political cause was on till the last breath."

Chhagan Bhujbal, Deputy Chief Minister and Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde also condoled the demise of the senior leader and freedom fighter.

"People like Pradhan Sir had a great impact not only on the society but on generations. He led his entire life on 'simple living high thinking' principle. It is a big loss for all," Deshmukh said.

‘Plant a tree to remember me’

Known as a gentleman politician, G P Pradhan had participated in the 1942 Quit India movement and later underwent
imprisonment during the emergency rule in 1975

By Tanaji Khot / Nitin Brahme

Born on August 26, 1922, as Ganesh Prabhakar Pradhan in a middle-class family that lived in Sadashiv Peth, G P Pradhan was influenced by socialist leaders N G Gore and S M Joshi in his early years.

He was attracted to the Quit India movement floated by Mahatma Gandhi in his college days and he jumped into it.

For this, the British government sent him to Yerwada jail for eleven months. During his jail term, he came across many great personalities like Sane Guruji and his life was transformed.

After serving his tenure in jail, Pradhan resumed his education and completed his Masters degree in Marathi and English literature. He then joined Fergusson College as an English professor. He worked there from 1945 to 1965.

He was a favourite among students during his tenure and was fondly called Pradhan sir.

He was elected to the Pune University senate and left a significant mark on issues in the field of education. In 1965, he resigned as professor and began his second innings in public life.

He was elected from the graduate constituency of the Mahrashtra Legislative Council(MLC) as a socialist party candidate for the first time in 1966.

In 1975 during the emergency, Pradhan raised his voice against it and was put behind bars for 18 months by the government. During this jail term he wrote two Marathi books — Sata Uttarachi Kahani and Bhakari aani Swatantrya.

In 1980, Pradhan became the leader of opposition in the legislative council. He was known as a genuine and learned leader who knew the real issues people in Maharashtra faced.

After he retired from politics, he joined Marathi weekly Sadhna as honourary editor from 1985 to 1998. The weekly was the mouthpiece of the socialist party. Pradhan has written several books in Marathi and English.

In 1965, during the Indo-Pak war he went to the warfront as a journalist with Shirubhau Limaye and then wrote a book called Hajipir.

During Bangladesh war in 1971, he visited various villages in Bangladesh and wrote about it in a book titled Sonar Bangla. He also wrote the biography of Lokmanya Tilak for the National Book Trust.

My friends who love me, should plant a tree in my memory and take care of them for atleast five years,” this was pretty
much the last wish of the socialist, tree-loving writer G P Pradhan.

GP had written a letter to Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the editor of Sadhana and president of Andashradha Nirmulan Samiti. The letter was written on April 5, 2006, when GP lived in the Sane Guruji Hospital Hadapsar.

This letter also reads, ‘This should be published in Sadhana, after my death. I was fortunate to live with Sane Guruji in the Yerwada jail in 1943 and I was able to write for Sadhana with the editor Professor Vasant Bapat and that I was able to do
something for the Sadhana Trust. Sadhana must carry forward the heritage of Sane Guruji and become a mouthpiece of all progressive movements.”

GP as he was fondly called also urged his friends to refrain from erecting any kind of memorials in his memory. In his letter
GP thanks all his friends who loved him, he also asks them to forgive him for whatever wrong he felt he did and finally he writes that he is overwhelmed with gratitude.

After her wife’s death in 2005 GP left his Sadashiv Peth residence and started living at the Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar. He wanted to live with the freedom fighter and his best friend, Rambhau Tupe.

Pune Mirror had reported the move, but after Tupe’s accident he cancelled his decision. On April 1, 2007, he donated his Sadashiv Peth house to the Sadhana Trust and decided to at the hospital forever. When Mirror met him at the hospital, he
was full of life, writing with great vigour about Indian democracy.

GP always felt that people misunderstood his austerity but the fact was that he had childlike emotions, and he will be deeply missed.


Photo: Social activist Anna Hazare pays homage to GP Pradhan at Sane Guruji Hospital on Saturday May 29, 2010 . Courtasy: Indian Express


Veteran socialist leader GP Pradhan passes away in Pune

Pune: Freedom fighter, veteran socialist leader and self-less politician Ganesh Prabhakar Pradhan (87) passed away on Saturday May 29, 2010 morning after prolonged illness at Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar area of Pune. His body and eyes were donated as per his last wish to Sumatibai Shah College of Ayurveda in Hadapsar.

Pradhan was suffering from pneumonia for some time and was admitted to hospital. He was on saline since May 21 and due to dehydration his health deteriorated in the last two days. He was feeling breathless and died at 5.05 am on Saturday morning.

Pradhan had donated his house in Sadashiv Peth for Sadhana Trust and had shifted to Sane Guruji Hospital since June 23, 2004. Secretary of the hospital Anil Gujar informed that he used to reply to all the letters till October 2009 after which his health deteriorated. Pradhan wanted to visit Late Baba Amte’s Anandvan and stay there for some time but could not do so.

Pradhan was influenced by noted socialist leaders Late N G Gorey and Late S M Joshi which brought him to the socialist movement. After completing his graduation he participated in Quit India movement in 1942 and was jailed for 11 months when he was just 22 years old. After release from the jail, he completed his MA (English) and joined Fergusson College where he served for next 20 years.

Pradhan worked as University of Pune Senate member and Syndicate member. This propelled him to legislative council in the year 1966 and Pradhan set an example by resigning his job for contesting election. He was elected for three consecutive terms on the legislative council where he also worked as leader of opposition. Pradhan again set an example by refusing to contest for the fourth time from graduates constituency and devoting his life for working as editor of Weekly Sadhana, which was founded by Late Sane Guruji.

He served as president of Mahatma Gandhi Lokseva Sangh for 11 years between 1988 and 1999. He was president of Maharashtra Granthalaya Sangh for three terms between 1967 and 1971. He presided over Maharashtra Arogya Mandal between 1990 and 1999 which runs the Sane Guruji Hospital. Pradhan retired from active politics in 1985 and served as Sadhana editor for 13 years between 1985 and 1998.

Pradhan had penned more than 30 books including 6 books in English. He had delivered public lectures on Shakespere’s famous plays. He has written books highlighting contributions of leaders like Leo Tolstoy, Lokmanya Tilak, among others. He also reported from the battle-front during 1965 Indo-Pak war.

- Shailendra Paranjpe / DNA

Ganesh Prabhakar Pradhan (87)

Pradhan had devoted his life to the socialist ideology. He not only preached it but practised it throughout his life. He was fondly known as Pradhan master in socialist circle.

Born on August 26, 1922, he completed his BA (Honours) in 1942 and then joined ‘Quit India’ movement when he was jailed for 11 months. In 1945, he completed MA in English and Marathi.

He began teaching in Fergusson College in 1945 and continued till 1965. He left the job to join politics and began working for socialist party. He was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1966 from graduates’ constituency. The University of Pune had conferred D Lit on him in 1998.

He was successively elected as an MLC in 1972 and 1978 from the same constituency. He was the leader of the Opposition in Assembly from 1980 to 1982. He was jailed for 18 months during Emergency from June 1975 to January 1977.

He retired from Assembly in 1984 even as he was offered candidature from his party to join as an honorary editor of Sadhana magazine. He worked in Sadhana till 1998 and voluntarily vacated his post once he turned 75. He worked as chairman of Mahatma Gandhi Lokseva Sangh, Maharashtra Arogya Mandal and Maharashtra Granthalay Parishad.

In 2006, he decided to retire from public life and refused to participate in public gatherings. He donated his house and shifted to Sane Guruji Hospital.

Pradhan wrote extensively on social movements, issues and biographies of great leaders of India.

His Marathi books Lokmanya Tilak, Swatantryasangramache Mahabharat and Sata Uttarachi Kahani received many awards, including state awards. Pandit Nehru Jeevandarshan, Bhakari Ani Swatantrya, Sane Guruji, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Tolstoychi Patre, Lokshahi Ani Samajvad, Mazi Vatchal, Tolstoy, Satyagrahi Gandhiji, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Tyanchyach Shabdat Mala Samajlele... and Agarkar Lekh Sangraha are some of his other prominent books.

‘No memorial, just plant a tree’

“Please do not set up any memorial after my death. Plant a tree in my memory...” G P Pradhan had written four years back to Narendra Dabholkar, editor of Sadhana magazine, where he once worked as honorary editor.

“ friends who love me should plant a tree and manage it for five years after my death,” he had written.

He had also expressed a wish that Sadhana should become the mouthpiece of all progressive movements.

Recalling his generosity, one of the many great qualities Pradhan was known for, his close associate Rajendra Bahalkar said, “Pradhan sir was so selfless he used to donate almost all his various pensions to social movements and the needy. In the last ten years, he donated around Rs 20 lakh to various organisations and persons. He used to get pension as an ex-MLC, freedom fighter and retired college professor besides royalty from his books. He used to donate most of the money.”

“Pradhan sir had a great moral standing in society and every politician admired him. He carried forward the legacy of Sane Guruji. He never compromised on principles,” said Dabholkar.

“During his stay in Sane Guruji Hospital, though he was a trustee, he used to pay his monthly bills well on time,” said a cashier at the hospital.

Socialist leader Baba Adhav said he had lost a guide and friend. “Pradhan was a living example of a person who devoted his life to democratic socialism. He used all weapons of socialist movement to fight injustice.”

Social crusader Anna Hazare said, “A meeting with Pradhan sir used to charge activists like us. His death is a great loss to society. Activists like us feel orphaned.”

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar and Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athavale, in their messages, paid tribute to Pradhan.

Leaders cutting across political parties, social activists and prominent citizens including Bhai Vaidya, Rambhau Tupe, N D Patil, Kishor Pawar, Taher Poonawala, Dadasaheb Naiknavare, Narendra Dabholkar, Pannalal Surana, Mohan Dharia, Gajanan Khatu, Subhash Vare, Anvar Rajan, Madhukar Nirfarake, Kumar Saptarshi, Shivajirao Giridhar Patil, Ramesh Bagwe, Ramesh Wanjale, Neelam Gorhe, Vandana Chavan, Ulhas Pawar, Prakash Ambedkar and Jaydev Gaikwad paid their last respects.

- Express News Service/Indian Express

photo: Pune

Lok Shakti Abhiyan and Samjvadi Jan Parishad urges immediate stop to all projects undertaken by Vedanta

Bhubaneswar, March 22, 2010: The Lok Shakti Abhiyan( LSA), Orissa which has consistently brought out all kinds of violations of established laws of the land by Vedanta Alumina in Lanjigarh for the last 4-5 years and the Samajvadi Jan Parishad (SJP) together have condemned the undemocratic, unconstitutional, anti-tribal and anti-nature attitude of the Nabin Pattnaik government which continues to cover up crimes committed by Vedanta despite the facts that government appointed teams have brought out serious allegations against the erring company. Sri Prafulla Samantara, President,LSA and Sri Lingaraj, National Secretary, SJP have called for immediate action against all those involved in the crimes committed by Vedanta. It was Sri Samantara’s petition which had brought the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Apex Court’s Forest Bench to investigate into allegations of violations by Vedanta in which the administration was party to the crime at all levels starting from the office of the district collector to that of the Chief Minister. The irregularities and violations of Vedanta had been clearly brought to the light by the CEC teams which no Court under the sun would have ignored. But Vedanta proved to be far above all institutions of democracy in India. In 2007 and 2008, when the Apex Court ignored all facts and gave a verdict in favour of Vedanta, Sri Samantara had expressed his concerns over the process of trial and justice delivery system in the Supreme Court. Now, The Hindustan Times of 21st march 2010 reports Sri Jairam Ramesh’s statement in the following words: “To my mind, there does not appear to be any other case where the court had overruled the CEC report”.

The CEC in its report had suggested that Niyamgiri should not be allowed for mining activities because of its rich biodiversity, the two major rivers (Bansadhara and Nagabali) of South Orissa which originate from it, the primitive Dongaria tribes who live in and on the mountain. The CEC did also mention its displeasure over the manner in which the Vedanta project had been handled by the State government which was in hurry to see that no hurdles came on the way of Vedanta. It even accused the MOEF for separating the plant from the mining project and allowing the plant to come up in Lanjigarh though there was no clearance given to the company for mining Niyamgiri. The Apex Court ignored the recommendations of its own experts it had appointed to provide them with all necessary wisdom to deliver justice in forest related cases.

Vedanta has always behaved as if the Chief Minister of the state is his servant and would follow all the dictates of Anil Agrawal. The CM or his deputies or his advisors have never negated this impression directly or indirectly. This allowed Vedanta to unleash a reign of terror in Niyamgiri and Lanjigarh region. The SP, Collector, and Conservator all have become party to the violations done by Vedanta. They have even suggested how to escape after committing such violations. Vanshdhara has been polluted causing immense miseries for people sourcing water from it, villagers around Lanjigarh are suffering badly because of air pollution and many deaths have been reported. Those who raise voice are arrested on false charges. Recently 5 dalit women with their dependent children were arrested on robbery charges. Sri Samantara and others have been physically assaulted by Vedanta goons. It was primarily because of the Forest Rights Act of 2006 and visit undertaken by Dr.Usha Ramnathan who could not be bought over; the whole world could come to know that what Vedanta is mining in Orissa is not happiness but miseries for the common men though a section of the ruling party politicians and city elites in the state continue to benefit a lot from it in the name of preserving art, sports and culture.

In the light of the recent developments, starting from the CEC report to that of the withdrawal of Norwegian Pension fund and Church of England’s investment in Vedanta, followed by a couple of withdrawals from the company by reputed investors accusing Vedanta of gross human rights violations doubly confirmed by Amnesty International’s fact based report to that of the final stroke made by Dr.Usha Ramnathan confirming all the allegations made against Vedanta as true, Sri Samantara and Sri Lingaraj have made the following appeals to state and central governments, leaders of all political parties, leaders of all mass movements, intellectuals and media chiefs to ensure:

1. Immediate halt to all projects undertaken by Vedanta in Orissa.

2. Dismissal and arrest of all administrative, forest, revenue and police officials who have been influenced by Vedanta to manufacture reports and statements in favour of Vedanta and all those who have suppressed information in any pretext.

3. Action against State Pollution Control Board officials for cooperating with Vedanta in wrongful activities.

4. On March 10, the collectors of Rayagada and Kalahandi have manufactured a clear lie and shared the same with MOEF through the state government that no forest rights claims have been filed by the people in the area, but reports suggest that (I) wherever tribals have filed forest rights claims their claims have been rejected without conveying them the reasons for doing so, (ii)and in most cases as reported by Dr.Usha Ramntathan the illiterate tribals even don’t know that such a rights exists. Both collectors have acted under influence which needs to be investigated in to and exemplary punishment be given to prevent subversion of laws of the land under corporate influence.

5. The conduct of the Chief Minister and the election funding of Biju Janata Dal must be investigated in to by CBI or credible person of the highest judiciary to find out the facts preventing the party and its chief from taking any action against Vedanta.

6. All reports against Vedanta should be published in simpler Oriya and Dongria language and widely circulated in the affected region to enable people know the real nature of the government and if it is really serving the interests of the people.

All those involved in the Vedanta cases supporting its wrongful and unconstitutional activities must be punished in order to convince the people that democratic institutions can’t be subverted for making private profit the sole aim, asserted both the leaders..

Prafulla Samantara and Lingaraj
A/3, Unit-9, Kharavela Nagar, Bhubaneswar-751022, 9437259005/9437056029

Courtasy: Digambara , Kalahandia