Skip to main content

Top Gandhian and Modi critic Narayan Desai passes away in Vedchhi, South Gujarat

By Our Representative
Well-known Gandhian Narayan Desai and a firm Modi critic, who became famous for his Gandhi Katha, a story-telling mode for religious preaching, has passed away. Born on December 24, 1924 in Valsad in South Gujarat, Desai breathed last in the wee hours of March 15 in a town situated not very far, Vedcchi, where Mahatma Gandhi founded one of his many ashrams. He was son of Gandhi's personal secretary and biographer Mahadev Desai.
Last of the towering Gandhians of Gujarat, Desai was brought up at Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, and Sevagram, near Wardha. He stopped attending school to be educated and trained by his father and other residents of the Ashram. He specialized in basic education, spinning and weaving khadi.
A sharp critic of Narendra Modi's chief ministership, Desai said in an interview that he loved Gujarat but was "not proud" of Gujarat. He said, he would not support Modi "because he has not shown any regret for the violence in 2002 in Ahmedabad."
Worse, he said, "Not only that, (Modi) conducted a tour in which he addressed about 164 meetings and called it a Gaurav Yatra -- a pilgrimage of pride. Pride of what? Killing of one's own people in his own state?"
A supporter of Gandhi's idea of dissolving the Congress, Desai turned to the Aam Admi Party (AAP), offering it "conditional support" by deciding to go in for voter education programme for AAP.
Desai married to Uttara Chaudhury, daughter of freedom fighter parents, Nabakrushna and Malatidevi Chaudhury. He moved to Vedchhi, then a tribal village, immediately thereafter, to work as teachers in a Nai Taleem school.
Following the Bhoodan (land gift) movement launched by Vinoba Bhave, Desai traversed through the length and breadth of Gujarat by foot, seeking to collect land from the rich in order to distribute it among the landless. He started Bhoodan mouthpiece "Bhoomiputra" (Son of the Soil) and remained its editor till 1959.
Desai joined the Akhil Bharatiya Shanti Sena Mandal (Indian Peace Brigade), founded by Bhave, and headed by veteran socialist Jayaprakash Narayan. As general secretary of Shanti Sena, Desai recruited and trained "peace volunteers" in order to intervene in ethnic conflicts and help establish harmony among conflicting communities. He was also involved in the setting up of Peace Brigades International.
Desai was an active campaigner against the Emergency, and brought out a magazine defying the prevailing censorship law. He played an important role in the formation of Janata Party, a conglomeration of non-Congress political parties in India, which included the then Jana Sangh (now BJP), and helped arrive at a consensus on the name of Morarji Desai as Prime Minister.
Following Narayan's death, Narayanbhai moved back to Vedchhi and set up the Institute for Total Revolution to impart training in non-violence and Gandhian way of life. As part of his tribute to his father, he wrote a four-volume biography of Gandhi in Gujarati, a dream his father could not fulfill in his lifetime because of his sudden death in prison on August 15, 1942.
Desai started Gandhi Katha in 2004 to spread message of Mahatma Gandhi. His Katha is compiled in a book form. In the last phase of his life, he became chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith. Due to health issues, he resigned from the post from a hospital in Surat, where he was hospitalised for several months before he was brought to Vedcchi.

Comments

TRENDING

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.