Skip to main content

Kantibhai Mistry: Gujarat's 'determined' grassroots-level environmental, social activist

Kantibhai Mistry (middle) with Geetaben and Rohit Prajapati
By Rohit Prajapati*
Kantibhai Mistry left this world on Friday, February 28, 2020. He hailed from an ordinary working class family and was principally and passionately associated with numerous fields such as workers movement, Jyoti Karmchari Mandal, Vadodara Kamdar Union.
Not being restricted to these, he was also associated with the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Radical Socialist, movement against the pollution of Sabarmati River, movement against Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project, communal harmony and so on.
He not only played a crucial supporting role in all these struggles, but also stood strong as a committed and unpretentious activist against all adversaries and adversities. Amongst all of us, he was a 70-year-old young activist. He has also made significant contribution in terms of supporting the works of Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan), a feminist group.
Kantibhai and Geetaben (life partner), together, were also part of many movements like Apna Dhaba, an admirable experiment for the promotion of food made from organic products, where this couple jointly played the crucial role as the main advocates and gained much popularity. It is important to acknowledge their revolutionary efforts for Apna Dhaba enterprise, which gained much acclaim in newspapers.
A trade union activist, Kantibhai was actively involved with the issue of workers' health while constantly being there at the Employees State Insurance (ESI) hospital of Vadodara for help, assistance and support to the ordinary workers. He was popular among the staff, doctors, and workers of the ESI main hospital, Gotri, Vadodara.
He was not only actively involved with labour courts, but also with environmental issues in the Supreme Court, the Gujarat High Court, and the National Green Tribunal. He especially remained present, silently and rock solid, on almost all the important court dates of cases against pollution, Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant, Statue of Unity, Garudeshwar Weir and Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project.
His selfless commitment for critical causes was so extensive that the couple, Kantibhai- Geetaben, alone went to Pune and stayed there for two days in order to file the case against Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant in National Green Tribunal after clearing the queries raised at the National Green Tribunal office.
The staff of that office knew him more than they knew us. He remained actively involved in works ranging from public contact in Mithivirdi movement to conferences, meetings, and rallies while taking care of the important responsibilities like filing a petition in National Green Tribunal and maintaining records with the highest possible precision. His alertness and untiring efforts towards work gave inspiration to new activists in movements.
Kantibhai has set a tall example of values, foresight, and sincerity, has proven that educational qualifications, class are irrelevant when the heart is at the right place
We at the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti used to consult him about the administrative process of filing a case in the National Green Tribunal. In not only Vadodara, but journalists also from other cities knew him through his work. We, in routine ongoing activities, acutely felt his absence ever since he became a victim of cancer. He always used to tell us that “just wait for some days and I will once again become active”.
He was such an ardent activist who played the role of strong-willed person in various important movements as a trade union activist. He had such deep bonds with the village people of Mithivirdi-Jasapara villages that it seemed as if a hotline was established between them over the phone.
All the people who know us from within and outside the country know Kantibhai closely as a grassroots activist, and more importantly as person with great inner strength and will to contribute in various ways for different critical causes.
Kantibhai has set a tall example of values, sensitivity, foresight, and sincerity; he has proven that educational qualifications and class are all irrelevant when the heart is in the right place, working towards significant causes.
Not only the workers or the affected people of the so called Development Projects but Narmada, Mahisagar, Vishwamitri, Sabarmati, Damanganga, etc. rivers are also remembering him with a Revolutionary Salute.
___
*Senior activist, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Top Catholic group wants quota for Dalit Christians, foreign fund licenses revived

By Our Representative
Reiterating its long-pending demand to give "scheduled rights for Dalit Christians”, the All-India Catholic Union (AICU) has regretted that while converts to Sikhism and Buddhism from the former untouchable, or Dalit communities, have been included in the scheduled caste (SC) category, Christians from the identical communities have been “kept out.”