Skip to main content

In a world driven by market-driven culture, power politics, this Gandhian stood apart

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 

Rabi Mausa, popularly known as Rabi Narayan Jena, who departed on March 17, 2024, at the age of 79, was a truly unique Gandhian figure. Despite the pervasive influence of mass consumerism, he remained steadfast in his commitment to Gandhian principles, both in his personal conduct and his political endeavours.
In a world dominated by market-driven culture, societal pressures, and power politics, Rabi Narayan Jena stood apart, embodying the essence of Gandhian philosophy through his actions.
Every aspect of his life reflected his dedication to living a meaningful existence grounded in Gandhian values. He shunned the superficiality of contemporary society, rejecting the allure of self-promotion that often characterises social, political, and professional life. Instead, he quietly dedicated himself to serving the people of Odisha, eschewing the spotlight in favour of genuine, impactful engagement with his community.
Rabi Narayan Jena's life was a testament to the possibility of an alternative lifestyle, one rooted in simplicity, compassion, and a deep sense of social responsibility. His unwavering commitment to Gandhian socialist ideals serves as an inspiration to all who seek to challenge the status quo and strive for a more equitable and compassionate world. In his passing, we not only mourn the loss of a remarkable individual but also celebrate the enduring legacy of his principles and actions.
Rabi Mausa pioneered a path of selfless social service, devoid of any expectations or personal gain. Unlike many contemporary social workers who seek salaries and recognition within non-governmental and civil society organisations, Rabi Mausa stood apart. For him, social service was not a means of self-promotion, but rather an inherent aspect of his daily existence.
His commitment to serving others extended far beyond the confines of his own family. Integrity was the cornerstone of his life, a principle he steadfastly upheld even in the most challenging of circumstances. Never did he compromise his values or principles, remaining resolute in his dedication to the welfare of his community.
Rabi Mausa blazed the trail of social service. His approach to social service serves as a beacon of inspiration in a world often characterised by self-interest and opportunism. His unwavering dedication to the well-being of others, coupled with his unyielding integrity, sets a high standard for all who aspire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around them. 
In his legacy, we find not only a model of selfless service but also a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have when guided by principles of compassion and integrity.
In an era where conversations about sustainability and alternative energy sources dominate discussions on survival of life and planet, Rabi Mausa was a visionary ahead of his time. As early as 1994, he recognized the importance of sustainable energy and took concrete steps to address it.
In a bold move, he established a biogas plant right in the backyard of his own home -- a pioneering effort that embodied his commitment to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future. Rabi Mausa's biogas plant stood as a beacon of innovation in his village, setting a precedent for environmentally conscious energy solutions in his community. It may very well have been the first of its kind not only in his village but also in the entire block and district.
His forward-thinking approach to energy sustainability serves as testament to his dedication for a better world
By harnessing the power of biogas, he not only provided his household with a reliable and affordable source of energy but also demonstrated a practical alternative to conventional energy sources that often come at great environmental cost.
His forward-thinking approach to energy sustainability serves as a testament to his dedication to practical action in pursuit of a better world. Rabi Mausa's initiative not only addressed immediate energy needs but also paved the way for greater awareness and adoption of cheap renewable energy technologies in his community. In his pioneering efforts, we find inspiration and a powerful example of how individual action can drive positive change on both local and global scales.
Rabi Mausa's home in the tranquil village of Taras, nestled in the Rajkanika block of Kendrapada district, Odisha, holds a special place in my memories from my college days. It was a sanctuary I often sought refuge in, a haven of simplicity and warmth amidst the bustling chaos of crisis ridden student life.
Whenever I visited him, Rabi Mausa graciously welcomed me into his humble abode, offering simple yet delicious meals prepared with love and care. What struck me most about Rabi Mausa was his unwavering kindness and inclusivity. Despite our differing affiliations -- I with the SFI and his sons with the ABVP -- he never once let these differences cloud our interactions. 
He treated me with the same warmth and respect that he bestowed upon his own sons, embodying a rare sense of egalitarianism that is increasingly scarce in today's world. As a true democrat, he did not domesticate his sons with his ideological worldviews, he allowed his sons to flourish and follow their own path in their personal and political life.
Over the years, from 1994 to 2013, I had the privilege of meeting Rabi Mausa on several occasions, and each time, his love, affection, and genuine concern for others remained steadfast. His consistent and unwavering display of compassion and empathy left an indelible mark on me, shaping my own egalitarian ideals and worldview.
With his passing, I not only mourn the loss of a well-wisher, but also recognise the void left by the departure of an ideological beacon. Rabi Mausa was more than just a citizen of Odisha; he was a symbol of unwavering idealism and Gandhian values in contemporary times.
His legacy will continue to inspire generations to come, serving as a guiding light for those who seek to emulate his compassion, integrity, and unwavering commitment to social justice. In his death, Odisha -- and indeed, the world -- has lost a true visionary with Gandhian values and champion of humanity.
The life and legacies of Rabi Mausa as a silent Gandhian survives in our memories.
*Professor of Business Management, Guildhall School of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, UK



What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.