Sunday, December 21, 2014

Farewell to a Fighter – Chuni Bhai Vaidya

In fond memory..

"Gaam ni jameen gaam ni, Sarkaar ni naii ! " - This is the slogan I
heard him coin when my group had met him in 2012.
(Gaam = village)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: napm india
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:12:01 +0530
Subject: Farewell to a Fighter – Chuni Bhai Vaidya

*Farewell to a Fighter – Chuni Bhai Vaidya*

Veteran Gandhian, perhaps the oldest living one, a man who devoted his
life to Gandhi, Vinoba and JP's movements passed away during the night of
18th or early 19th December morning.

As a young man he participated in the Bhoodan movement initiated by
Vinobaji in the 1950s and '60s and devoted his life to public causes.

He was among the most courageous of Sarvodaya 'karyakartas', never shying
away from standing up for a cause. Not only did he have the moral strength
and energy to pursue his beliefs even if he was in a minority, he'd be
willing to be a one-man army if the situation demanded so. It did not
matter if he had to pick up a fight with the whole State machinery.

The stance Chunikaka and *Bhumiputra* (Gujarati Magazine of the Gandhians)
took during Emergency in mid 1970s, the campaign against corruption in the
'80s, the leadership he provided in face of Umargam atrocity in '90s, the
role he played during Gujarat violence in 2002 or the energy he pumped into
the anti-Nirma struggle in Mahuva, anti-nuclear struggle in Mithi Virdi and
other struggles in Gujarat are shining lights in his glorious story.

A good fight was not Chunikaka's only forte. He worked with as much
commitment and vigour to search for alternatives and reconstruction. Coming
from the water-scarce North Gujarat the Right to Water was his primary
preoccupation through the 1980s and 1990s. He first toiled to mobilise the
farmers affected by Dantiwada and Sipu dams, and then for Narmada waters to
North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch. In spite of his advancing age he
dedicated his best energies to building '*gupt bandh*', 'hidden dams' in
the Banas river in Radhanpur area.

As a person Chunikaka appreciated good humour. He could both give and chin
punches on the chin. You could differ violently with him and yet remain
friends and continue to work together.

That was Chunikaka – the Giant. We pay our respects to him and mourn his
passing away and with that also of an era.

*NAPM Team *

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