Chunibhai, Gandhian activist, passes away

Having worked with Vinoba, JP; he fought for people’s rights

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Ashish Mehta | December 19, 2014




Chunibhai Vaidya, an old-school civil society activist inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave and veteran of many battles on behalf of the marginalized people, passed away at his residence in the Sabarmati Ashram premises on Friday. He was 96.

In recent years, Vaidya had emerged as the voice of Gujarat’s civil society, and a critique of Narendra Modi’s economic policies. In particular, he led the farmers’ agitation against the state government’s move to allot to the Nirma group a plot of land where a watershed had been developed. The supreme court later quashed the allotment, delivering a victory not many had hoped for.

Vaidya led Gujarat’s civil society during Jayaprakash Narayan’s protest movement against the Emergency. A young Narendra Modi, as an RSS representative, also served in the Vaidya-led Gujarat Lok Samiti that was the platform of the JP movement, but then the old man could claim to be a mentor also to Medha Patkar who started her research work on the Narmada project oustees under his guidance.

At Governance Now, we had reported at length about the Mahuva agitation, and also wrote a profile of this rare man who was among the last of the old-school Gandhians. Here are some of those stories:

Among the last Gandhians, 97-yr-old fights for farmer rights in Modi-land

Audacity of their hope

Gujarat villages stand as rock against Nirma cement factory

 

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