For Praful Bidwai, from Lalita Ramdas

For Praful – from Lolly in Bhaimala Friday June 26th 2015

For the past two days we have been in a daze of shock and disbelief …………Praful you were special in so so many ways – and ours was a long distance friendship – going back some three decades.

As we have been reading so many expressions of grief, tributes to the many extraordinary traits of this wonderful human being – our friend , buddy ,colleague and comrade – there is one strong conviction forming in my mind – and that is to keep alive the causes in which you were so deeply involved and for which you fought so passionately.

Just today I was reading a review of a new biography of Eqbal Ahmad and the words used in the last para about our dear friend and Sambandhi, Eqbal, could well be used to describe Praful.

Praful too was a valued and wise member of `our clan”. And I paraphrase from Stuart Shaar, Eqbal Ahmad’s biographer:

“ this was no usual clan. This clan has no blood linkages, no country, religion or race. Its many thousand members are spread across the continents …….. Their only bond is a shared belief in human dignity, justice, liberty and all that is rich and precious in the human experience.”

Today it is this widespread, diverse and yet closely bound clan – of writers, activists, anti nuclear campaigners, feminists, advocates for renewable energy, those of us fighting destructive development and calling attention to Climate Change, those raising voices against AFSPA and calling for sanity in Kashmir, the North east; and friendship across our borders – with Pakistan; those opposing the growing communalism and fascism and right wing terrorism – as much as neoliberal economic policies and militarism – it is we who salute you Praful . We mourn your passing, but celebrate your life and all you meant to so many across this crazy clan.

I know you will inspire us to find a way to capture your work and ideas and take them forward in an ever more invigorated movement – maybe a green formation, which we have not really built in India – and perhaps, as you and I have so often discussed – with women taking the lead?

And just as we would unexpectedly get that call from you – wherever you and we might have been in our travels – saying “Ramu – Lolly – read what I have sent – what do you feel – we have to do something” …or come to this or that meeting or conference or dharna –

I will keep waiting for that call – perhaps its you from up there or wherever, saying – hey guys I’m coming for a drink – keep your best scotch ready!!

We love you and miss you – but know you will never be far away ………

Lalita Ramdas

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