August 20th marks a year since Dr Narendra Dabholkar was brutally killed. When i came to know about the assassination last year, there was deep sense of shock & grief in me. I’ve never met him personally, however i relate with everything that he stood for. It was very obvious that he was killed by hindu militant forces, however our shameless government & police claims that they have no clue about who are the killers. Both his elder brothers Shri Devduttji & Shripadji were known to us & of course Prof. Shripad Dabholkar was not just my teacher, my association with him over a period of 3 to 4 years, before he died due to falcipuram malaria in 2001 was one of the shining chapters in my otherwise very boring & mundane life. If i had a chance to adopt him as my father i would’ve. His death in 2001 did leave me shattered. Today if he was alive, i can imagine myself on the phone & talking to him on a daily basis, or writing to him all trials & tribulations which one faces not just on the farm, but also everything in daily life…. to put it very mildly i can say i miss him very much.

Coming back to Dr Narendra Dabholkar, he believed in the religion of humanity, he was strongly secular & was a rationalist to the core. He respected all religions but he wanted to do away with those aspects of religion which went against humanity. However those with power, money & who are connected with various religious setups misrepresented him. Even simple & very valid demands like “environmental-friendly Ganeshotsav”, “Diwali without crackers” is (mis)interpreted as an assault against Hinduism.

If we step aside & reflect a bit, its interesting to see how organised these militant groups are. The best way to silence Narendra Dabholkar was to kill him. On the other hand these same hindu militant forces have tried to usurp the network & creative space of thousands of farmers which his brother Shripad Dabholkar had painstakingly created step by step in his lifetime.

Let me explain this:

Some years back i get a call for a 3 day meeting to mark an anniversary of Dabholkar. I looked through the agenda & set of invitees & i thought wow: this is a great time to get back in touch with many farmers with whom i had lost contacts. So without blinking an eyelid i booked my train tickets. I was told i will be picked up from Bhopal Station & will be taken to the destination of the meeting. There is a police jeep waiting & along with two others i was taken to the destination. It didn’t take very long for me to realise that the other two who were in the jeep were top rung right-wing hindu militant leaders. The police jeep was sent by the Director general of Police, it doesn’t take long either to add one plus one is equal to two, does it ? The meeting place was abuzz & was been set up by volunteers of the said militant group, the chief guest & the inaugural speech was by the numero uno of a hindu militant group, he was singing twisted praise to Prof Dabholkar. Whatever was said in that meeting was against everything that Prof Dabholkar stood for. It was another matter that the invite which came to me didn’t mention anything of this sort. Nursery soil became Amrit mitti, usage of cow shit & cow piss to improve fertility of the soil became cow worship, the first aim of the farmer after he/she gets a good yield should be to build a Ram mandir on his/her land, then life is set, no worries, it will be raining record crop yields after that, so on & so forth.

On one hand they smartly occupy & usurp the creative space of 1,000 odd farmers, slowly but surely twist it & to give it the hindu taliban flavour & on the other hand the same hands wouldn’t blink an eyelid to kill. So one brother’s work is usurped by the same set of people who killed the other brother.

Peace & love