NBA Press Release
  23 October 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

VETERAN SOCIAL ACTIVIST DASHRATH TATYA PATIL PASSES AWAY IN DHULE :
NARMADA AND PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS IN MAHARASHTRA LOSE THEIR COMRADE

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Baroda-390007
Tel: 0265-282232
Email: baroda@narmada.org

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

The veteran social and political activist and a senior colleagues of many social, political movements in Maharashtra and the senior colleague in the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Dashrath Patil ( 83), passed away in Dhule ( Maharashtra) in the early hours of 20th October 2001. Tatya, as he was affectionately known all over Maharashtra and in the Narmada valley, was suffering from paralysis and was admitted in hospital previous night. He is survived by his wife Kamal tai, their son Prof. Shyam, daughter Sushma and the large family.

Dashrath Parbat Patil, or Tatya, born in the peasant family and pursued the farming, was a veteran Socialist activists-leader of impeccable integrity. He was active in the 'Quit India' movement in 1940s and was the full-time activist of Rashtra Seva Dal, a Socialist organization of training and consceintization, for fifteen years. He pioneered the cooperative milk union, cooperative farming and other experiments around Dhule. He was in Socialist Party and was in the jail during the Emergency. He contested the elections for the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra in 1967 and again after Emergency, in 1977. Due to his uncompromising integrity and probity, he was a misfit in the conventional politics. But he willingly suffered the political fallout and he never cared for that. After the failed Janata Party experiment, he was disillusioned with the Party politics and has always been with the small groups, organizations and movements for equality, human rights of the depressed classes, secularism and anti-caste movements. He saw such movements as the only hope in the murky politics.

Narmada struggle was formed in 1987, in Dhule, 'Narmada Dharangrasta Sahayak Samiti'. Dashrath Tatya Patil along with Dr. Chaudhary, Prof. M.B. Shah, P.D. Dalal, Nimba Bhau Khatal, was the moving force and moral authority behind it. The Samiti has always been the mainstay for the strong support for Narmada movement in the Khandesh area (North Maharashtra). Tatya has always been active in the struggle and participated in every major programme, fasing the police, arrests, jail and beatings with elan even in his seventies. He was involved in various other struggles and movements Mazoor Sangharsha Vahini, Rashtra Seva Dal or Chhatra Bharati. He insisted on the larger politics of alternative development through the coordination among the people's movements.

He was a friend, guide and philosopher and a true democrat with organizational understanding. Even in the darkest hours of struggle, Tatya has been with the Andolan. Yeh Jeetnewalon ki ladaai hain (This is the fight of the those who are to win), and we will win " have been his inspiring words.

He was honoured with the 'Samajik Kridnata Gaurav Puraskar' a lifetime honour for the struggle by Samajik Kritadnata Nidhi trust in Maharashtra in 1996.

Tatya's house in Dhule has been an open house for the organizations, movements and people working for the radical change. They activists were given all sorts of help be it the meeting/ confronting the officials, press or legal follow up. His life and his politics have never been separate, which was a legacy Socialist politics. He had the conviction and comprehensive ideological understanding of he issues, a vast canvas of experiences and, as a result of all this, the humility, profundity and marvelous democratic spirit.

The ideological and organizational groundwork for the people's movements, like Narmada, have been building up for years through the conviction and work of persons like Tatya, Dr.R.B.Chadhary, Omprakashji Rawal, M.M. Bose, to name a few. At their own places, in their own unassuming ways, they have been the ones who have nurtured and carried forward the message and vision of such movements. They were the voice of the Narmada movement for the thousands of common people in the towns and villages, which make the Andolan what it is today. The people's struggles have been thriving on such patient groundwork - done without any claim and expectation.

Hundreds of villagers, activists, intellectuals from various parts of Maharashtra and representatives from Narmada valley were present on 22nd October to pay their last respects to their beloved Tatya. No religious rites were performed according to his wishes and as Medha Patkar lit the pyre as the hundreds of the people gave last salute to their comrade.

We, in Narmada Bachao Andolan, cannot express our loss and grief. His indomitable spirit and his conviction will give us the strength and passion for the future struggle.

Sanjay Sangvai