Ramesh Bhai as I know him / Sankar Kumar Sanyal

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Ramesh Bhai as I know him
आलेख:Sankar Kumar Sanyal HARIJAN SEVAK SANGH

To speak anything about Ramesh Bhai, I feel extremely sentimental because we have had a deep friendship and mutual respect between us. In more sense than one Ramesh Bhai was amongst my closest friends in the Gandhian fraternity. Ramesh Bhai arrived in the scene like a meteor who fell upon the dark social milieu of the contemporary society and enlightened it and made it habitable for the have nots.

His contribution to alleviation of poverty for the poor and the downtrodden has had no parallel and he single handedly pursued this noble work throughout his life. This made him to join Bhoodan Andolan launched by Acharya Vinoba Bhabe and left his indelible imprint on the success of the movement. One of Ramesh Bhai’s stellar achievements was establishment of a Sarvodaya Ashrama at Hardoi where he involved his entire family. This became a pilgrimage for likeminded people in as much as the area became a central point of all round development. He assiduously made transformation in the land owning pattern of Uttar Pradesh by diverting land from the rich to the poor and by making the land more fertile to boost the income of the farmers. The success of this process was responsible Sodic Land Reclamation Project. This was approved by the World Bank which participated in the process through UPLDC.

His role in promoting women’s education in rural India cannot be over emphasized and he established a number of residential schools for girls, thus breaking the age-old social stigma against girls’ education. To him education did not mean formal education only and he considered the educational institutions as the bastion of teaching high moral and humanitarian values. It is little known that Ramesh Bhai was a gifted poet and participated in many Kavi Sammelans. His poems reveal social evils and his crusade against such evils. Known for his simple life style, Ramesh Bhai travelled widely throughout the country to spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi and Sant Vinoba Bhabe.

His multi-dimensional personality attracted the attention of Didi Nirmala Deshpande who was one of the greatest social reformers of the day. She brought him into her close circle and bestowed enormous trust to organize and propagate Gandhian ideas and values. He also came in contact with leading politicians of the day but he never joined active politics. This unparalleled characteristics of Ramesh Bhai influenced Didi immensely and she gave him a number of responsibilities including Secretary ship of All India Harijan Sevak Sangh and General Secretary of Akhil Bharat Rachanatmak Samaj, which he held till his death. His death had created a void which none could yet fulfill. .