We are grieved to learn of the death of Sulabha Brahme, economist and social activist.
The following press note by her friends and associates provides some details of her life. One point deserves particular stress, from our perspective. As the press note mentions, she authored 50 booklets on various economic and social issues. These were excellent for several reasons. First, she took uncompromising stands against the establishment, and stood with the people. Secondly, she insisted on writing and publishing in Marathi, thus meeting a crying need for such literature in the language. Thirdly, she thoroughly researched the topics and prepared material of high quality, equipping activists and lay persons amply with the information they needed. Finally, she addressed burning questions of the day without delay.
A few of the titles of the booklets that we have at hand give an idea of the range and tenor of these booklets (we have translated the titles from the original Marathi): The Noose of the New Economic Policy (1992), Dunkel Draft – Attack on India’s Agriculture (1994), Who’s Afraid of Rising Population? (1999), Diesel Price-Rise (2000), Enron – King of the City of Darkness (2000), Cuba’s Militant Revolutionary Struggle (2002), Destruction of the Public Sector Oil Industry (2003), Imperialism – The Real Face of Globalisation (2002, 2014), Nuclear Power – Illusion, Reality, and Alternative (2008), Confronting Price-Rise (2014), The Craze for English Medium Education (undated), Kashmir – Reality and the Alternative (2015), The Dalit Panther Manifesto – Yesterday and Today (2014), The Secret of the Ban on Cow Slaughter (with Advait Pednekar, 2016). There are no doubt many more publications by her, but even this short list indicates where she stood, and how she took it as a pressing duty to take the facts to the masses, rather than limit knowledge to a narrow section of intellectuals and academics.
Sulabha Brahme’s death is not only a personal loss for her friends, but a loss for the progressive movement in Maharashtra.We hope that a new generation of scholars will learn from her example, and devote themselves to serving the cause of the people.
Eminent economist, Marxist intellectual, political and social activist Dr. Sulabha Brahme no more
Eminent economist, Marxist intellectual, political and social activist Dr. Sulabha Brahme passed away after a brief illness at her residence this morning. She was 84 years old. She was active till the last moments of her life. Only last week she attended a meeting at Purandar with local residents to oppose the proposed airport. Her last article was about the devastating impact of the demonetisation on ordinary people.
Born as daughter of eminent economist and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission D. R. Gadgil and eminent social worker Pramila Gadgil (Kale) she finished her schooling at Huzurpaga in Pune. She then went on to study at the S.P.College and did her PhD from the Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics, Pune where she was later Reader and also Registrar. During her tenure at the GIPE she conducted a large number of socially relevant studies including two important reports on the Regional Development Plan for Marathwada and Land Use in Western Maharashtra.She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Maharashtra.
She founded the Shankar Brahme Samaj Vidnyan Granthalaya which became a centre for left, progressive and secular tendencies in Pune and Maharashtra conducting research, publishing important pamphlets on topical issues and organising activities to create awareness. The range of her passionate involvement in people’s movements and issues was staggering – from economic development, environment, organic farming, peace, anti-nuclear movements,people’s science, women’s equal rights,casteism, communalism, education, secularism,culture,etc. She co-founded many platforms to further these causes, including the Lok Vidnyan Sanghatana, Maharashtra Dushkal Nivaran and Nirmulan Mandal,Purogami Mahila Sanghatana, Lokayat, Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti and Bayaja Trust. She was actively involved in experiemnts to promote organic and sustainable agriculture in the Konkan area. She authored more than 50 high quality booklets in Marathi and monographs on these topics to create people’s awareness and for the education of activists. She maintained close links with all the different shades and strands of progressive people’s movements.
She lived an extremely simple and frugal life,devoting all her time and personal material resources to support progressive movements and activists from the trade union, peasants, students,youth and other social and political organisations. Fiercely independent, she lived alone for several years, but her house was open to all at any time. She is survived by her brothers the eminent environmentalist Dr. Madhav Gadgil and Shri Purushottam Gadgil, sister-in-law Dr. Sulochana Gadgil,nephew Siddhartha Gadgil and niece Gauri Shah. She leaves behind a huge family of activist friends and comrades across the country.
A condolence meeting has been organised on
Date and Time : Sunday the 4th of December 2016 at 05.00PM
Venue: Rashtra Seva Dal open hall, Sane Guruji Smarak Parisar, Opposite Dandekar Pul Petrol Pump, Sinhagad Road, Pune.
Dr. Anant Phadke
Com. Kiran Moghe