ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

It is almost apologetically that one endeavours to put on record that this is Professor D R Gadgil's centenary year. Half a century ago, he was a man whose importance could not be brushed aside. He had done some service to the state. But the state does not care to remember, nor those who have for the present taken over its helmsmanship.

Centenary celebrations these days are, shall one say, dime a dozen. Those prominent in national life in the first 25 years following Indian independence have mostly passed away. Memory, both individual and institutional, is fragile. However outstanding the contributions of these stalwarts were, few bother about them any more. They were, once upon a time, there, they are no longer there, period. Countrymen are much too concerned with the positive and negative aspects of so-called globalisation; there are new names, of both heroes and anti-heroes, which are now discussed in newspapers and other media. Persons who are dead should better be dead.

It is therefore almost apologetically that one endeavours to put on record the fact that this is Professor D R Gadgil’s centenary year. Half a century ago, he was a man whose importance could not be brushed aside; even a quarter of a century ago, some memory of his activities had stuck to the national psyche, more so perhaps because of the circumstances of his death a year previously. He was summarily dismissed by Indira Gandhi from the position of deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. He was dismissed via a messenger, and the minimum grace of calling the professor in and letting him know of the prime minister’s other plans with respect to national planning was dispensed with. Professor Gadgil could not survive the shock of the insult; he died on the train en route to Pune.

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