A Tribute

Manorama Savur (1927-2014)

The research work of Manorama Savur, sociologist and labour studies scholar, had significant policy implications. In a long teaching career she taught students to strike out intellectually on their own, a legacy they continue to follow even now.

My first meeting with Manorama Savur came about in 1978 when I joined the Bombay University’s Sociology Department as an MA student. We took an immediate liking to each other. She was the only lecturer who did not use notes to teach and engaged with the students in a dialogue, linking learning to the reality around us. That is what I liked about her but many of my classmates, used to rote learning, did not like this pedagogical approach. In contrast I hated attending the lectures of my other teachers because they taught from their notes (and as I learnt later, year in and year out used the same notes) and would not tolerate any questions from the students. I spent a lot of time with Savur discussing, questioning and getting clues to enhance my learning and understanding of sociology. Our discussions were never limited to the subjects she taught and went much beyond to understand the society and political economy we lived in.

Soon I was associated with one of her research projects on corporate sector involvement in rural development. This was the critical moment in my intellectual development because at that point, without knowing it, my arena of intellectual pursuit was taking shape. In that project I was assigned to look at the tax expenditures which were being offered under Section 35CC of the Income Tax Act which provided a full tax rebate on investments made by corporates towards rural development programmes.1

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