Mr. Sharad Joshi (1935-2015) passes away

Sharad Joshi

Yet one more liberal, friend of Freedom First – Mr. Sharad Joshi – passed away on December 12.  Having met him just about six times – three visits to his Ambethan home with Mr. S. V. Raju and the rest at various seminars – I personally do not know much about Mr. Joshi.  All I can remember is the smiling demeanour (as one can see in the photograph above) and his “make-you-feel-at-home” manner when he insisted that we lunch with him and which we did on two of our three visits.  It was the most delicious, freshly cooked vegetarian lunch that I have ever had.

Mr. Sharad Joshi was known as a farmers’ leader.  He founded Shetkari Sanghatana, the organized farmers’ movement in Maharashtra.  This was in 1979.  Such was his rapport with the farmers that one call from him and they would gather in scores from various parts of the state to listen to what he had to say for their benefit.  He was a born leader and a great orator.  He was not afraid, like most liberals I have come across, to be in a minority, if his views were for the betterment of the individual and the society.  As Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, he was the only MP who voted against the women’s reservation bill and had also proposed an amendment to the Constitution that the word ‘socialism’ be removed from the Preamble to the Constitution.

In his tribute to Mr. S. V. Raju, he wrote “….. Raju always had a deep sense of affection for me …..”.  In turn, Mr. Raju had great regard and respect for him and would endearingly call him Sharadji, even though he was younger to Mr. Raju.

Freedom First offers its most sincere condolences to his two daughters and to his long-time close associate, Sureshchandra Mhatre.  May his soul rest in peace!





4 thoughts on “Mr. Sharad Joshi (1935-2015) passes away

  1. In the passing away of Mr. Sharad Joshi liberals have lost an amazing leader.
    The Congress Party always called Swatantra Party a Party of Maharajas (which was false) but we have seen how it is the farmers with Sharad Joshi as their leader which carried the Swatantra torch for these last few decades.
    I spoke to Mr. Sureshchandra Mhatre and asked him what Mr. Joshi spoke about during his last few days and this is what Mr. Mhatre replied, “Joshiji mostly remembered Rajaji (C. Rajgopalachari) and said that he had tried his best to be a torch-bearer but he felt pained at the indedebtedness of Indian farmers which he called both illegal and immoral…
    Liberals have lost a friend and leader.
    manuwant choudhary


  2. Your tribute to late Mr. Sharad Joshi is very precise and apt. We share your sentiments; indeed, it is a great loss to liberals movement in general and to the cause of farmers in particular. He was not just a liberal thinker but activist, who had always shown courage of his convictions. I know late Mr. S. V. Raju always used to speak very highly about him and with respect and admiration.

    We saw him in Pune early this October when Dr. Shyam Ashtekar and his his associates and friends had organized a two-day Conference on issues of Rural Distress and the future of Indian agriculture. That was the last time I saw him, but did not realize that death would take him away so soon. Because of his indifferent health, he did not speak in the deliberations on the first day, when I was present. But I found him fully alert and attentive during the proceedings, as he always used to be.

    We have truly lost an outstanding liberal thinker and one who deeply understood the problems of Indian farmers and Indian agriculture. Being liberal, his policy prescriptions – especially those relating to subsidies and pricing policy of agricultural produce were very radical. It is rather unfortunate that neither the Govt. of India nor the Maharashtra Govt. take advantage of his knowledge, insights and expertise in the area of agricultural economy – a forthright and blunt speaker that he always was!


  3. Mr Joshi was a remarkable leader – who fearlessly stood to uphold liberal values, initially for the farmers of India and subsequently in our Rajya Sabha. Our prayers and condolences are with his family and all his colleagues in the Shetkari Sanghatana


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