Naozer Aga (1941-2018) : A Tribute

“Our time on this earth is sacred, and we should celebrate every moment.” Paulo Coelho

IMG_1749
Naozer Aga speaking at Swatantra Party meeting, August 1, 2009 to commemorate the 50th year of its founding.

The above quote aptly describes the life of Naozer Aga, first-generation entrepreneur, dear friend of Freedom First and former Hon. General Secretary of the Indian Liberal Group (ILG) who the liberal fraternity lost to a tragic road accident on February 19, 2018.

I came in touch with Mr. Aga in the late 1990s during the time when ILG was being revived and restructured.  Though he was not involved in the day-to-day working of ILG, he remained its steadfast member, and later, as Director of LiberalsIndia for Good Governance, helped in ILG’s formation as a non-profit organization.

Mr. Aga was associated with the textile industry and was Promoter Chairman of several groups of companies and family businesses.  I remember visiting their hand-embroidery workshop where he and his wife Sheila took us around and explained the nuances of sari embroidery and how it takes several days for a garment to be ready to wear.

I owe Mr. Aga a personal tribute as he was one of the few who guided me through our various trusts – in particular, the Adult Education Institute where he was a trustee – following the sudden demise of Mr. S. V. Raju.  Mr. Aga was helpful in his own modest way, simple and unassuming.  His kind hospitality at trust meetings and programmes was done in the quietest manner.  His biographical record features in the 21st edition of The Marquis Who’s Who in the World (year 2004).

It was during my regular visits to his office on trust matters that I learnt of his passion for motorsports, specially his love for motorcycles, since the tender age of 8.  Mr. Aga was an avid biker.  In 1963, he won the motorcycle championship at Lohegaon, near Pune (Maharashtra), but quit racing soon thereafter owing to a promise given to his father.

His son Armand reminiscences “My father had a great passion for motorcycles … Right till the end, he said, Even if the bike causes my end, I will never give up riding sports bikes.”

Like all liberals, Mr. Aga too was optimistic about the revival of the Swatantra Party, or at least, a liberal party akin to Swatantra and willingly stepped in as mentor to such efforts.

Freedom First offers heartfelt condolences to Armand, daughter Ayesha and other family members.  May his soul rest in peace!

Kashmira

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4 thoughts on “Naozer Aga (1941-2018) : A Tribute

  1. Dear Kashmira, I stand corrected.

    I notice in one of his emails Naozer wrote to me: “L. R. Sampat and S. V. Raju on behalf of The Swatantra Party (Maharashtra)-SP (M)-which still exists as an unregistered party on paper, of which I remain a member, had filed a Writ in the Mumbai High Court, which remained unheard and these two petitioners have now passed away.”

    The only reason he did not join Swarna Bharat Party is because he was member of Swatantra Party and remained so purely for the purpose of the petition (as far as I recall).

    Anyway, I drafted a fresh writ petition here: https://www.sabhlokcity.com/2016/09/draft-writ-petition-to-the-supreme-court-of-india-against-compulsion-for-political-parties-to-swear-by-the-principles-of-socialism/.
    Naozer sent it to a few people for legal/ funding assistance but no assistance came.

    The story of liberalism in India is the story of total disinterest from anyone after JRD Tata to fund basic activities in this space. Nevertheless, Swarna Bharat Party is moving forward on a shoe string budget and we are finding excellent response from the people. We will change India even if the elites and the rich don’t care a bit for India (and even if some alleged liberals support socialist parties like AAP).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Mr. Sabhlok for your tribute to Mr. Naozer Aga. Just one correction. Mr. Aga was not a party to the writ petition filed by Mr. S. V. Raju and Mr. L. R. Sampat. However, after Mr. Raju’s passing away (Mr. Sampat passed away some years ago), Mr. Aga was trying his best to find out how the writ petition could be brought on board again. A few liberal friends of the Party are still around and I feel certain that someone, somewhere will succeed.

    As far as the Swatantra Party is concerned, Mr. Raju was planning to write its history, but fate had other plans. However, all papers that he was religiously putting together to write the history, are now with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. The papers are also being digitized, thanks to the efforts of Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi who came to our rescue. As soon as we have more news on the digitization, we will keep all posted. The Party may not be a living entity now, but the essence is still around.

    Kashmira

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Naozer was indeed a great Liberal but more importantly a truly humane gentleman with a depth of wisdom and a passion for what was true and right for India. His demise has been a great loss to all of us. Our deepest condolences to his bereaved family. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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