Dr. R. Srinivasan (1929-2019)

It was the auspicious day of Pongal, a popular harvest festival of South India when we received the sad news of the passing away of Dr. R. Srinivasan, Associate Editor of Freedom First.  He was 90, had been ailing for some time and breathed his last in the early hours of that beautiful morning of January 15 with his family by his side.  The liberal fraternity has lost one more of its stalwarts. Continue reading

The Humane Face of Meera Sanyal (1961-2019)

Meera Sanyal, banker by profession and liberal by conviction passed away on January 11 following an unsuccessful struggle with a terminal illness.  She entered her 58th birthday in October last year – retirement age in several offices – she took permanent retirement leaving a void in the world of banking and the liberal fraternity.  Continue reading

Naozer Aga (1941-2018) : A Tribute

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

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. Continue reading

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!





Mr. Ashok Karnik (1931-2015) passes away

Ashok Karnik
Ashok Karnik

Within three months of the passing away of our dear editor, Mr. S. V. Raju, we receive news today of the passing away of Mr. Ashok Karnik. Readers of Freedom First will remember him as the author of the column Point-Counter-Point, meticulously pointing out the pros and cons of an issue, without being judgmental or taking sides. The two friends would have long tele-conversations on current topics, picking each other’s brains, so to say. I personally feel he must have missed Mr. Raju so much which was evident from his last few e-mails that it appears he has followed Mr. Raju for his daily dose of tete-a-tete with him.

Mr. Karnik was on the Advisory Board of Freedom First and in spite of his frail health he was actively penning his thoughts and instigating the recipient of his mails to reply.

In his e-mail of August 3, in response to our asking for feedback on Freedom First Digital edition, he forwarded articles he wrote on his own blog saying that he will continue to write on his blog and in Marathi newspapers.  We did not take it amiss and were waiting that sooner or later, he will restart his column on the digital edition.

“We have to live with an imperfect world and try our best to improve it”.  These are Mr. Karnik’s last words in his August 5 e-mail.  He chose not to live in this “imperfect world” and has moved on to a better and perfect abode in Heaven.

Freedom First offers its deepest condolences to his wife and family.  May his soul rest in peace!