Well-known Gandhian and Magsaysay award winner L C Jain passed away today following prolonged illness. He was 85.
An economist, organiser, commentator and activist, Jain spent more than six decades of his life as an impassioned crusader for what Mahatma Gandhi called India's second freedom struggle - the fight against socio-economic oppression.
Known as a fierce opponent of overwhelming state control and an ardent advocate for social action, his efforts to keep alive the legacy of the freedom struggle through the intervention of civil society led to him being awarded the Magsaysay Award in 1988.
Jain is survived by his wife and two sons.
Much of the first phase of his entry into public life was spent working on cherished Nehruvian projects, but it was Gandhi who remained a beacon throughout his career, guiding and illuminating his responses.
It was this association that led him to accept one of his few forays into official life, as High Commissioner to South Africa, where he was plunged into that country's own struggles to build an inclusive society.
He subsequently became a member of the Planning Commission where he served from 1989 to 1990.
The last years of his life were spent in documenting some of the struggles he had been associated with in a book called Civil Disobedience, which will be released on December 13.
Spanning some of the most eventful decades in India's public life, Civil Disobedience dwells on his early years in Chandni Chowk growing up in a family of freedom fighters, to his role as a member of the underground wing of the Quit India movement and the turbulence of the Emergency years.
The book provides a riveting account of Jain's involvement with some of the notable people-centred experiments of post-Independence India - refugees from the North West Frontier province who built the township of Faridabad with their bare hands, the creation of Cottage Industries Emporium which revolutionised the role of crafts in India, and the birth of Super Bazaar, India's first people's supermarket.
He also studied the growth of the Bhoodan movement. While working on the book, Jain, who lived life on his own terms, also put up a courageous fight against cancer.
The cremation will take place at the Lodhi crematorium at 7.30 pm today.
Gandhian L C Jain Dead
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