Pune: Considered to be one of the last socialist movement veterans, Bhai Vaidya, who breathed his last on Monday, is remembered by many who worked alongside him, were mentored by him and whose lives he touched with his presence, as an inspiring person, who stayed true to his commitments till his departure. Bhai Vaidya, who was 90 years old, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost a month back, which ultimately proved fatal.
Sheetal Sathe, a folk singer, activist and ex-member of Kabir Kala Manch, said that Bhai was instrumental to their activism.
“Bhai was so senior, experienced and learned but none of it made him egoistic. He was also one of the very few who in spite of being socialist, took up the issue of caste seriously,” Sheetal said.
“He was focused on people’s movements and he never forced his ideas on anyone despite differences, instead he used to counsel us when our thoughts got extreme to find a balanced approach,” she added.
Sheetal also remembers Bhai as a personal parental figure. “Bhai was a huge support during my marriage, He was at the forefront to support us when me and Sachin (Mali) wanted to get married. When Sachin and I were in prison for political activism, Bhai used to regularly write to us and he also took efforts to get us out,” she said.
Neeraj Jain of Lokayat said that Bhai was a source of inspiration to many. “Even at 90, he was a source of energy and inspiration. It is rare to find a more committed person to socialism than Bhai Vaidya,” he said.
“He never let the circumstances around him make him pessimistic. Even after he was diagnosed with cancer, he kept meeting us for future strategies and plans. We got to know about it only when he was in the hospital. We will keep his dreams and ideas alive and work to fulfil them,” he added.
Ajit Abhyankar of the Communist Party of India-Marxist said, “I will always remember and admire Bhai for his surprising awareness. He always used to be aware of the latest happenings, ideas, debates, books and articles. He never compromised on his ideology beyond a certain limit,” Abhyankar said, adding, “Once, in our youth, we were attacked by right-wing forces and even though we belonged to different ideologies, Bhai stood for us and expressed his concern.”