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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 28, July 2, 2011

Tribute to Shree Shankar Sharan

Sunday 3 July 2011

Retired IAS officer of the Bihar cadre and Convener of Lok Paksh, Patna/Delhi Shree Shankar Sharan (who was earlier the President of the Awami Ekta Manch, Patna/Delhi) passed away at Gurgaon’s Paras Hospital at 8 pm on June 18; he would have completed 80 years on August 7. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and three sons.

He was related to Lal Bahadur Shastri, our second PM, from his mother’s side whereas Jayaprakash Narayan (‘JP’ to one and all) happened to be his great grandfather’s brother. It was with JP that he had close association and rapport even during the Emergency (when he was in service). His father, Shambhu Sharan, was a noted advocate but he died at the young age of 38 when Shree Shankar Sharan was barely 27 days old. Anugrah Narain Sinha was his surrogate father. He studied in Patna University and then went to the London School of Economics (LSE) from where he graduated in Economics. Simulatneously he joined the Lincoln’s Inn for becoming a Bar-at-Law. In the meantime he sat for the Civil Services examination at London and was admitted into the service in 1955. He was the Development Commissioner, Bihar as well as Principal Secretary, Industries and Infrastructural Development, there. He was also the Additional Secretary in the Government of India and was the only administrator in the Department of Telecom. (In fact he substantially contributed to the launching of the telecommunication revolution in the country because of his closeness to V.N. Gadgil, the then Minister of Telecommunications, and became the founder Chairman of the VSNL in the mid-eighties.) For five years he was also the Joint Secretary (Defence) at the Centre. Once H.N. Bahuguna, well known for his administrative capabilities, had described him as “Shastri parivar ka eklauta chirag” on witnessing his dedicated work.

He displayed his administrative acumen during the Kosi floods and the Latur earthquake as well.

On his retirement he initiated the Bhay Mukti Andolan in Champaran district during the Laloo Prasad regime. He fully backed Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s efforts to change the face of the State and help uplift the bulk of the populace, especially the poor and marginalised.

He joined the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) since its inception in 1994 and tirelessly worked along with such personalities as Nirmal Mukherjee and Admiral Ramdas to improve India-Pakistan relations at the peoples’ level. One was privileged to travel with him to Peshawar after crossing the border at Wagah to attend the PIPFPD’s Fourth Joint Convention in November 1998; needless to add, he played a prominent role at that gathering of mass representativesof the two neighbouring states.

He wrote extensively on different issues in various publications including Mainstream with which he had developed close affinity over the years. He was highly impressed by Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade and openly welcomed it in an article (“The Baba Ramdev Fiasco in Delhi and Anna’s March of Glory”) that appeared in this journal on the same day (June 18) he breathed his last. As a token of our tribute to him and while offering our sincere homage to his abiding memory, we are reproducing four of his pieces that came out in Mainstream since December 2008.

The four articles by Shree Shankar Sharan reproduced in the print edition of Mainstream, July 2, 2011 are:

Open Letter to Our Dear Brothers in Pakistan (in: Mainstream Vol XLVI, No 51, December 6, 2008)

Israeli Invasion of Gaza (in: Mainstream, VOl XLVII, No 2, January 24, 2009)

A Non-Communist’s Salutations to Jagannath Sarkar (in: Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 51, December 11, 2010)

The Bihar Election (in: Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 1, December 25, 2010 (Annual 2010)

Please note there are some 40 articles by Shree Shankar Sharan that appeared in Mainstream in the recent years, all these are available at : http://mainstreamweekly.net/auteur69.html

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