(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 29, 2013
Comrade Vinod Raina
FORTY years back a
young scholar with
a fresh PhD in Physics from
Vinod Raina passed
away after a brave
four year long battle with cancer in
Vinod’s lifelong passion was education. His train journey to Hoshangabad was the beginning of his association with the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme. He was to later be part of founding Eklavya, a path breaker in the landscape of science teaching programmes in the country. Vinod’s vision and intellectual sweep ensured that initiatives that he was involved in did not remain limited as small NGO programmes. Eklavya soon became an example of how education can be both joyful and liberating, and its success left its mark on teaching methodologies across the country. His vision was always much larger, he set value to the transformative potential of education. Perhaps he would agree himself that the culmination of his life’s work was the enactment of the Right to Education Act by the Indian parliament in 2009. The RTE Act was very dear to Vinod and he fought relentlessly to shape the Act and to ensure a consensus around it.
The Bhopal Gas
Tragedy in 1984 saw
Vinod in the forefront of the struggle for justice for the
victims of the worst
corporate crime in the history of
Vinod remained rooted in his commitment to local struggles for democracy and rights throughout his life. While science and education were his first loves, he became a part of the environment movement and was one of the loudest voices speaking for the victims of capitalist development, who were forced out of their lands and lost their livelihoods. The Narmada Bachao Andolan, the anti-nuclear struggles in many parts of the country, and many other people's movements found in Vinod a tireless fighter and a comrade-in-arms.
Vinod would say that all his later day work was rooted in what he learnt from the simple village people in Hoshangabad district. He was to use this knowledge to work on a canvas that was truly global. Through Jubilee South, he became a crusader against the unjust global policies of the rich countries, and was in the forefront of the global struggle to cancel the unjust debts that were forced on poor developing countries. He was, for long, an International Council member of the World Social Forum and remained one of its prominent voices till his death. He was also one of the founders of the global Forum for Science and Democracy.
Vinod was a wonderful orator, both in Hindi and English – he had a way with words that could convert the most cynical opponents into believers of social transformation. He was also an accomplished singer and his melodious voice would often lift the spirit of activists as they gathered together at the end of a long and tiring day.
The Peoples Science Movement, the Literacy and Education movements, numerous people’s movements – all shall miss Vinod’s physical presence. But comrades such as Vinod do not die, they remain alive through their work and in the minds and the struggles of people he worked with.