Siby K Joseph
February 11,2022 was the 80th death Anniversary of Jamnalal Bajaj’s demise. Every year a public meeting is organized at the Samadhi Sthal of Jamnalal Bajaj at Gopuri where Gitai Mandir is situated to pay tributes to him. After attending the function I wrote a piece viz. “Remembering Jamnalal Bajaj – Mahatma Gandhi’s Fifth Son” and it was published on February 12,2022. Unfortunately on the same day I got the news of passing away of his grandson Rahul Bajaj.
Ram Dutt Tripathi former Correspondent of BBC asked me to write a obituary about him. With a heavy heart, I writing this note.
In India Rahul Bajaj needs no introduction.From the Prime Minister of the country to top business magnates are writing about former Chairman of Bajaj Auto Limited.
What makes Rahul Bajaj different from other business magnets is that was his unique personality.My last meeting him with was on September15,2019 soon after the Board Meeting of Institute of Gandhian Studies, Wardha.
I placed a proposal of a book “Gandhi in South Africa: A Racist or A Liberator? “coinciding with sesquicentennial celebrations of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi before the Board. He came out of the Board meeting and we had a brief conversation. He informed me that we have approved your proposal and conveyed all his best wishes. I wrote to him from Phoenix Settlement Ashram of Gandhi near Durban in South Africa where I came for attending an international conference and the release of the book by Ela Gandhi granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi who wrote the foreword for the book. On October 2, I was glancing through the articles on Gandhi written from India on this special occasion and I found Rahul Bajaj’s interview on Gandhi. I was fascinated by the way in which he answered the questions . I briefed him about my arrival and wrote to him appreciating the way in which he approached questions and pointed out the current perspective on Gandhi ji.
On October 3 when I opened my email inbox I saw the reply from him. That was Rahul Bajaj .He never kept the things in pending and he was so prompt always. If someone write to him, he or she will get immediate response. He was so meticulous and he study everything throughly.I had opportunity to get detailed reply of some of my reports.I was always surprised by his knowledge and the his analytical ability.He read every line and makes his points so clear. I always think that if he was in the academic field he would have a become a great teacher. I am saying because I had personally experienced it. I wrote a series of articles on Jamnalal Bajaj on the occasion of 125 birth anniversary of Jamnalal Bajaj. Among them one was on dealing with Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Trusteeship.Ram Chandra Pradhan noted Political Scientist and Gandhian Scholar was the first author and I was the co-author.I shared that article also with him.In response to that he said he would like to have personal discussion with us if we are available at the time of his next visit to Wardha. I was surprised when I got a letter from him for the meeting during his visit.I never thought it was possible. Because he will be having innumerable meetings during his visit.But he came in the early morning and we had a fruitful discussion.I was surprised by the way in which he spoke and the markings and notes he wrote on our article. He spent with us almost an hour.He treated every person with equal respect and he was accessible to everyone. He was always ready to listen to the other point of view even if he was not in agreement with it.
He was always blunt and speaks the truth whomsoever it may be.Sometimes it may be the Home Minister of this country or business tycoons of international repute . He was so supportive and great sensitive to feelings of people.I personally witnessed on my ocassions.That shows his magnanimity and greatness.I had some correspondence with him when he was not in good health during the pandemic. He always responded but I was looking for having a personal meeting with him instead of correspondence. Now I realize that it will never happen. With lot of fond memories I end my note here.
Dr. Siby K. Joseph is a noted Gandhian Scholar and Director of Sri Jamnalal Bajaj Memorial Library Research Centre, Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan, Sevagram Wardha-442102 (Maharashtra) Email:firstname.lastname@example.org