ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Requiem for Dange

G P D DO you remember a man called Sripad Dange? Yes, there was a man of that name. A fair man (in senses more than one!) and a witty man. Somebody siad of him once in private conversation, "a nice, witty, Maharashtrian, not much of a communist though". The first part of the remark was very valid.Going by the recent performance of the communists, the second part appears to be distinctly unfair. 'Not much of a communist though' might now be a description of almost anyone, a cynic might say. But one does not have to go by typical cynical remarks. We all know how these cynics are and behave. They have this endearing habit of not saying anything except in a provocative manner Dange would have loved the first part of the remark. The second part, he would have hated; would have seen either a CIA or a Maoist conspiracy behind the remark. What is the difference between the two conspiracies, he would have asked and would have probably gone on to quote Keshavsut: You wonder, don't you, who we are Darling of the Gods certainly we are! We met him years ago. These were the years of the now-forgotten Cultural Revolution in China. The Chinese, he said, had put him at the top of their hit-list. In a way they had made him an international figure. He seemed to enjoy the status. He thouroughly disapproved of whatever we had written on that 'Revolution' in this very journal. Strangely his comments were very brief and dismissive. We are used to dismissive languages being used about almost everything we write. The dismissiveness, therefore, was hardly strange. His brevity was. He must have been distressed. He quickly changed the subject and talked of Kosambi' s review of his book From Primitive Communism to Slavery. Apparently, Kosambi was sharply critical of his work. But the kindness and humour with which he recalled Kosambi's attack on his work was remarkable. We moved on to Maharashtrian cuisine and things like that. We never met again.

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