Gupta displayed rare heroism in life in harnessing his academic insights and human capabilities for positive and constructive social change. He passed away at the age of 54 in which people look forward to lead a happy and prosperous life. It is no age to die. His life has been snatched away from us by unforeseen ailments which caused serious damage to his brain.
He combined the excellence of a great human being with the excellence of a very bright student. He proved his worth as an authentic Gandhian constructive rebel for transforming society so that the last person is empowered and great ideals become realities.
A shining example of a dedicated activist he was the personification of exacting standards of simplicity in face of exuberance of materialistic appetite and stood for basic values of our civilization. I recall Sunilbhai in Kurta and Pyzama in JNU campus displaying rare dignity and poise of a composed human being with an iron will for peaceful social reconstruction and removal of poverty of people and creation a happy and healthy society.
He was so refreshingly different from proponents of dialectical materialism and so inspiring in bringing about inner change in those who came in contact with him. It was he who introduced me first to Kishen Pattnaik in JNU and made me aware of his originality as a socialist thinker. Imparting instruction to the children of the labourers living in the campus and striving to educate them remained an integral part of his vibrant academic life.
The way he annually celebrated Diwali in JNU by visiting the homes of those labourers and distributing sweets to their children was indicative of his future life dedicated to the cause of tribals and toiling masses wholly and in substantial measure.
His strength of conviction was so infectious that even his detractors were drawn towards him and acclaimed his high values and standards of conduct.
A self- effacing man he was a radiating centre of warmth, compassion and social sympathy. Einstein's statement in the context of Mahatma Gandhi that “he confronted the brutalities of Europe with the dignity of a simple human being” so amply applies in the context of Sunil bhai who fought for the dispossessed and disinherited with the strength of character and a moral worldview.
A rare personality in today's public life he gave primacy to service over material pursuits and clearly set an example of a fine human being woven around the noble values of life.
His stature surpassed his accomplishments on account of his total sacrifice for the cause of the suffering humanity. A student of Economics who topped the list he could be hailed as the conscience of economics for his service, self sacrifice and humane application of knowledge of economics which he learnt in the class rooms of JNU.
World is poorer in the sad and untimely demise of such a noble soul. May we be inspired to follow his ideals to the best of our ability so that our society incessantly assailed by materialistic values can celebrate values and morals in face insurmountable challenges? Sunilbhai you are as glorious in your death as you were in your life. Sunil Gupta Zindabad.Editor's note:
Eminent socialist Sunil Gupta, better known as Sunil Bhai, died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. A person who practiced what he preached, he lived without any electrical appliances and used only non-detergent cow brand soap manufactured locally in Pipariya. He never used his surname, for himself or his children, in opposition to casteism.
# This piece of obituary is written by Mr Satya Narayan Sahu. The author was OSD and Press Secretary to President of India Late Shri K.R.Narayanan and served as Director in Prime Minister's Office. Currently he is Joint Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Views expressed are personal and are not that of Rajya Sabha Secretariat.