Madhu Limaye: an epitome of simplicity and ideological politics

madhumayBy Santosh Bhartiya
Khudiram Bose was 19 when he went to the gallows; Chandrashekhar Azad was just 14 when the police whipped him; Lord Krishna was probably 14 when he blew Panchjanya shankh (conch). At more or less similar age on 1 May 1937 in Pune, a 15-year-old boy took part in the labor movement. The name of that boy was Madhu Limaye, who in later part of his life was to become the one of, if not the main pillar of socialist movement in India. He, in the coveted company of people like Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Jaiprakash Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali and Acharya Narendra Dev, has fashioned himself as an ideologue of socialist politics in India, who may be considered the best in his trade. In current politics there are very few people who can fill the void rendered by the passing away of Madhu Limaye and his generation. Indeed Madhu Limaye was epitome of ideological politics and simplicity. The simplicity of his life is no longer visible nowadays.
Whenever he received a visitor or a colleague at his house, he himself prepared and served tea to that person. Many people took inspiration from his simplicity, some of whom are still alive. People should deliberate upon Madhu Limaye ji’s life and work, and take inspiration to pressurize the government and the society. However, people who could relate stories associated with Madhu Limaye Ji’s are increasingly becoming stories themselves. Indeed Madhu ji did a lot remarkable work in his life. One should remember that he moved a privilege motion against Indira Gandhi in Parliament on 5 July 1978, which subsequently was accepted by the Privilege Committee and Mrs Gandhi was sacked from the Lok Sabha and had to go to jail for a week. Before that when efforts were made to increase the term of Parliament, Madhu Limaye asked his young follower Sharad Yadav to resign from the Lok Sabha. Sharad Yadav had joined Lok Sabha a year earlier winning Jabalpur seat as a Janata Party candidate. He accepted the Madhu Limaye’s suggestion and resigned from the Lok Sabha along with Madhu Limaye.
Madhu ji raised the question of dual membership in Janata Party so vehemently that the government fell after the split in the Party. He also participated in the Goa liberation movement. Because of his ideological perseverance and pressure on the Government of India, Goa was freed. He was awarded a jail term of 12 years for participating in that movement. Today, especially those join politics do not have much interest in Madhuji.
Madhu Limayeji was not a pragmatist but a man of principles. He never was a power-hungry politician. Instead he spent his whole life in trying to bring joy in the lives of the disadvantaged. He never thought of accumulating wealth and riches for his family. He never thought that when he will be no more how his family members would spend their lives; for him the whole society was his family. Therefore today, most of the people who remember him are part of his ideological family.
After 20-30 years from now, if a person will read about the struggle of leaders like him, he must ponder that is it true that such leaders had ever born? Not to speak of 20 years from now, even today when we look back, we cannot believe that people like Madhu Limaye Ji were ever part of our society, especially in a society where having cars, wealth, housing and stashing big money has become the identity of an ideal politician. Personalities like Madhu Limaye ji will weigh heavier than millions of such people today, because at the end of the day only people like him will be considered ideal.
(The author is Editor in Chief of Chauthi Duniya weekly. He may be contacted at:


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