Obituary - Current Affairs for August, 2017
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▼ BJP Parliamentarian and former Union Minister Sanwar Lal Jat dies [08-10-17]
Former Union minister and BJP parliamentarian Sanwar Lal Jat died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi early on 9th Aug 2017. He was 62.
The Rajasthan politician, who had served as the minister of state for water resources in the Narendra Modi government, breathed his last at 6.15 am after being in coma for over a week.
He had suffered a cardiac arrest during a meeting chaired by BJP president Amit Shah in Jaipur on July 22.
A five-time MLA, Jat was a mass leader and a close confidant of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
Born in a peasant’s family at Ajmer’s Gopalpura village, the politician made his Lok Sabha debut in 2014 by defeating Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot from Ajmer.
Despite being appointed as a Union minister after that, he was dropped during a cabinet reshuffle.
Jat did not start his career as a politician. His first job - after completing his post-graduation in 1977 - was that of a supervisor with the Ajmer dairy.
Later, he became a lecturer at the local government college.
Although Jat had been politically active since his college days, his first big breakthrough came only in 1990 - when he won his first assembly election from Bhinai on a Janata Dal ticket.
When the party split the same year, he decided to join the BJP. In 1993, he was appointed as a minister of state with independent charge of relief and rehabilitation in the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat government.
Jat retained his seat in 1998 and 2003, and despite losing the polls in 2008, he made a comeback in December 2013 by winning from the Nasirabad constituency.
The chairman of the state farmers’ commission, he frequently raised rural issues - mostly related to agriculture - in the Rajasthan assembly.
Jat was a farmers’ leader who had made an immense contribution to the state as MLA, MP and minister.
▼ Harry Potter actor CBE Robert Hardy no more [08-8-17]
Actor Robert Hardy, a familiar face on British television who also played the minister of magic in the Harry Potter franchise, has died aged 91.
Hardy giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years.
Hardy was a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow".
Born in 1925, Hardy started his career at 24 in a stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, the first of many theatre roles.
He was also part of several long-standing television shows, including the BBC's famed All Creatures Great and Small, which ran for 12 years.
The Bafta-nominated actor later appeared in the Harry Potter films as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.
He reprised the role in 2004's Prisoner of Azkaban, 2005's Goblet of Fire, and 2007's Order of the Phoenix.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling tweeted expressing grief over Hardy's demise.
Hardy was awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) - one of Britain's highest honours - in 1981 for his services to acting.
▼ Pushpa Bhargava, veteran molecular biologist and GMO critic, dies [08-3-17]
Veteran molecular biologist and a vehement critic of genetically modified crops, Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, died at his home in Hyderabad on 1st Aug 2017. He was 89. He is survived by a son and daughter.
Dr Bhargava, while active, had recently developed kidney complications and was undergoing dialysis.
Bhargava was the founding director of the CCMB, Hyderabad.
Though Bhargava had ceased to be an active researcher for over 20 years, he remained engaged with issues in science and policy.
A strident critic of multinational seed companies, Bhargava was opposed to the introduction of genetically modified crops - from cotton to brinjal and, most recently, transgenic mustard - in India.
His argument was that these crops posed health hazards and required decades more of tests before possible clearance.
He had led what came to be called the Award Wapsi programme in 2015 when scientists and litterateurs returned their awards against what they called rising tide of intolerance in the country.
In 2015, Bhargava was among the scientists who returned his Padma Bhushan - in solidarity with writers and artistes - protesting the “climate of religious conservatism” and underlined by incidents such as the murder of scholar, M.M. Kalburgi, and the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.
Bhargava also moved the Supreme Court against an initiative by former education minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, to introduce astrology in universities.
Prior to the CCMB there was no lab for research on cell, DNA and molecular biology. Public understanding of science, interaction with government and policy makers was his forte. He was a great talent scout.
Bhargava was chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill 2013.
The Bill was the culmination of a 15-year struggle as he mobilised and marshalled support by meeting legislators and policy makers.
The draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2016.
However, Bhargava opposed the ban on surrogacy, instead calling for protection of the rights of surrogate mothers.
Bhargava was also vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission.
In his role as a founder director of CCMB, he also invigorated the art scene in Hyderabad by inviting artistes from across the country and creating a residency programme.
Scientists and officials of CCMB expressed their grief at the demise of Mr. Bhargava.
▼ Famous Dhrupad maestro Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar dies [08-1-17]
Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, maestro and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music and a member of the eminent Dagar family, passed away aged 78 in Pune on 30th July 2017 after a brief illness.
Known affectionately to his legions of disciples and admirers as ‘Saeed Bhai’, the maestro was born in Alwar in Rajasthan in 1939 and was the youngest among the eight famous Dagar brothers.
They were all exponents of the ancient, complex and elaborate Dhrupad tradition.
The renowned brothers were the grandsons of the legendary Zakiruddin and Allabande Khan Dagar.
The entire family is frequently credited with being the curators who preserved the oldest known form of North Indian classical music from which much of the extant Indian classical music is said to have been originated.
Ustad Sayeeduddin came to Pune in 1984 and had been residing in the city’s bustling Karvenagar-Kothrud area, staying at a number of houses for several years as he awaited the State government to allot him a permanent one.
He frequently visited Benares to grace the Dhrupad festival held there.
His older brothers include Ustaad Nasir Moinuddin, Nasir Aminuddin Dagar (known as the ‘elder’ Dagar brothers), Nasir Zahiruddin and Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar (called the ‘junior’ Dagar brothers).
Ustaad Sayeeduddin is survived by his wife Rihanna and sons, Nafeesuddin and Aneesuddin (both Dhrupad exponents) and his grandsons.
Dhrupad: Know More
- Dhrupad is a Sanskrit portmanteau of Dhruva (immovable) and Pad (verse).
- It has its roots since ancient times, mentioned as early as the 3rd Century B.C. in the Natyashastra.
- The contribution of the Dagar family through 20 generations of Dhrupad exponents is all the more remarkable given the slow death of this form following Independence and the extinction of a musically informed aristocracy, when the milieu of royal court patronage had all but vanished.
- Such has been the continuing legacy of the Dagars’ since the 1800s that the Dagar bani (or vani) has come to constitute one of the four styles, along with the Gauri, Khandar and Nauhar vanis, of Dhrupad singing and music.
- This is owing to successive generations of the Dagars’ devoting their lives to Dhrupad music.