Surya Narayan Saxena
Veteran Kalyan Ashram activist and former editor of Vanvasi magazine Vanbandhu, Surya Narayan Saxena passed away on May 10 in New Delhi. He was 91. He is survived by his wife Pushpa Saxena and a daughter, who live in Delhi.
Born on April 22, 1922, Surya Narayan Saxena was in close contact of Kalyan Ashram, founder Bala Saheb Deshpande. After his retirement from Ministry for Health, Government of India, he dedicated himself to the publication work of Kalyan Ashram. His contribution in drafting the memorandum against Indigenous Year Campaign of UNO was very significant. The memorandum was presented to the then Prime Minister of India PV Narashimha Rao. Senior leader Shri IK Gujral had also supported the move then. The late Bala Saheb Deshpande along with other leaders including Saxenaji met Shri Narashimha Rao in New Delhi and submitted the memorandum. Saxenaji sent a memorandum to Pope John Paul against the conversion of Indian Vanvasis. He later wrote a book on the activities of the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Wide Wings of Kalyan Ashram, which is regarded a guide book for any social worker working in Vanvasi areas of the country.
In his tribute Kalyan Ashram president Shri Jagdevram Oraon said Saxenaji’s role in documenting the Kalyan Ashram activities will be remembered for long. His also contributed greatly in drafting many vital documents. “Since he lived in Delhi he was always in touch of the policymakers and the bureaucrats. Whenever needed he also contributed in policy formulations by providing vital inputs to the leaders,” he said.
Kalyan Ashram vice president Shri Kripa Prasad Singh, in his tribute said, very meticulously Saxenaji managed rupees ten lakh for the construction of the Lohardaga Hospital of Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra. “He wrote many articles on health condition of Vanvasis. He was very active during the first national conference of Kalyan Ashram in New Delhi in 1981,” he said.
Kalyan Ashram vice president Shri Jaleshwar Brahm recalled Saxenaji’s fight for the interests of Reang Vanvasis of Mizoram. “He filed a petition against Government of Mizoram demanding resettlement of Reangs who were pushed out from Mizoram by some fanatics and are now living in boarder areas of Tripura at Narshipara village,” he said adding that the Kalyan Ashram served 40,000 Reangs for ten years continuously. Single Teacher Schools were also opened for them. Some doctors were deployed and food material and mosquito nets, etc, were also provided to them. Some Reang students from refugee camp were brought to different hostels run by Kalyan Ashram in different parts of the country. Many of them have now become good doctors and teachers.
The Karyakari Mandal of Kalyan Ashram that met in Jashpur Nagar on June 19 also paid tribute to Saxenaji and applauded his contribution to the organisational work.