Dilip Padgaonkar: A friend of minorities

The death of Dilip Padgaonkar has orphaned the minorities and their just causes. He was full of concern for the Muslims and despite being a Maharashtrian Brahmin, who’re rabidly against Muslims, he was an exception and I remember how spontaneously and genuinely he condemned Godhra riots in February 2002 and was very anguished when Babri mosque was demolished by the Hindu hooligans on December 6, 1992. He spoke passionately, eloquently and tirelessly against communalism, Hindu nationalism and terrorism among other pressing issues of the day as reflected in his books like When Bombay burned (which he edited, on the 1992-3 Mumbai riots) and numerous essays and articles. Such upright journalists among Hindus are now absolute rarities. I remember my meetings with the man whenever he visited Poona. He permanently left Delhi in 2013 to settle down in Poona, the place he hailed from. He’d often say, ‘Don’t ever slam a door, you might want to go back.’ His fluent French and fondness for all that’s nice in French culture appealed to me no end. He loved Chopin and would visit the cafe in Paris where Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre would sit and discuss life and its myriad shades. He was an uber-refined man who regaled his admirers with absorbing anecdotes of his outstanding career as a top-notch journalist. Adieu, Mr Padgaonkar. The old-timers will sorely miss you and your honest journalistic ethos.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2016 on page no. 4

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