Farmer and activist for community health, renewable energy, human rights and sustainable development Dinkar Dave passed away on January 9 2018. Dinkerbhai, as he was known to friends and colleagues, belonged originally to village Chuda in Surendranagar District of Gujarat, and graduated from Lokbharti Rural University, Sanosra. He was a founding member of SEWA-Rural, closely associated with Vedchi Pradesh Seva Samiti, and stood as one of the strongest pillars of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
In the state of Gujarat, whose leaders strongly promoted the Sardar Sarovar Dam project, he played an invaluable role in talking to people, facilitating meetings and finding opportunities to reach out to people and explain the social and environmental costs of project and the impact on the tribal and peasant communities as well as on farms, forests and wildlife in the Narmada valley.
Social activist and writer Nandini Oza remembers him as “one who fought adversaries with jest and worked in most unpleasant of circumstances with an absolute jovial disposition.”
From the 1970s, as part of the Ahmedabad Study Action Group, he worked in the field of rural development, renewable energy, affordable housing for rural and urban poor, community health, and environmental protection.
In 2001 – 2002 he played a major role in a path breaking project in long term disaster preparedness for Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, that covered 484 villages in 5 districts. Dinkerbhai in his later years focused on farming on the banks of river Sabarmati, Dholka, Gujarat. However he never gave up his social and political work and remained active through out his life over issues concerning the people at large. He is survived by his wife Jayshriben and two sons Jayesh and Pranav.
Thanks to Nandini Oza for information and photographs. Read more anecdotes in her tribute to Dinker bhai, “One Who Travelled on the Less Travelled Paths.”