Saturday, 12 December 2015

 

Farmer’s leader Sharad Joshi passes away in Pune

12/12/2015

PUNE: Veteran farmer’s leader and founder of Shetkari Sanghatana Sharad Joshi (81) passed away on today. Joshi who was ailing for some days was discharged from a city hospital earlier this month. He breathed his last at his residence in Pune.

Born in Satara, Joshi completed his education in Mumbai and had worked as a lecturer in Economics in Pune University. He had also worked with the Indian Postal Services and United Nations before starting the pan Maharashtra farmer’s organisation called Shetkari Sanghatana. Between 2004 and 2010 he was a Rajya Sabha member also.

At a time when the political dialogue was pro-middle class Joshi started his farmer’s movement to ensure proper pricing of farm goods. His movement took up the cause of onion farmers, cotton farmers and the cause of cane farmers across the state. Joshi was the first one to link production cost to the price of agricultural produce and agitate for better price.

His movement during the initial days was met with stiff resistance from the ruling elite who have been controlling the economics of farmland in Maharasthra. Swambhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti, farmer leader Raghunath Patil were originally from Joshi’s outfit. He was also invited by the then prime minister VP Singh to frame a farmer’s policy which was not accepted. Well before the acceptance of BT Cotton and other modern technologies, Joshi has been a strong supporter of such techniques.

Speaking about the demise of Joshi, Shetti said the present day farmer’s in the state owe their socio-political awakening to him. “All of us have been taught to fight and ask for our rights by him. His death is a big loss to the farmer’s movements,” he said. Joshi is survived by a son and a daughter.

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