Tribute to Narendranath, an organic farmer who passed away in Hyderabad

A tribute to Gorrepati Narendranath, well known human rights activist and organic farmer



Dear friends, Gorrepati Narendranath, well known human rights activist and organic farmer, passed away at Hyderabad on Sunday (5th July). There are many who know Naren through his work on civil liberties and fight for land rights through non violent means and not as part of any big funded organisation. Naren worked silently for these ideas even as he was keen to maintain his identity as a farmer always keen on experimenting on sustainable agriculture. It was no easy success story as both the natural resources of the area he was in, Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh was diminishing and public policy became extremely unfavourable to farmers. Naren maintained his link with farmers movements even as he actively engaged with organic farmers and sustainable agriculture efforts. He wrote about his experiences in a lovely booklet titled "Dilemmas in Agriculture". (dilemmas-in-agriculture_naren)  The Telugu translation of this was released recently at Hyderabad through the Hyderabad Book Trust and titled 'Itlu Oka Raithu' . Naren's submissions to the State Elecricity Regulatory Commission on farmers' difficulties with power supply motivated KICS members Ramamohan and Sreekumar to undertake the study on water and energy (click here to read the study) to try and demonstrate savings to the exchequer if only the state treated farmers as proper customers and enabled timely supply. There are surely more competent people to write about Naren's work in the fields of human rights, sustainable agriculture, farmers movements etc. NAPM has rightly remembered him for embodying the values of equity, simplicity and self reliance (Samata, Sadgi and Svavalamban) . To many who knew Naren as Aravinda has shown in her tribute he was a great source of strength for so many of us who were thinking of opting out of the mainstream and exploring alternatives. Many of us remember the remarkable hospitality that Naren provided us with Uma whenever we visited Venkatarampuram, his village and the patience and understanding that he showed us. For many who wondered if the paths of Ambedkar and Gandhi could ever be reconciled Naren was a reminder that another world was truly possible. We join Uma, Samyukta, (Kiran and Tanmay) and Lakshmi in prayer and so many others whose lives were touched by this remarkably gentle soul. Let us all hope that we will some day translate his inclusive vision of growth and development. Shambu   Ed Note: Dr. Shambu Prasad is on the faculty of Xavier Institute of Rural Management, Bhubaneshwar, and member of KICS: Knowledge in Civil Society Alliance


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