Veteran journalist and freedom fighter Dinu Ranadive passed away on Tuesday. He was 95.
Ranadive was widely respective throughout his career and even after for his investigative journalism, relentless coverage of social movements, and activism for the downtrodden. His wife Savita had passed away exactly a month ago on May 16. She was a school teacher and a union activist.
Ranadive started his career as the founder-editor of Samyukta Maharashtra Patrika in the 1950s, which had a lasting impact on the movement for the unification of Maharashtra as a State based on language. He then did exemplary reporting on the Goa Freedom Struggle in 1961.
As a reporter for Maharashtra Times, he came to be known for his frontline war reporting during the Bangladesh war in 1970-71, during which he trekked on foot to the rural areas around Chittagong. Once again, in 1982, when Maharashtra went through the throes of the ‘cement scandal’, Ranadive excelled with a series of breaking stories that exposed then chief minister A.R. Antulay, and kept the State on the boil. He retired from service as chief reporter of the Maharashta Times in the late 1980s.
Ranadive’s activism and pledge towards journalism was such that late Arun Sadhu’s iconic Marathi novel Sinhasan had a central character based on him. Jabbar Patel directed a movie of the similar name and veteran actor late Nilu Phule played the role of Digu Tipnis, based on real life of Dinu Ranadive.
He was recently conferred with Mumbai Press Club’s Red Ink award for Lifetime Achievement. “With the passing of Dinu Ranadive, a voice of the downtrodden and poor was lost,” said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
For many, he has been a friend, philosopher and a guide and also a person with treasure of resources. “When I met him as a cub-reporter in 2007, he told me about how he started a series on people living on footpaths in Mumbai at night. He used to walk across the city on foot to meet and write on the lives of these people. It was a tough lesson for a budding journalist like me,” said Amey Tirodkar, a journalist working in Mumbai.
“A socialist by heart and an activist in reality. Dinu Ranadive was a part of every struggle for justice, be it samyukta Maharashtra or mill workers’ strike. He reported it and also ensured his participation. He did not hide behind the curtain of objectivity,” said social activist Subodh More.