Friday, January 31, 2014

Tribute to Shailendra Mahato

Shailendra Mahato

It is with deep sadness to hear that Shailendra Mahato has passed away on 18 January, 2014. Some of his friends and colleagues were aware that Shailendra was receiving medical treatment for renal failure but it was still unexpected to hear of his sudden death due to a stroke and heart failure.

Shailendra is survived by Sushila his wife, son Biplab and daughter Julie. Our thoughts are with Sushila, Biplab and Julie.

We remember a very gentle man, his winning personality and his determination to work for his family, friends and neighbours. He was a man who considered the deep issues of life.

Shailendra was a farmer at heart, coming from generations of farmers going back hundreds of years who worked the land near Dorka Sai village located some 23 kilometers from the city of Jamshedpur in the Indian State of Jharkhand.

Early in his life Shailendra became involved with Initiatives of Change (IofC) (formerly Moral Re-Armament – MRA). Living by the standards that are the guiding principals of this movement, he found a new relationship with Sushila and more cooperative ways to work with political opponents. Shailendra was instrumental in excavating large holes or dams in the ground to catch rainwater during the monsoon seasons enabling farmers’ access to water and to grow native fish.

Shailendra spent many years helping operate the farm at Panchgani, the Initiatives of Change conference and training centre located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra State. He became involved with Farmers’ Dialogue, another programme within IofC where farmers renew their calling to feed the world.  

In February 2006, Shailendra arranged a Farmers’ Dialogue in Dorka Sai village in Jharkhand. Shailendra and Sushila were part of the first African Farmers’ Dialogue held in Tanzania in 2006 and following on after the dialogue, they were part of a small group to visit Kenya and Uganda. Where ever he went outside of India he was a great ambassador for India.

Shailendra was a friend to many. People from many countries who visited Jamshedpur with a number of IofC groups were made welcome in Shailendra and Sushila’s home on the their farm.

Tributes have come from friends and Farmers’ Dialogue colleagues in India, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, France, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Shailendra Mahato: 60 years: 1954 – 2014
Husband, Father, Farmer, Friend, Shailendra will be deeply missed by all.

International Farmers’ Dialogue Team
Abhay Shah   India
Julius Khakula  Kenya
George Kamau  Kenya
Duncan Nduhiu  Kenya
Jamil Ssebalu   Uganda
Martin Simtenda  Tanzania
Jean-Pierre Emeriau  France
Claude Bourdin  France
Jim Wigan   United Kingdom
John, Jenny, Bill Bocock Canada.
Phil Jefferys   Australia