Three years ago on this a day I informed you of the passing away of my grandfather, Shri Hardas Sharma. He was the instrumental figure in my life who drew me towards social justice and the meaningful role of politics in achieving that ideal. He was a vociferous advocate for policies that lent rural India the dignity and attention it deserves.
Today, when I see the success of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) I remember him. A former Gram Sabha leader himself, he would be delighted to see that this policy is providing a real building block for Mahatma Gandhi's dream of "Gram Swaraj" (Rural Self-Sufficiency). Also, the Right to Information Act would have been something that he would have used to fight for the rights of the poor and exploited. Were he alive he would have been hopeful for India. Sure, there are huge challenges ahead. Even the NREGA has numerous open issues surrounding transparency and real rural asset development but overall the spotlight now shining on rural India can only do good.
Even though my grandfather left the Congress party post-independence in response to Mahatma Gandhi's message that Congress workers should become "constructive" workers his emotional attachment to the party never really waned. Of course, till this day it remains my greatest regret that my joint appearance with him at his native district Congress headquarters happened to be scheduled for just a few days after his unexpected death. Yet, I believe he would have been delighted by the most recent election results where policy, to a good degree, overrode identity - a cause he fought for all his life.
So, on this day we can report back to him and the rest of that greatest Indian generation that the work to build a nation for all goes on. We have challenges ahead but so do we have courage and determination. For, I believe, that is the ultimate tribute to these departed great souls of India. May they rest in peace.