PUDR mourns the death of Dr Brahma Dev Sharma, one among the rare breed of civil servants who, in service as well as on retirement, continued to stand by the marginalised and the oppressed. His lifelong service of championing the rights of the Adivasis has stood the test of time. From when he was the District Collector of undivided Bastar (1969-71), he blocked the expansion of Bailadilla Mines, heeding the appeal of the Adivasis that iron ore mining was ruining their lives and destroying their habitat. He never looked back even though he was humiliated and physically assaulted by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad in Jagdalpur. As Chairman National SC&ST Commission he brought into national spotlight the issue of forest management, rights of Adivasis over forest produce, payment of wages for forest produce etc. After retiring from the post of Chairman of National SC&ST Commission (1986-91), BD Sharma returned to Bastar to live and work among the Adivasis. He spearheaded a campaign in 1992 against an Iron and Steel plant being set up by M/S SM Dyechem in Tongpal block of Bastar. His self-modesty and diffidence hid his indomitable commitment. His brush with the Establishment, to which he once belonged, and his commitment to the Adivasi cause which led him to acknowledge the Maoists as a legitimate political movement, made him stand out as the stoutest defender of Adivasi rights.
PUDR salutes him for his lifelong service to our people.
Megha Bahl and Sharmila Purkayastha