SI mourns loss of Indian socialist leader, Madhu Dandavate

14 November 2005

It was with great sadness that members of the Socialist International learnt of the passing away of Madhu Dandavate, one of India's most respected socialist leaders who died on 12 November, at the age of 81, following a four year battle with a serious illness.

Born on 21 January, 1924, in Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra, Dandavate took part in India's struggle for independence from Britain in 1942, galvanised by Mohandas K. Gandhi - better known as Mahatma Gandhi.

Dandavade began his career teaching nuclear physics before embarking in politics in 1970 when he was elected to the legislative council of the western Maharashtra state. He entered India's Parliament in 1971 to represent the Rajapur constituency in Maharashtra, and won the seat five times until 1991.

During his time in parliament he served as railway minister from 1977 to 1979 and later in 1980, as finance minister in another socialist coalition government that succeeded the Janata Party government.

Dandavate, together with his wife, Pramila, also a noted socialist leader and champion of women's rights, were frequent participants in activities of the International, both in India and abroad. He remained dedicated to the values and ideals of the International throughout his life.