Mumbai

‘She must have done over 100 padyatras’

In memoriam: A prayer meeting for Meera Sanyal, who passed away on January 11, was held on Sunday.  

An efficient banker, a caring mother and a people’s leader — this is how family and friends remembered Meera Sanyal at a prayer meeting held on Sunday.

The former India head of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), who entered active politics in 2009, passed away on January 11 at her Mumbai residence after an illness. Sanyal, the daughter of reputed naval officer Vice Admiral Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani, was known for her activism in Mumbai and Delhi, and her recent book on demonetisation.

Remembering Sanyal as a selfless woman, who thought deeply about the country, her brother Dr. Manek Hiranandani, said, “She believed that our generation had failed our country by pursuing our own aims and short-term views. She wanted to make India a better place for all our children.”

Neena Ramchandrani, Sanyal’s family friend said, “She never failed to meet us during festivals. She would arrive with kheer (a sweet dish), despite her hectic schedule during Holi every year,” she said.

Sanyal’s friends from Sydenham College, where she acquired her Bachelor of Commerce, were also present. Author and columnist Salil Tripathi, her friend for over four decades since college, described her as vighnaharta (remover of obstacles), standing through thick and thin. “There are hundreds of lives, if not thousands of lives, affected positively by her genuine concern for those who faced barriers,” he said.

Radhika Tabrez, a friend from Bangladesh, said, “They don’t make people like her anymore.”

Moved by the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, Sanyal decided to join politics. Beside her work in the city, particularly south Mumbai, politicians remember her as a people’s leader. “She decided to contest elections when citizen activism was nascent. She would say politics is not for scoundrels, but for the best and bright. She was always around to nudge and remind you of your goals and share advice,” Ruben Mascarenhas, National Joint Secretary, Aam Aadmi Party, said. She would reduce the jargon-riddled concepts of banking and economy and serve it interestingly to the youth. “The way she has explained the chaos of demonetisation was fascinating,” he said.

Abhijeet Mehta, an associate, said, “I got in touch with her as I wanted to be a part of the change. I cannot forget how she decided to walked the length of her entire constituency, resulting in her doing over 100 padyatras before contesting the 2009 polls.”

Sanyal’s children Jai, a law student, and Priya, a doctor, remembered her as an “incredible mum and inspiration.” “My mother wanted us to be the best version of ourselves and live up to our full potentials. She taught us to know our goals and keep moving towards it no matter what,” Jai said. “She was quirky at times. We would find her waiting in our room, checking if were home in time. She watched television shows with us. She lives on in us every time we choose to be kind,” Priya said. Sanyal’s husband Ashish Sanyal said, “She told me to not mourn her death, but to celebrate her life.”

Politicians Milind Deora and Bhai Jagtap, were among those present at the condolence meeting.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 4:55:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/she-must-have-done-over-100-padyatras/article26106421.ece

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