KERALA

`A flaring torch lit from a wick'

THRISSUR OCT. 10. "A life that was a flaring torch lit from a wick", said the veteran journalist, T.V. Achutha Warrier, while summarising the contributions of the firebrand social activist, Nawab Rajendran, who died in Thiruvananthapuram today.

Talking to `The Hindu', the septuagenarian Mr. Warrier said: "There was no journalist as socially committed as Mr. Rajendran. The present generation is not able to emulate him because they lack his dedication. Similarly, there was no judicial activist in Kerala comparable to Mr. Rajendran. He fought the Congress leader, K. Karunakaran, when the latter was at the zenith of power."

The poet K.G. Sankara Pillai, said: "Mr. Rajendran was a positive rebel and a human rights activist. He used the two pillars of democracy, the `judiciary and the media', to arrest the growing decadence of democratic power. He had identified corruption as the manifestation of that decadence, and he used the strategy of exposing corrupt persons to arrest that decadence.

"For the middle class, Mr. Rajendran was a sort of safety valve in that they perceived him to be a crusader who would fight the injustices that they wished to resist ," Prof. Pillai said. The noted social activist Eachara Warrier also recalled the support provided by Mr. Rajendran in the search for his (Mr. Warrier's) son and engineering student, P. Rajan, who had been tortured to death by the police during the Emergency. "Mr. Rajendran never delayed or deferred any fight against injustice. His spontaneous fights had created an impression that there was somebody to protest when an evil was committed."

`Dream project never took off'

Our Staff Reporter adds from Kochi: For Nawab Rajendran, a modern mortuary at the District General Hospital here was a project close to his heart.

But this project never got off even after a trust had been formed to execute it more than three years ago. Of the Rs. 2-lakh Manava Seva Award conferred on Nawab Rajendran by the Rotary Club in 2000, he personally accepted only Rs. 1,000. The rest was donated to execute the project. According to the chairman of the Trust, K.M. Roy, the project was put on the back burner when the Government changed in 2001.