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Nirmala Deshpande

Kliponar / Social activist  / Nirmala Deshpande

Nirmala Deshpande

Born: 19 October 1929

Died: 1 May 2008

  • She was a noted Indian social activist who had embraced Gandhian philosophy.
  • She devoted her adult life to the promotion of communal harmony and service to women, tribal people, and the dispossessed in India.
  • She was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India in 2006 and was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz posthumously by Pakistan in 2010.
  • She joined Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement in 1952.
  • She undertook a 40,000-km journey on foot –padayatra—across India to carry Gandhi’s message of Grām Swarāj.
  • She recognized that it was difficult to practice Gandhian principles, yet believed that doing so was the only way towards a truly democratic society.
  • She was known to be the spirit behind peace marches in Punjab and Kashmir when violence was at its peak in those states.
  • Her peace mission to Kashmir in 1994 and her initiative in organizing India-Pakistan meet in 1996 were her two major public service achievements.
  • The Tibetan cause against Chinese suppression was also close to her heart.
  • She continually worked for harmony between India and Pakistan.
  • Even her mortal remains were immersed in the Indus river of Sindh province in Pakistan.

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