Mangaon: R.V. Bhuskute, freedom fighter who participated in the Quit India movement in 1942 passed away on April 16, at the age of 94 after a prolonged illness, here in Raigad district, where he was living with his daughter. He is survived by his wife,3 sons and 3 daughters. He penned several books on land laws and waged successful struggles for the release and rehabilitation of bonded laborers in tribal areas of Maharashtra.
Ulka Mahajan, of Sarvahara Jan Andolan, that spearheaded the first ever successful people’s referendum resulting in the de-notification of the 10,000 hectares Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone and successfully waged struggles for the right of ‘dali’ lands of the katkaris, a landless migratory tribal community exploited and deprived over decades, worked closely with R.V. Bhuskute and penned the following tribute on his passing away.
“R V. Bhuskute – a crusader rooted to the ground.
It is rare to find any community worker active in the rural regions of Maharashtra, who would not have heard the name of R. V. Bhuskute.
He had travelled through the length and breadth of the State, while serving in the revenue department and later on in the social movement. In service he was referred to as ‘Raosaheb’ and after retirement he became everybody’s ‘Bhau’ (brother). He was popularly known as ‘Bhausaheb’ throughout the State.
Even when he was truly a ‘Raosaheb’ (a title bestowed on a tehsildar in rural regions), he never asserted his position. While in service, he always utilized his power and authority for the people at the grassroot level. Even senior officials sought his advice, due to his minute study of the system, the laws and how to find solutions to the issues. And they respected that. He was known for being very clear and straight forward. He made a mark wherever he went, due to his being rational, selfless and passionate and his in-depth study.
He was the son of Comrade Vinayakrao Bhuskute. He inherited the legacy of his father’s and Senapati Bapat’s struggle for the Mulshi dam project affected, participation in the freedom struggle and the trips to jail for the same. His mother expired when he was a child. When father was jailed, he lived with his father’s associates and coming from the churn and heat of such challenging times, Bhau kept learning the ropes to overcome any obstacles. Keeping the body fit by exercising, he preserved the lifelong legacy reading and studying from his father and penalizing injustice. Even though he did not inherit property, he treasured the legacy of the leftist, progressive ideology.
He decided to plunge into the (people’s) movement, soon after his retirement. He retired as the tehsildar of Vasai taluka in Thane district. He started working with Vivek and Vidyut Pandit’s Shramjeevi Sanghatana, who had approached him when he was in service with the issues of the unorganized daily wage earners. After that he dedicated his legal knowledge for many years in the service of Shosit Jan Andolan, Narmada Bachav Andolan and organizations active in various parts of Maharashtra.
He remained with our organization ‘Sarvahara Jan Andolan’ till his last. For the mass of deprived people outside the villages, the only source of living with dignity is land for tilling. He always strived to get them their right on this land. He always fought for the rights of the adivasis (tribals), Dalits and the nomadic groups. He has authored more than a hundred books on the legal aspects of these rights. His books serve as reference books for students of law, revenue officials and lawyers.
But more significant than those books, were his contributions in strategizing the struggle for land rights. He was not merely a bookish academic, he studied social issues and hence, the lessons that he laid down about how to wage a struggle, became a university itself. Never to leave a fight mid-way, never yielded to disappointment, fasting during struggles, taking police beatings, staying on the roads, travelling on foot for long distances, staying on the roads through sun, heat, cold and rains and to do all these, his earlier official position and his age did not come in the way. With no ego, no fanfare, eating whatever was available and the preparedness to sacrifice everything for his principles and ideals – from these was carved the robust personality called ‘Bhuskute Bhau’.
He truly took forward the legacy of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Karmaveer Dadasaheb Gaikwad. He, not only took them forward, but always steered it to a successful direction. He experienced success in many issues, that he struggled for, during his lifetime. This fortune is savored by few people.
He experienced the long 94 years of journey through the pre- and post-independence era, emergency and globalization period. He was self-confident of crossing 100 years, but had to retire from life before that.
My farewell salutations to this Karmaveer warrior, who lived a very purposeful life.
– Ulka Mahajan