June 3, 2021 5:28:41 am
A well-known social activist from Haryana, Professor D R Chaudhry, who defended ‘choice marriages’ and fought against ‘honour killings’, succumbed to post-Covid complications on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. He was cremated in Rohtak on Wednesday.
Chaudhry’s younger son, a film maker in Mumbai, Ashwini Chaudhry told The Indian Express that his father would have turned 86 on June 11.
Swaraj India activist Rajeev Godara recalled, “D R Chaudhry strongly defended choice marriages even in those cases when such couples faced wrath of khap panchayats over the issue of inter-caste alliances and marriages in same villages. He always fought against the casteism and approved inter-caste marriages of both his sons.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Chaudhry’s close associate S P Singh said, “Chaudhry always stressed that Haryana has witnessed a lot of progress on economic front, but a lot needs to be done on the social and cultural front in the state.”
Through articles in his weekly newspaper “Peeng”, Godara added, Chaudhry had played a significant role in exposing “Meham Kand” — in which around half a dozen persons had died in poll violence in 1990. The incident had finally led to cancellation of the bypoll. Godara recalls how Chaudhry was arrested by the police for exposure of corruption in a series of articles in “Peeng” in early 90s but was released after protests by intellectuals.
“In this matter, Chaudhry was implicated in a false criminal case. He refused to apply for bail but amid increasing pressure from the public, authorities had released him from jail,” said Chaudhry’s son-in-law, Mahesh Kumar.
According to Kumar, Chaudhry had been a strict follower of Buddhism and had reviewed number of literary books including several on Buddhism. To intensify his campaign for social reforms, Chaudhry along with prominent social activists and intellectuals had formed Haryana Insaaf Society too.
In his book “Haryana At Crossroads: Problems and prospects” written in 2007, Chaudhry had extensively written on the issue of khap panchayats, Haryana’s caste politics and crisis in agriculture sector. A former professor of Delhi University, Chaudhry also served as chairman of Haryana Public Service Commission and member of Haryana Administrative Reforms Commission.
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