Former sheriff of Mumbai Nana Chudasama passed away on Sunday morning here after a brief illness. He was 86. His last rites were performed at the Banganga crematorium in the evening.
The father of BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, Chudasama was a jurist and founder-patron of various charitable and environment-related initiatives in Mumbai, including the NGOs Giants International and I Love Mumbai. Chudasama was known most popularly for a banner on Marine Drive that carries pithy messages based on national and international news headlines.
The banner’s contents were compiled in a book a couple of years ago, titled History On A Banner. The book led some to comment that Chudasama’s witty one-liners were a precursor to the Twitter age.
Former sheriff Nana Chudasama banner messages were compiled in a book, “History on a Banner”. (Express Photo by Pradeep Kocharekar)Giants International, which is recognised for contributions in family welfare initiatives, disaster management efforts and environment conservation projects among others, currently has 500 branches across India and abroad, including in the US, UK, Africa, Mauritius and Ukraine.
As the news of his demise spread, tributes poured in for Chudasama, remembered by those who knew him as a warm-hearted soul with an irrepressible zest for life and social work. “In his demise, the city of Mumbai has lost a ‘conscience keeper’,” said Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
In his condolence message, the Governor said, “His contribution to Mumbai’s socio-economic and cultural life was of a high order. Through his initiative I Love Mumbai, he organised plant shows and promoted tree plantations. Through his popular banners on Marine Drive, he commented upon the paradoxes of public life and polity in a humourous way. As a founder of the service organisation Giants International he rendered social services in many areas.”
In 2005, the former two-term sheriff was conferred the Padma Shri for his work in the social sector. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “His works and contribution for a clean and green Mumbai, and also in various rehabilitation initiatives will forever be remembered.”
Author Shobha De, who is known to be close to Chudasama’s family, summed it up. “He represented the spirit of Mumbai, which is secular and liberal in true sense.” Recounting some of the social endeavours that Giants International had spearheaded under Chudasama’s stewardship, she said, “The kind of work his volunteers would discharge during national and state calamities and emergencies was exemplary.” She also recounted how Chudasama had won hearts initiating the I Love Mumbai and cleanliness campaigns. “This was much before the Swachh Bharat mission began.”
Both Fadnavis and De praised Chudasama’s oratory skills. “Nana was outspoken. He didn’t spare anybody (during functions he would organise) in his speeches. Even if the chief guest was the chief minister, it was his speech that everyone looked forward to,” said De.
Fadnavis said, “His witty two-line banners on Marine Drive illustrated his oratory skills and social awareness the most.”
Former Union minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar also praised Chudasama’s contribution to public life. “His service to the society through social work was exemplary,” he said.
The former sheriff was also known to champion conservation of heritage buildings. In fact, through his I Love Mumbai platform, he had taken up projects for the upkeep and illumination of Rajabai Tower, Asiatic Library and Wilson College, among others.
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