Prof Ramesh Bhai Shah’s demise leaves a void in the intellectual world


Ahmedabad, Feb 12: Rich tributes were paid to noted economist, thinker and writer Prof Rameshbhai B Shah and his life and works remembered at a function organised in Ahmedabad on Sunday (February 11, 2024) evening. 

The function titled ‘Guna-nu-wad Sabha’ was jointly organised at the Shri Hiralal Bhagwati Sabhagruh of the Gujarat Vishwakosh Trust by the Gujarat Sahitya Parishad, Gujarat Vidya Sabha,  Harivallabhdas Kalidas (HK) College Parivar, Abhidrushti and Gujarat Vishwakosh Trust. 

The 1936-born Prof Shah who entered his 88th year on November 14 (2023) passed away on February 3 (2024). 

Noted author and academician Dr Vidyut Joshi spoke about Rameshbhai’s positioning and grounding in the early days and the influence on him of his peers and friends Rohit Shukla and BM Peerzada, a socialist. He also spoke about how Rameshbhai turned to ethics and economics and how Rameshbhai believed that if an economic model had to be setup on Gandhian principles then just tweaking the economy wouldn’t work but wide-ranging and sweeping cultural changes were a pre-requisite. 

Former HK College Principal Prof Hemant Kumar Shah did a critical evaluation of Rameshbhai’s writings and his stand on important issues. “Rameshbhai was an expert in analyzing ‘What is’ but not what it should be,” he said. 

Urvish Kothari said Rameshbhai had done a “brilliant interpretation” of Mahatma Gandhi’s works. “Periodically we used to call personalities from different fields for interaction at the Rudu Kathiawar restaurant in Vastrapur,” Urvishbhai said. “And for one such interaction we had invited Rameshbhai,” he said. 

Parth Trivedi, a former student of Rameshbhai said Rameshbhai had given a good definition of an intellectual. “An intellectual is a person who speaks and stands up for the downtrodden in the society.” He said Rameshbhai had a good habit of explaining things by citing examples in all his writings. 

Recounting her experiences, Nimishaben Shukla from Gujarat Vidyapeeth said Rameshbhai brought a fresh perspective to the world of economics by giving language its due. “Language was secondary in the world of economics but Rameshbhai gave language its due.” Citing an example of the Gujarati word ‘pedhi’ she said this could be translated either as a ‘firm’ or a ‘generation.’ “We learnt these things from Rameshbhai.” 

Nimishaben spoke on ‘Paribhashik Kosh-Arthshashtra’ and Urvishbhai spoke on ‘Hind Swaraj: Sanskrutik Swaraj ni Khoj’; Parth Trivedi spoke on ‘Baudhiko ni Bhoomika ane bija Lekho’, Prof Hemant Kumar Shah spoke on ‘Arthvastav’ and Vidyut Joshi on ‘Gandhiwadi Jeevan Darshan ane Arthvyavastha’. 

Sanjay Bhave, Professor of English at the HK Arts College who last week wrote a detailed piece on Ramesh Bhai on his Facebook page while effectively compering the programme said, the demise of Ramesh Bhai had a left a void in the intellectual world.     

Gaurang Bhai, elder son of Ramesh Bhai recounted how Rameshbhai used to start his writing every day at 3.30pm after coming home from the morning college. “Before starting his writing he used to tune in to All India Radio and used to listen to songs while writing,” he recalled. His younger brother Amitbhai also spoke at the function. 

Noted writer and activist Prakashbhai N Shah and eminent writer Kumarpal Desai also remained present.