On Sunday we lost Shri LC Jain. Indeed the country lost LC Jain. They don’t make them like him anymore… The newspapers have described him in different ways, and that is because he was just so many persons in one. Each one of us who have had the privilege of straying into his vision has come away feeling special.
In a world where we are measured by our status and who we are “connected to”, he was a slightly built BIG MAN who made each one of us feel important and “mattered”.
I had first met him when he was the Chairperson of the Planning Commission and the Ninth Five Year Plan was being drafted –perhaps the first time in the history of the Planning Process that NGOs and activists were called into the Planning Commission to express their opinion. As a young researcher and activist, I was completely overwhelmed by the stalwarts present in the room. After a few hours, in which I could not muster the courage to open my mouth, I decided to quietly leave. LC saw me picking up my bag and try and slink out, and addressed me in his quintessential welcoming manner –“don’t leave without saying what you have come to tell us”, putting all of us in the room completely at ease.
After that we would meet off and on at meetings. After HAQ did its first Budget for Children analysis in 2001, we gave him our report. We were nervous. Given his understanding of the subject, how would he receive our analysis? Once again he made us believe what we had done was meaningful and once again in his own inimitable gracious way, with his eyes shining and focused, told us how we could do even better.
When he wrote an article in the Asian Age on our Status Report, which Devaki ji had so kindly carried for him from us, we were totally overwhelmed. In modern parlance we felt HAQ had really “arrived”.
That he must have called a lot of young awe struck young girls ( no longer that young!) like me “beloved” did not matter, because when he spoke to each one of us, we felt we were special, and that we had his blessings.
LC we will miss you.