Arun Sharma – The Gentle Giant

Arun Sharma, our mentor, friend, and philosopher is no more. He passed away at a hospital in New Delhi on Monday 27 March 2017 after a brief illness. He was 85. We at the Centre for Development & Peace Studies (CDPS) deeply mourn his death. In 2010, at our request, he readily agreed to hold the honorary position of President of our research think-tank. Shri Arun Sharma taking over the mantle of President of CDPS was a great honour for all of us, and despite his involvement in various institutions and public life, he continued to guide us till 2016. Even after that, he agreed to continue his association with CDPS as a Distinguished Fellow.

I call him a gentle giant because he was one of the politest of human beings I have come across, somebody who was unjudgemental, friendly and easily accessible, and affectionate and warm towards almost one and all. He is a giant because he has left behind a body of work, primarily novels and plays, which has enriched Assamese literature and made its impact felt across India and abroad. He is also a giant because he shared values he believed in--impartiality, inclusiveness, and, above all, the spirit of humanism. No wonder many awards came his way—the Padma Shri, Sahitya Academy Award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi recognitions are a few of them.

Arun Sharma was a man of consensus and would never impose his ideas. He would readily stand corrected, make his point heard, and ultimately his suggestions, almost always, would be taken because they were sensible. Peace was something he believed in and hoped against hope the world would one day become a better place to live in. This is something he told us every time we gathered for meetings related to CDPS. May his soul rest in peace.

by Wasbir Hussain

On behalf of Team CDPS