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Innaiah Narisetti Ph.D.

A

A.B.SHA

 

(Amritlal Bhikku Shah)

A.B. Shah has played a crucial role as a follower in the Indian Humanist, Secular movement. From the day I got introduced to him in 1964, we continued our friendship. His death in 1982 was a blow to the movement.

 

The humanist training camp was held in Avanigadda, Krishna district in 1966. The camp was conducted by the Koneru family and was a very useful one. A B Shah made his presence on all the days by participating in all the discussions, and stood as a source of encouragement to others by understanding the Telugu versions by getting them translated. That was a good experience.

 

Aavula Gopala Krishna Murthy was an academician, a Principal. He conversed in English and translated as and when required to A B Shah. A B Shah also appreciated the speeches of Raavipudi Venkatadri, Tripuraneni Venkateswara rao, NV Brahmam by listening to their English versions and admired their speeches as they had a spirit in them.

 

Other participants are Malladi Rama Murthy, GV Krishna Rao, Kalluri Basaveswara Rao, Meka Chakrapani, Ch.Rajareddy, M V Ramanayya, Tripuraneni Gokulchand, Bachu Venkateswarlu, Gavini Venkataswami.

 

I was a good companion to A B Shah.There were not many who could give good company to him in the camp. It included chitchatting over a peg of drink and smoking. A B Shah was used to smoke through pipe whereas Raavipudi was using a cigar. Mandava  Srirammurthy contributed and supported very well in the success of the camp. Kutumbarao’s arrangements and hospitality were very appreciable and it was a successful study camp.

 

A B Shah has toured Andhra on my invitation many a times. He developed friendship with Abk. In the year 1967, when he was in bed due to cardiac arrest; we have taken a promise from him to get himself treated at Madras. Unfortunately he passed away due to the second attack.

 

I have conducted many meetings in Guntur, Vijayawada and Hyderabad .He had given speeches in the Bar associations in the courts. His speeches in ACK College won a lot of accolade. Yelavarthi Rosaiah who was a person who cannot be easily impressed also appreciated him a lot. We have conducted many crucial meetings with the Hindu-Muslim associations on Secularism. Alamkhand Miri also cooperated a lot.

We had a dinner with the then vice-chancellor D.S. Reddy. Later on to tie a knot with the vice chancellor Narotham reddy’s son to his daughter, he had consulted me for the enquiry of the details of the family. But after the marriage, their relationship broke.

 

I have introduced Aalapati Ravindranath , VR Narla to Shah.

 

A B Shah brought into light some very good books in the name of Nachiketha publications. Out of every seminar there was a book published. He directed me to sell the books and share half of the amount with him. We have sold literature on humanism in that way. Gurijala Seetharamayya from Tenali and Koneru Kutumbarao from Vijayawada helped a lot. We have translated A B Shah’s essays and book on scientific method into Telugu. Anupama publishers from Vijayawada inaugurated the book on essays during which Sri Ramamurthy gave a speech.

 

A B Shah was in the editorial board of Radical humanist magazine. He had later changed the Quest magazine into new quest and also conducted very well. He had also established the secular society and conducted the secularist magazine. He had challenged Puri Sankaracharya that in the Vedas, there were instances where Hindus consumed cow meat. Tarka tirtha Lakshmana Sastry has cooperated very well. With the assistance of M P Rege,A B Shah has run the NEW quest magazine. Dilip Chitre acted as editor to it for some time.

 

M N Rai had solved the principles of humanism according to the modern science and proposed alternate solutions. He opined that accepting the principles with Vedas as base might not be a right way. C B Ray agreed with him whereas V M Tarkunde had taken it casually.

 

I have read a copy of philosophical consequences of modern science through him. But before it could get edited and published, he was no more. Writings of Shah were very scientific and organized.

 

In 1978 I received a letter from Garden Stain from America. The summary of letter was to write on Humanist, rational secular movements in India. They have asked me to write a book called Encyclopedia of unbelief for which my name was suggested by A B Shah. I have agreed to it and I have written the book. I have communicated with Garden Stain in letters. He passed away due to cancer after the publication of the book.  I met so many learned men like VV John, JB Naik , Amrik  Singh through  A B Shah.

 

A B Shah was born in Gujarath in the Digambar Jain community and turned into a humanist under the influence of A N Rai. He moved to Maharashtra and lived in Mumbai and Pune. During the emergency period; he stood on the side of Jayaprakash Narayan.

 

VKSinha, a disciple to A B Shah is running a secularist magazine today. B A V Sarma was also a follower to A B Shah who moved to Hyderabad from Bombay and passed away after working in the Osmania University. He also worked as a genius in the secular movement. Srinivasan, Prabhakar  Paadhi were among them.

 

The Satya sodhak Mandali was set up in Maharashtra by Shah and rendered a helping hand to Hamid Dalwai. Dilip Chitre translated Hamid’s writings in English and I have translated Muslim politics into telugu and published in Prasaritha magazine.

 

I have introduced A B Shah to Bhavanam Venkatram when he was acting as a chief minister and a minister for education. Due to the similarity of thoughts, they grew closer. Edward Shills ran the Minerva magazine from Chicago. With that as an inspiration, A B Shah conducted the Humanist way magazine for sometime. A B Shah published writings of G D Parekh who was his good friend. Critic of Hinduism, Essays on Tilak was some of the articles in the Humanist way. It stopped after 8 issues.

 

 A B Shah came to Hyderabad for a seminar in YMCA. Narayan was staying in the Taj Mahal hotel. He had asked to get a taxi to go to the seminar hall which was very close. It did not occur to me in the first instance but later on we realised and had taken him to some known doctors and he was diagnosed of cardiac problem. He later on went to Pune for treatment.

 

I have introduced Rashiduddin Khan, Y.Ragahavaiah ,G.Ram Reddy, KSeshadri, P V Rajagopal  to Shah. They have recognized his wisdom.

 

The books on Gandhi and Nehru by Shah were the result of seminar. Some of his well known books are Scientific method, tradition and modernity, challenges to secularism. He had discussed against the topic of obscenity.

 

 

His article on “The World around me” published in the Vahini magazine revealed his universal vision.

 

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