George Fernandes – passes away

George Fernandes –Former Defence Minister who held the portfolio from 2001 to 2004 is no more.  He was Defence Minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA Government.

George Fernandes

He was 88 years old and was suffering from a prolonged illness.  Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and recently had contracted swine flu.

Life of George Fernandes :

George Fernandes was born on 3 June 1930 to John Joseph Fernandes and Alice Martha Fernandes (née Pinto), in Mangaluru then Mangalore to a Mangalorean Catholic family.

George Mathew Fernandes  was a former Indian trade unionist, politician, journalist, agriculturist, and member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar. He was a key member of the Janata Dal and is the founder of the Samata Party.  He held several ministerial portfolios including communications, industry, railways and defence.

George Fernandes – a Writer :

Fernandes liked writing and journalism even during his student days. He was the editor of a Lonkani language monthly Konkani Yuvak (Konkani Youth) in 1949. The same year, he was the editor of the Raithavani weekly in Kannada.

The Dockman weekly in English, which had ceased publication, reappeared under the editorship of Fernandes in 1952–53.Though not a prolific writer,  George Fernandes has penned several books on politics such as What Ails the Socialists (1972), The Kashmir Problem, Railway Strike of 1974, Dignity for All: Essays in Socialism and Democracy (1991), and his autobiography titled George Fernandes Speaks (1991).

George Fernandes was also the editor of an English monthly, The Other Side, and the chairman on the editorial board of the Hindi monthly Pratipaksh. A human rights activist, Fernandes has been a member of the Amnesty International People’s Union for Civil Liberties and the Press Council of India.

Politicial career of George Fernandes:

Fernandes, a long-time socialist, rose to political prominence when he led the Bombay Taxi Unions Association and defeated “uncrowned king of Bombay” S.K. Patil, a Congress heavy-weight in the 1967 general election. 

George Fernandes as Defence Minister


George Fernandes later joined the Janata Dal. He served as Railways Minister in the V.P. Singh government  from 1989 to 1990. He was instrumental in setting up the Konkan Railway project, connecting Mangalore and Bombay. 

In 1994, Fernandes formed the Samata Party, which later allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was appointed convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and served as the Defence Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for two terms, between 1998 and 2004. 

His term was eventful as it witnessed the Kargil war and Pokhran test. 

We at Bangalorean.com pay our tribute to a true leader.  May his soul rest in peace.

2 comments

  • Aprameya Ambalae

    By Aprameya Ambalae

    Reply

    Soon after I graduated from the Mysuru Unviersity with an Engineering degree in the year 2000 (The new Millenia!), I was selected by the Indian Air Force as a Flying Officer under the UES 56 AE Batch. A rigorous 5 day selection at the AFSB in Mysuru and I was one of the 4 selected out of a batch of 104! Very exiciting it was and I reported to duty in January 2000 at the Air Force Academy ( AFA) in Dundigal, Andhra Pradesh.
    After graduating from the AFA I was posted at the AFTC in Jalahalli, Bengaluru.
    It was at that time my grandmother passed away and my morale was low. I could not continue in the IAF anymore. I applied for a Honourable Discharge which is fact was very difficult to get. I put a lot of effort to convince my officers for a discharge but it did not happen. At that time our then Defense Minister George Fernandes happen to attend a function in Mysuru district. He was very kind enough to give me an interview and we ( along with my parents) requested for a discharge. All he said was “If you are not interested you should not be there” and signed off on my request for relieve letter. Within 3 days, I received my honourable discharge and in a weeks’ time I moved out of the base, back to my civilian life. Thereafter, I went to Canada to pursue my higher studies and worked there for nearly 12 years before returning back to India. I have started a company here and have provided employment to multiple people on an ongoing basis. I am glad I am able to serve my country in some way or the other.
    Some people touch others’ lives in a way that has a huge positive impact. He was one such man. May his soul rest in Peace. Jai Hind.

  • Rajendra

    By Rajendra

    Reply

    George Fernandes true champion who fought for human dignity, civil liberties of Indians throughout. Real hero in every sense, true son of soil. When power of ruling dispensation tried to snub any dissenting voice George Fernandes openly stood against the might. Hero of emergency. True patriot in every sense. Great leader, had the potential, capacity to lead Nation as PM. Its loss for Nation as his services are valuable, in defence, infrastructure, union movement. Great loss to Nation. May his soul rest in peace.

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