Mangaluru: The following members were present at the Press Meet held at the Press Club, Mangaluru today, Richard Moras, Convener; Konkan Lekhak Sangh; Karnataka; Titus Noronha, Konkani Poet & Activist; Divakar M, Former Mayor; Mangalore City Corporation; William Pais, Author and Columnist; Ronald Gomes, Former District Governor; Lions Club International. The meeting resolved to request the Mangalore City Corporation, MLAs of Mangalore city and the State Government to name Main Road from Kadri Park to Lalbagh in the name of George Fernandes.
George Fernandes – a Bio
George Fernandes was born on June 3rd, 1930 in Bejai, Mangalore as the eldest son of six children of John Joseph Fernandes & Alice Martha Fernandes. He rose to prominence as a household name in India for his dedicated and committed service to downtrodden poor & weaker sections of society. Influenced by socialist ideology he moved to Mumbai and emerged as a trade union leader. His mission to organize unions for workers, and to address their problems & grievances as a leader and mentor is exemplary. He served as a member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation from 1961 to 1968.
George was a hero for the poor masses, vehemently fighting for their rights, leading protests and shutdowns for which he was jailed many times. In 1974, he called the strike of 1.4 million railway workers & brought the service to a halt in the whole of India which no other union leader has done. Social welfare of all was the criterion and he consistently fought for it with unwavering credibility.
From 1967 to 2004 he won nine Lok Sabha elections which depict his immense popularity as a national leader of repute. He despised corruption & nepotism, dynasty, dictatorial acts & communalism of any kind. He fought against the draconian emergency reflecting dictatorship which has left indelible stains on the walls of the Indian parliament.
He held prominent positions in the Union Cabinet as Minister of Communications, Industry, Railways & Defence and judiciously handled responsibilities with integrity. As the Industry Minister in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet, he forced Coca Cola & IBM out of India which is characteristic of his nationalism & patriotism.
George Fernandes was the architect of Konkan Railway which is the second-largest railway network in Asia. The grit, determination and visionary zeal in planning and executing the project are commendable. As defence minister, he deftly handled the Kargil War. Pokhran II Nuclear test during his tenure as Defence Minister is yet another feather in his cap of credentials.
He often used to visit defence forces and used to spend time with them listening to their necessities & grievances. He paid record 32 visits to the world’s highest battlefield at Siachen glacier. He also directed bureaucrats to visit desert posts when the temperature is very high & freezing cold in winter to understand the genuine problems which soldiers face. George provided the soldiers with snow scooters for the first time when he was defence minister.
George was a powerful orator who can convert the parliament into pin-drop silence with his prolific speeches on various subjects.
We are thankful to the Union Government and the Prime Minister for conferring “Padma Vibhushan” on him posthumously for his monolithic achievements as a national leader.
There is a saying that great leaders are not rightly honoured in their native place. But let it not happen in the case of George Fernandes who was born in Bejai, Mangalore and extended his scope of work to the whole of India.
In this context we earnestly request the Mangalore City Corporation, MLAs of Mangalore city and the State Government to name Main Road from Kadri Park to Lalbagh after George Fernandes.