New Delhi, October 29 Well known social anthropologist and harbinger of peace and communal harmony Chandrabhal Tripathi, popularly known as C B Tripathi, was felicitated here today at the Constitution Club on his 80th birthday. He was honoured with a memento of Life-Time Achievement Award in recognition of his services to the cause of the anthropology, communal harmony and downtrodden sections of the society. A number of his friends, associates and admirers were present on the occasion. The elites had gathered on the call of Socialist ideologue Surendra Mohan, Member of Parliament Mohammed Adeeb, and bureaucrat and social activist Abdul Mannan.
Son of Pandit Chandra Bali Tripathi, a freedom fighter, secretary to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and author of Hindi monumental work Upanisad Rahasya, C B Tripathi hailed from a family of letters. His maternal grandfather was Acharya Ramchandra Shukla, one of the pillars of Hindi literature. His mother Durgawati Tripathi too was a freedom fighter. She was a social worker devoted to the cause of Khadi movement, women's welfare and uplift of weaker sections, particularly Harijans and Muslims. She embraced Buddhism in the 1940s. She died on April 20, 1970. His father passed away on January 5, 1985 at the age of 92. C B Tripathi was married to Satya Tapa, a physical anthropologist, in 1960. She died on August 26, 2003. He has a son Dr Amitabh Tripathi, Professor of Mathematics, IIT, Delhi and two daughters---Jaya, married to a Polish Catholic and based in Boston (USA) and Suprabha, based at Denver (USA).
A Socialist from the core of his heart, he got opportunities to work with Socialist ideologues like Acharya Narendra Dev and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia. He was one of the founder members of the All India Samajwadi Yuwak Sabha in 1953. He also remained in the company of renowned Congress leader and former Union Minister Rafi Ahmed Qidwai. Closely associated with former Orissa Governor and historian B N Pande, Communist leader and economist P C Joshi, internationally reputed Islamic scholars Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, popularly known as Ali Mian and Maulana Abdul Karim Parekh, Budhist leaders Dalai Lama and Ven Lama Lobzang, journalist Upendra Vajpeyi, Socialist ideologue Surendra Mohan and Muslim leader Syed Shahabuddin, he as a student leader had also got the blessing of first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Hindi literary giants Maithili Sharan Gupta, Dr Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma and Urdu stalwarts and poets Jigar Moradabadi, Josh Malihabadi, Shakil Badayuni, Asraul Haque Majaz, Ali Sardar Jafri, and Firaq Gorakhpuri, as well as theatre celebrity Prithvi Raj Kapoor and famous dancer Uday Shankar.
Born at Basti (UP) on October 29, 1930, ten years after the foundation of Jamia Millia Islamia in response to the Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements led by Gandhiji and Ali Brothers, he obtained his education at Basti, Allahabad and Lucknow. At Lucknow University he remained active as President of the Students Union in 1952-53 and led a peaceful statewide movement in 1953 over the issue of autonomy of the students unions. He was also one of the founder members of the All India Samajwadi Yuwak Sabha (1953) and active worker of the Congress Socialist Party.
In 1954 he led an Indian student delegation to the cultural festival in Rangoon (Burma, now Mayanmar). In 1956 he was briefed by Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru before going to Bandung, Indonesia, to represent India at the Afro-Asian Student Conference. The same year he represented India at the Sixth international Student Conference at Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. The ISC was held in Asia for the first time.
Being a noted social anthropologist, he worked in three research projects and also briefly as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lucknow University before joining the Constitutional organization of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in 1959. He gained a vast field experience having been posted all over the country and retired from Delhi in 1989 as Deputy Commissioner for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes. Thereafter he worked in the ICSSR as Coordinator, Panel on Tribal Studies, for a year and as OSD to Ram Dhan, Chairman, National Commission for SC & ST for five years.
C B Tripathi has written papers on issues relating to SC & ST and edited several books. Chhor Ka Ek Gaon was the first major publication in Hindi on an anthropological subject written by Prof D N Majumdar and him and published by Asia Publishing House in 1961. Other books edited by him included “Regeneration of India: It Perspectives”; “Samkalin Bhartiya Rajniti” written in memory of Acharya Birbal Singh, Ex VC of Kashi Vidyapith and “Tribal Life in India”. After the demolition of Babri Masjid, he wrote a pamphlet which was signed of 300 top dignitaries of the nation that proved to be a weapon to cement the relations between different communities. Personalities like P N Haksar and Syed Shahabuddin welcomed it and opined that it should be distributed nation-wide to the cause of communal harmony.
In 1989 he organized a big international inter-faith conference “Pilgrimage for Active Peace”. It was sponsored by Tai Situ Rinpoche at New Delhi and inaugurated by Dalai Lama who had just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In the wake of the Bhagalpur communal riots, he engaged himself on the initiative of Ali Mian in organizing an all-party conference at the Constitution Club, New Delhi for restoration of communal harmony and peace. The conference was held in collaboration with some dedicated friends and under the leadership of Dr B N. Pande, Surendra Mohan and late Upendra Vajpeyi. As a result of which the Forum for Communal Understanding and Synthesis (FOCUS) was initially set up in 1990 with Dr B N Pande as President. It was later renamed and registered as the Society for Communal Harmony and C B Tripathi was elected its General Secretary.
C B Tripathi was actively involved with the Asoka Mission headed by Ven Lama Lobzang for two decades and coordinated a big international conference on The Heritage of Nalanda at Nalanda in February 2006. Again, in February 2007, he functioned as Academic Coordinator for the International Conference on Buddhism and the 21st Century held at Bodh Gaya (Bihar). It was organized by the Union Ministry of Culture.
He had been a multi-faceted personality having been, among other things, a hockey player until the college level, a radio drama artiste, a regular broadcaster since 1950, a Hindi theatre artiste and founder of Rangayana, a Hindi theatre group in Chennai. 40 years ago. He is known as a harbinger of peace and communal harmony as well as messiah of the weaker sections.
----A U Asif, Editor, www.fanawatch.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org