Feroz Mehdi


I spoke with Daya the day my father died, on 2nd January, and told him I am going to India for the funeral. I came back on 16 January and spoke to Daya again a few days later. He asked me how I was doing and about the memorial meeting that was held for my father in Delhi. Then he said “You have lost your father, and I am not doing well and can die any day. So, you will be left alone …”. This was one of the many ways he showed his concern for me.


On 12th of February he wrote an e-mail to me and Vinod Mubayi: “Dear Vinod and Feroz, I have lung cancer. How long shall I live is not certain. I will keep you informed of developments. Shree is keeping me alive. I think you should give some thoughts about INSAF Bulletin. Daya”


When I circulated the March issue of INSAF Bulletin, compiled by Vinod, he wrote on 5th of March:


“I am immensely pleased to read the March Bulletin.  I am OK. Shree has arranged for someone to come in the morning. For four days of the week I go to play bridge usually 3 hours. I have no pain. Just get tired even with minimum of physical work like climbing few steps. Daya”


I met Daya in 1987 for the first time. And since then hardly a day went by when we did not meet, write or speak over the phone. He along with other comrades had organized a conference in Montreal defending Salman Rushdie against the fatwa issued by the then Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeni. Daya was a great organizer and I learned a lot from him. Together we initiated many discussion groups and organizations. He always insisted that I coordinate the activities. Right after the conference, in 1988 we formed a discussion group called the Montreal Democratic Forum followed by Canadians for a Secular in 1991 when Hindutva forces were on the rise in India and the Diaspora. In 1992 we formed the organization, known more by its French acronym, CERAS (South Asia Research and Resource Centre). And then Alternatives was formed in 1994 of which he was the founding President. Then he led the formation of International South Asia Forum which included organizations and individuals from many cities in Canada and the USA. He encouraged and supported my idea of forming an autonomous cultural group and thus formed the Kabir Cultural Centre in Montreal.


After so many years of closely working together, Daya became more than a comrade to me. He is probably the only person in whom I confided on all matters, from the very intimate and personal happenings to all kinds of political discussions. He was truly my confidant, my family, my friend, my mentor. I will miss him every day.

Top - Home