It was in 1982 that I first came in contact with Mr. Anand Kapoor. As a journalist on my first assignment, I witnessed an agitation led by an aggressive Kusum Karnik along with Anand Kapoor. The protestors had halted the cavalcade of then Guardian Minister Anantrao Thopate and MP Ramkrishna More to demand appropriate market price for a medicinal seed “Hirda” which was found in abundance in the Ambegaon taluka and was a source of livelihood for the Adivasis inhabiting that region. Needless to say, the protest received due attention from the State Government.
Anand Hardev Kapoor, engineer turned social activist, founded an NGO named Shashwat thirty years back. Shashwat was set up with the objective to rehabilitate the Adivasis living in the remote hilly region of Ambegaon taluka in Pune district displaced due to the construction of Dimbhe dam. Landless families belonging to the Mahadev Koli, Thaakar, Kaatkari tribes living in these areas were the focus of Shashwat’s cause. He devoted his entire life to provide rightful employment to the inhabitants of 25 villages living in these remote areas and improve their standard of living.
Since 1981, Anand Kapoor worked hand in hand with Kusum Karnik; a social activist in her own right, in Bhīma Shankar. A calm person by nature, Anand Kapoor will always be remembered for his social work. During our several discussions, he displayed an outstanding ability to explain problems to their length and breadth, which appealed to me the most. His insistence would be that I cover every social problem in great detail, depth and seriousness.
Anand Kapoor’s contribution in rehabilitation of the Malin landslide – affected people is also well – known. His kind helping hand extended to these affected people will always be remembered. In his death, the society has lost a true and dedicated social worker and Adivasis have lost a Messiah.