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#RIP – Dr Ajay Khare – Keep smiling Ajay, my friend

Dr. Khare was in Barwani on official duty on the 4th of March, and was returning to 
Bhopal late at night, which also happened to be his birthday. He was travelling by car, 
an Innova which was a taxi belonging to a company he knew.
The accident took place at about 2 am on the 5th of March, on the Sehore bypass, about an 
hour away from Bhopal. A small truck was parked on the road after its tyres were 
punctured, and stones were placed around it. The Innova car collided with the truck while 
passing it. Dr. Khare was sleeping in the left rear seat, which had been folded back a 
short time earlier. He suffered injuries in the rear part of his head. The left side of 
the car was badly damaged.
The driver, who had only minor injuries, flagged down another passing car who took the 
injured Dr. Khare to a private medical college hospital, where he was declared dead on 
arrival. Later, the body was taken to Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal, where a post-mortem was 
carried out. Dr. Khare had desired that the corneas of his eyes should be donated, and 
this was also done.
The funeral was attended by several hundred people. Senior Govt. officials, the local BJP 
MP Alok Sanjar, colleagues, NGO activists, and numerous friends were present, apart from 
the family and relatives. As his body was placed in the electric crematorium, slogans 
were raised – “Dr. Ajay Khare amar rahe” and “Dr. Ajay Khare ko lal salaam”.
Ironically, his birthday was celebrated yesterday – March 4- 1963-2015
Tribute by Amitsengupta echoing all our sentiments
AJAYKHARE
Ajay Khare was not a hero. He was just an ordinary person like most of us, with extraordinary qualities. That is how I will remember him.
 
I first met with Ajay when was a young starry eyed medical graduate, 30 years back, in a workshop on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. He remained starry eyed all his life, always the optimist who believed that things can change.
 
From the students’ movement, which Ajay was part of, he went on to be a part of the Peoples Science Movement. He helped build the Madhya Pradesh Vigyan Sabha in the late 1980s, and contributed to its focus on working in some of the most underserved areas in MP.
 
Throughout the 1990s we would meet often, as we worked together in the peoples’ science and literacy movements. Ajay could never stop smiling and he couldn’t ever resist telling a joke that he had recently come across. He knew how to laugh without holding anything back. 
 
Ajay was one of the key people involved in building Jan Swasthay Abhiyan, after it was formed in 2001. He shouldered the major burden of the National Health assembly in Bhopal in 2007. He also co-ordinated the national Sectt. of the JSA from Bhopal for 3 years after that. I still cannot think of the JSA without Ajay.
 
Ajay had a fault. He always had to speak out and speak exactly what he thought was right. That got him into trouble many times. After working almost round the clock in the NRHM, he was victimised for speaking out. False chargesheets pursued him till the end. Did Ajay stop smiling? Never. 
 
His most recent calling was as leader of the MP Medical Officers’ Association. Through his persistence the MPMOA became a thorn in the flesh for corrupt officers in the health department. Ajay never talked loudly of his achievements, he just laughed and carried on. Only those close to him realised that there was a core of steel behind that ever smiling face. He took on the evil rotten system but never became cynical. It was something he needed to do, because he never changed from the starry eyed boy of 30 years back.
 
They will not dedicate memorials for Ajay. For he was an ordinary person like all of us…with extraordinary qualities. But a part of him will live in all of us. Keep smiling my comrade, my friend, my younger brother. When this pall of sadness lifts, I promise I will smile with you. Perhaps also share a joke with you. I know you would like that.

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