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Ranjit Naik, a great personality, a prominent and a rare gift for the community. To uplift the tribal community, to make a meaningful life of Banjaras (Goaars), a struggling continuous force is Mr. Ranjit Naik. Our community may be very, very backward, downtrodden and economically weak, but there is no scarcity for good culture, intelligence, unity, good health, good ideas and self respect. This community has spent the whole life, looking at the colourful glorified life of the world from far thinking that the world is not at all a part of their life.

There is no differentiation between men or women to earn their livelihood by sweating with whole heart. It may be a mild or a hard work irrespective of it they get ready for any type of work. The most innocent, most neglected and illitrate community was introduced by Mr. Ranjit Naik in a better way to all the corners of the state and also to the parts of the world.

Just earning our liveihood is not the criteria. We also must have a meaningful life, like others. We also have so many intellectuals, so many artists, so many hidden talents and so many powerful leaders in the community, were all brought to the notice of the public with great and sincere efforts of Mr. Ranjit Naik, through his newspaper "Roma Banjara", now it is called as "Bharat Banjara".

Mr. Ranjit Naik is an Architect by Profession. Architect means shilapkaar, one who carves stones and make a deity that "murthy". Ranjit Naik is carving the whole community. He is carving the innocent, ignorant Banjaras (Goaars) and contributes to the nation. So now on this auspicious occasion let us give him proper title name as "Banjara Shilapkaar" i.e. an Architect of Banjaras (Goaars).

I request all of you to give hime a big hand with full of zeal and enthusiasm.

In our lifetime we may earn lots of money, status, property or position. But to spend our valuable time to our nearest and dearest people is a great sacrifice. Such a great rare personality though he is old by age, he is young enough to write a number of articles, to organize number of conferences.

He is writing regarding the ups and downs, rights and rituals, evil systems, cultural activities, special personalities. He is a man of action with perfection with dedication. His sacrifice, sentiments count a lot. His zeal of enthusiasm every one has to learn.

As a whole, our community is lucky enough to have a personality, like Ranjit Naik. To create the second line leaders and to cultivate the healthy systems in the community, to have the guidance of Mr. Ranjit Naik,this Shivir has been organized.

(These are the words of Smt. Vasundhra Ainapur at the occasion of AIBSS Shivir of prominent Banjara workers all over India at New Zealand Hostel, Goregaon, Mumbai, on 7th June 2003.)

SHRI RANJIT POOJARI NAIK (22.10.1933 – 30.07.2004)

Shri Ranjit Poojari Naik, a renowned Architect and Social Worker, S/o Late Shri P. Champla Naik, was born on 22/10/1933, at a village: Naginayanichervu Tanda, Mandal : Somandepalli, District : Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh State (India). Studied upto S.S.C. in Govt. High School, Penukonda, Dist. Anantapur (A.P), as a boarder of Shri Thakkar Bapa Lambadi / Sugali Free Hostel, founded by Late Shri Bhagat Champla Naik (upto 1952). Did his Intermediate in science at Andhra Christian College, Guntur (A.P) and Bachelor in Architecture (B. Arch.) from J.J. College of Architecture, University of Mumbai in the year 1964.

In the year 1962 he married Chandrakala Naik, a Teacher, Social Worker and First Banjara lady Graduate in Maharashtra State. She has helped him, in all his socio-economic and cultural activities of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) and many other organizations for the upliftment of Banjara Community.

He was the Member of Indian Institute of Architects (AIIA) and Practicing Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA – Mumbai) and registered in the Council of Architecture as a Practicing Architect (under Govt. of India Act – 1972 for the Registration of Architects). He was practicing as Architect in Mumbai since 1964 to till his death.

He started his social work since age of 19, i.e. 1952 for the Welfare of Banjaras (Nomadic Tribes/Gypsies of India), Scheduled Tribes and other Weaker Sections of the country. He appeared before “Kaka kalelkar Backward Class Commission”, in 1953 along with his father, Shri Bhagat Champla Naik and maternal uncle Comrade Shri S.Ghane Naik, to plead before the said committee, for the inclusion of Sugalis/ Lambadis in the list of Scheduled Tribes, in the Constitution of India, in the then Madras Province and succeeded in getting Lambadis / Sugalis included in the list of Scheduled Tribes of the Constitution of India, in the year 1954.

He organized and fully participated in the Conference of Erukula – Enandi – Lambadi Tribal Conference, in 1953, at Guntur, under the leadership of Late Shri Vennalakanti Raghavaiah and Shri V. Gopalrao Naik, in which conference Shri B. N. Datar, Hon’ble Home Minister, Govt. of India, was Chief Guest. He came in contact in 1957 with Late Shri V.P. Naik, the then Agriculture and Revenue Minister of Maharashtra State (later on who became Chief Minister of Maharashtra State) and many prominent leaders of All India Banjara Seva Sangh. Since then, Ranjit Naik was thoroughly involved in All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) activities and got elected as member of its National Executive Committee.

He was elected as an Executive Committee and High Power Committee Member, at National level for All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS), in the Fourth All India Banjara Seva Sangh Conference, held at Gulbarga (Karnataka State), in 1966. He successfully organised All India Banjara Sevak Shibir in Rakab Ganj Gurudwara, New Delhi, in 1966 (All Banjara workers training camp) along with his other colleagues, under the leadership of Late Shri V. P. Naik and Shri Ramsingh Bhanawat, where Smt. Indiraji Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was Chief Guest and Late Shri Ashok Mehta (the then Social Welfare Minister, Govt. of India), Late Shri Y. B. Chavan (the then Defence Minister), Shri K. Brahmanand Reddy (the then C.M. of A.P) were guest of honour.

He was Convenor of the All India Banjara Study Team, which compiled a comprehensive study on socio-economic-educational and political position of Banjaras of all over India and the same was published by Ranjit Naik in 1969 and submitted to The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee, Chaired by Shri Anilkumar Chanda, on S.C. and S.T. Amendment Bill No. 119 of 1966. This report became an authentic document for references about Banjaras of the country. He was Member of the drafting committee of The All India Banjara Seva Sangh’s Constitution, to draft a progressive and ideal Constitution for the Sangh. He was elected as Vice President of the All India Banjara Seva Sangh, in 1985, at the 6th All India Banjara Seva Sangh Conference, at Aurangabad (Maharashtra State). Later on he was unanimously elected as President of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) on 10.05.1998, in its National Executive Committee meeting, which was chaired by Late Shri Sudhakarrao Naik, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra State and Ex. Governor of H.P. Since then he lead, effectively and successfully Banjaras of the country, brought a social revolution in the country’s Banjaras, did many historical and landmark changes in the organization of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS).

He was Founding President of Sant Shree Sevadas Maharaj Memorial Trust – Sevagad, from 2001 to till death. Was elected as Working President of “All India De-Notified-Nomadic Tribes Association”, a confederation of 200 Ex-Criminal Tribes of India.

He had organized a mammoth rally of Banjaras and Tribals for the Golden Jubilee Celebration of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) on 31st January 2004, at Digras, Yavatmal District, where about Six to Seven lakh Banjara people gathered and Smt. Soniaji Gandhi, the then Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and President of AICC was Chief Guest. He had also organized a huge gathering of Banjaras and other devotees of Sant Shri Sevalal Maharaj, on 15.02.2004, at Sevagad, Mandal – Gooty, Anantapur District (A.P) for the 265th Janmotsav Celebration of Banjaras’ great and most adored Saint, Shri Sevalal Maharaj, where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Gurudev of the “Art of Living” foundation Bangalore, performed Mahabhog ceremony to Sevalal Maharaj and gave Satsang to lakhs of Devotees gathered.

Right from the inception as a professional Architect, Shri Ranjit Naik had devotedly worked for giving shelter to Nomadic and Dalit people, for Slum Improvement, Slum Upgradation, Slum Redevelopment and Rehabilitation programmes.

He founded People’s Participation Programme (PPP) in 1980, a NGO working for weaker section housing, and Mumbai’s slum amelioration programmes. Under this banner many weaker sections / slum people were rehabilitated in Mumbai, with Slum Redevelopment / Rehabilitation Schemes. He built a modern and a beautiful colony for Banjaras in Mumbai, called Naik Nagar, Kurla (E), in 1972. He pioneered a massive scheme in Mumbai’s Slum Reconstruction and Rehabilitation programme and Shelter for Urban poor. In this programme he rehabilitated 3000 slum families by giving free and pucca houses to them. Built first of its kind Tanner’s Colony, in Dharavi, Mumbai, for rehabilitating 500 tanner’s families. Rehabilitation of 550 building construction labour, first of its kind, by giving them free and regular houses on ownership basis in a colony called “Roma Banjara Tanda Co-op. Housing Society Ltd., at Mankhurd, Mumbai.

Shri Ranjit Naik published the following books on Bombay’s Slum related matters:

Written and published two editions, in English and Marathi languages on ‘HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SLUM REDEVELOPMENT SCHEMES WITH 2.5 F.S.I.’.

Presented a paper titled as “AN UNIQUE URBAN MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENT PROGRAMME OF PROVIDING 1.2 MILLION FREE HOUSES TO BOMBAY’S SLUM PEOPLE (INDIA)” – in the preparatory committee meeting, Habitat-II, U.N.O., New York, in the year 1996.

Presented a paper in the World City Summit of UN, Habitat - II, at Istanbul - Turkey, - titled as “MUMBAI: (BOMBAY) TODAY’S SOLUTION FOR A HEALTHY CITY IS SLUM REDEVELOPMENT AND REHABILITATION” – in the year 1996.

Written many articles on housing and slum related problems, which have appeared in leading Indian newspapers and magazines.

Shri Ranjit Naik lectured in the following important Seminars, Forums & Public Meetings and particularly in Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA’s) Training Centre, at Pune.

a) “Architecture for the welfare of urban poor and for environmental upgradation of Mega/Big Cities of India: An experimentation in Mumbai – A challenge to the profession” – 30th Convention of All India Institute of Architects (A.I.I.A), Orissa – December – 1996.

b) Lecture for M.H.A.D.A’s Professional Training Centre at Pune, on Slum Redevelopment (S.R.D) Schemes of Mumbai.

c) “Slum Rehabilitation Scheme is the best solution for all ills, environmental upgradation and overall development of Mumbai” – (Speech delivered by Mr. Ranjit Naik in the Seminar on Housing Organised Legal Aid Forum, at Y.B. Chavan Hall on 07.12.1996).

d) “Slum Redevelopment / Rehabilitation Schemes, A Retrospection” – (Speech delivered by Mr. Ranjit Naik, in the meeting of Federation of Accommodation Industry of India, (Mumbai – 21.08.1997).

e) “Development Controls and Private Sector”. This lecture was delivered in the refresher course of “Integrated Local Development”, at Ahmedabad, on 10th December 1997, organized by Instituted of Housing Development Studies, Rotterdam, Alumni of Institute of Urban Development Studies, Human Settlement Management Institute, New Delhi.

He was instrumental in bringing into contact, for the first time, the Indian Banjaras (Gypsies of India) with their counterpart, Roma (Gypsy) of the World. He was specially invited to participate in the First International Roma (Gypsy) Festival in March 1976, at Chandigarh, when Shri Gyani Zail Singh was Chief Guest. He led a delegation of The All India Banjara Seva Sangh to Geneva in 1977, to participate in The World Roma (Gypsies) Conference. He was Presidium Member of The World Romano Ekipe (World Roma / Gypsy Union) between 1977 and 1980. Again he participated in 2nd International Roma (Gypsy) Festival in October 1983, at Chandigarh (India), where Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was Chief Guest and Shri Rajiv Gandhi was guest of honour.

Shri Ranjit Naik published number of papers and articles on Roma (Gypsy) matters and on Banjaras, which has appeared in many India’s leading newspapers as well as foreign newspapers and periodicals.

The following are the major publications brought out by Shri Ranjit Naik:

(i) All India Banjara Sevak Shibir Report - 1966.

(ii) All India Banjara Study Team Report - 1969.

(iii) ‘BANJARA’ Fortnightly in Telugu language between 1972 and 1975.

(iv) ROMA - BANJARA, (Hindi and English) Bilingual Fortnightly between 1982 and 1986 from Bombay.

(v) He guided The Census Department, Govt. of India, in bringing out an authentic and beautiful brochure, titled ‘BANJARA EMBROIDERY’ - in 1981.

(vi) He helped scores of scholars and researchers, National as well as International levels, in their research works for doctorate, on Banjaras.

(vii) He was extensively quoted in the world famous and authentic book on Roma / Gypsies of the World, called “Gypsies of the World”, published from Yugoslavia.

Shri Ranjit Naik was awarded the Inaugural Trophy of “Accommodation Times” a fortnightly specializing in the building and accommodation industry for his Slum Redevelopments works.

As recognition of his works in slums, he was nominated to the Bombay Metropolitan Regional Development Authority’s (BMRDA) Task Force for Bombay Urban Transport Programme (BUTP-II), as a panel member. He initiated dialogue with USAID’s Rural Housing and Urban Development Organisation (RHUDO) to take up a massive programme of SRD & R in Bombay. As recognition of his works USAID sponsored him to participate in Asian Regional Conference on Housing, at Jakarta. He was nominated to the panel of “BOMBAY FIRST” an organization based on the lines of “LONDON FIRST” as a representative of a NGO specializing in SRD & R Schemes.

Was Awarded “Great Son of the Soil Millennium Award” by All India Conference of Intellectuals, in recognition of distinguished and commendable services to the nation on 30th December, 2002.

Invited to present a paper on Asian Regional Policy Consultation (Habitat-II of UN) on ‘Access to Land and Security of Tenure for Sustainable Development’, Jakarta (Indonesia), 1995. Invited at the Preparatory Committee of United Nation’s Human Settlement Conference (Habitat-II), New York, 1996. Invited to World City Summit at Istanbul, June 1996. He was nominated as one of the 100 ‘Best Practices in in the world and awarded “UNCHS 1998 Awards for Excellence in improving Living Environment’ by United Nation’s Habitat-II. This firm has been recognized and awarded a plaque by the Urban Development Ministry of India on achieving this honour.

He was awarded “Banjara Sahitya Ratna” by Banjara Language Research Institute, Hyderabad / Nagpur, on 17th August 2003, at Nagpur, Maharashtra and also awarded “Banjara Ratna Puraskar” by Banjara Kranti Dal, on 5th January 2004 at Azad Maidan, Mumbai.

With unfulfilled dream of building Sant Shri Sevalal Maharaj Temple, at Sevagad, Andhra Pradesh, Shri Ranjit Naik, an outstanding human being and a very kind gentleman died on 30th July 2004, in Mumbai due to brain haemorrhage.

Mrs. Chandrakala Ranjit Naik, wife of Late Shri Ranjit P. Naik and D/o. Late Shri Ratansingh Rathod, was born on 1st July 1936, at Village : Lohagaon, Taluka : Karanja, District : Akola, Maharashtra State.

She was born in the family of freedom fighters. Her father Late Shri Babusingh Rathod was a freedom fighter, founder of Arya Samaj and first Committee Member of AICC, was awarded “Dalit Mitra” and his family maintained the relation with AICC till date. Her Grandfather was also a freedom fighter, who actively participated in India’s Freedom Movement.

Academic Qualifications :

Studied upto S.S.C. at Government High School, Amravati, Maharashtra State with Scholarship.

Completed Bachelor of Arts (B.A) from Women’s College, Nagpur.

She is the First Banjara lady graduate in Maharashtra State.

Completed Master of Arts (M.A) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), while practicing as a Teacher.

Participation / Social Activities :

Since her college days she used to go village-to-village and meet Banjara people and explain them the importance of education in Banjara community especially for girl’s education.

After marrying Mr. Ranjit Naik in 1962 she has been helping her husband, in all socio-economic and cultural activities of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) and many other organisations for the upliftment of Banjara Community.

She is the Member of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS), since 1966.

She led a Banjara cultural troupe to Chandigarh in the year 1983, where Late Smt. Indira Gandhi presided the function of International Festival of Roma Gypsy. In this function she ordered for a 5 acres of land to Banjaras of Chikkuwadi (BARC), Mumbai.

Was founder Chairman of Roma Banjara Tanda Co-op. Hsg. Society, where about 536 Banjaras and backward class people, mainly construction labourers have got their own pucca houses free of cost.

By her active participation with her husband, the Sevagad Trust got sanctioned a residential school, which was inaugurated on 13/9/2004 by Andhra Pradesh Government.

Was elected as President of Women’s Wing of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS).

Was unanimously elected as President of the All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) and Sant Shri Sevalal Maharaj Charitable Trust - Sevagad (SSSMCT), Dist: Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, on 9th August, 2004, after the sudden demise of her husband and former President, Shri Ranjit Naik.

Publications brought out by Mrs. Chandrakala Naik :

i) “Apne aap Banjara Boli Sikho” (Learn Banjara Boli by yourself).

ii) Published and edited ‘BANJARA’ Fortnightly in Hindi language.

iii) Published and edited ‘ROMA - BANJARA', (Hindi and English) Bilingual Fortnightly between 1982 and 1986 from Bombay.

iv) Presently publishing and editing ‘BHARAT BANJARA', (Hindi and English) Bilingual Fortnightly from 1st June 2002 from Mumbai.