Ummid Assistant

CBSE starts counselling for board exams

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Life & Style

This scientist left US job to fight Maharashtra local polls

Wednesday February 01, 2012 02:43:45 PM, Quaid Najmi, IANS

Balasaheb S. Darade outside NASA

(Photo: IANS)

Buldhana (Maharashtra): He lived in the US for over a decade. But the nanotechnology scientist left his cutting edge work when conscience beckoned him to help change and improve things in his deprived Parda village in the Vidarbha region.

Treading the heat and grime of grassroots politics is 28-year-old Balasaheb S. Darade, who is contesting as an independent candidate from the Pangradole constituency in the Buldhana district council polls scheduled for Feb 7.

"I am focussing on three key aspects - rural development, youth empowerment and changing the attitude of people - if they want to see change, they must change themselves," Darade, who came back to India last year, told IANS in an interview.

Born in Parda village, 450 km southeast of Mumbai, which has now grown into a small town with around 25,000 people, Darade was educated here and in other parts of the state before joining the University of Cincinnati, US, from where he completed his masters in nanotechnology.

"I had always been keen on research, especially nano in solar cells. My work got me a consultancy assignment with US space agency NASA and I worked on the Mars Rover Project on nano solar cells," he said.

Darade always longed to return to his town and do something for people's upliftment - almost like Shah Rukh Khan in the movie "Swades".

During his stay in the US till August 2011, Darade keenly watched and drummed up support for social activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption crusade. He also came in contact with spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the US and met former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on several occasions.

He even formulated plans for a revamp of villages partly by incorporating Hazare's Ralegan-Siddhi model village principles.

"I launched the Shankar Rural Transformation Project (SRTP) in 20 villages in the Vidarbha region, plagued by farmland suicides, huge unemployment and consequent problems, and depression among the people who feel they have no future," he said.

"These personalities appreciated my efforts, inspired and encouraged me to enter politics which is abhorred and shunned by the educated class in India," Darade told IANS while on the campaign trail.

The SRTP project - dedicated to the memory of his late parents Shankar and Ratnamala, who perished in a fire accident three years ago and his mentor, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - has taken off with volunteers in each of the target villages.

Darade has taken up SRTP in three parts - sustainable village development projects for solving a village's need-based problems, individual empowerment, and finally collaboration with government and other agencies.

Initially hoping to contest the state legislature elections in 2014, it was barely two weeks ago that Darade decided to take the plunge into the local body polls - which he said would enable him to study and understand deeply the problems afflicting the rural, agro-based state economy and people's plight.

Darade has been allotted a 'cup and saucer' election symbol, but says he is not bothered about 'token symbolism'. Instead, he wants to involve the masses in a big way and put them on the path to progress and prosperity.

His public meetings, with audiences ranging from groups of 20 to 8,000 (the biggest till date attended by curious farmers who decided to hear yet another speaker), have short issue-based speeches and are spiced with meditation and chanting of popular folk songs.

"I prefer quality in my meetings. Quantity or big crowds do not really get the message across," he explained.

Though reluctant to name his main challengers, he said the biggest rivals would be the Shiv Sena with its powerful local MP Prataprao Jadhav and legislator Sanjay Raimulkar, and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine.

Depending solely on public donations, volunteers' contributions, including sympathizers from India Against Corruption (IAC), and his own meagre resources, Darade moves around in a hired vehicle, armed with his cap that says "Now Change is Certain", which he distributes to people he meets daily.

He claims that though written off initially, he has now been flooded with messages, letters and e-mails of support. The village youth participation in his campaign has grown manifold.

"I have realised that elections, however small, are a tough job. But in a democracy, elections are a must and it is imperative to elect good representatives at all levels - I have taken the first step towards this change."

After this experience, Darade hopes to contest the Maharashtra assembly elections due 2014.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at






Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS






Top Stories

Petition seeking Narendra Modi's deposition before Nanavati panel rejected

In a reprieve for Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat High Court Wednesday rejected a petition seeking his  

Narendra Modi unapologetic on the Gujarat carnage: US Diplomat

Riot victims in Gujarat still live in unbearable surroundings


  Most Read

'Occupy' protesters defy ban, stay put in Washington

The camps at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, a couple of blocks from either end of the White House, are the group's most visible sites after the one in  

In Occupied America!

Will Mayawati's magic work in 2012? Pundits doubtful

Her rock solid Dalit support may still be intact. But with charges of corruption and poor governance enveloping her, Chief Minister Mayawati may find the going tough in Uttar Pradesh, say political activists and pundits. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)  

UP elections sans fanfare this time


  News Pick

How will assembly polls affect Congress?

They may be battles for control of five states. But the overall outcome will mean a lot to the Congress and to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government it leads. Analysts feel a good performance will be a morale  

Model of India's biggest mosque unveiled

The mosque is to come up in a 40 acres near here and the complex will also house a heritage museum, convention halls, and a media centre, according to the Jamia Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya headed by Muslim  

Heavy voting in Punjab: Who will pay a heavy price?

Having set a new record with 76.63 percent voting in Punjab's election to 117 assembly seats, voters  

70 percent polling in Punjab, 65 percent in Uttarakhand so far: EC


Picture of the Day

New Delhi,27 Jan 2012-IGNOU Vice-Chancellor M Aslam receiving the "Best teaching practices Award" from noted film director Prakash Jha at the India Today Aspire education summit 2012,in New Delhi on Friday. Also in picture India Today Group's Rekha Puri.

(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us




    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.