We bid you adieu, Duarte

Duarte Bareto

Dr. Duarte Barreto is no more. He died of old age at home in Bangalore on 19 April 2021 .

Some people live on earth and merge into others like salt that enhances value of anything that it gets in touch with, but without asserting its exclusive identity. The act is of sublimation, of converting those who make contact with them to a higher plain, helping them to know themselves, identify their vocations and converting them as capable of taking leadership positions wherever they are.

The flip side is that such people usually never establish themselves as social, political or economic leaders where they stand out amidst others. They may also not make academic assertions despite originality of their thoughts. The institutions they build need not carry a flag on top, with their names inscribed on it.

At the same time, they contribute in building leadership at multiple walks of life and facilitate formation of institutions as change agents.

Strangely, such individuals need not necessarily make deliberate efforts not to be a celebrity or a mass leader. They are in their natural being.

Duarte Barreto, who has been laid to rest in Bangalore today is such a person. Not many newspapers carried the news of the death of Duarte. There are not many Facebook posts either.

It is just that he has not built an exalted self image of himself. It is just that he has given himself to the blossoming of others. From early 1970s, when he was part of a venerated team at the Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru, Duarte was instrumental in challenging the belief systems and thought processes of an array of young people and guiding them to ideas of liberation theology and Marxian tools of analysis to study and intervene in social, political and economic systems and processes. Many of them took leadership positions in Dalit, Adivasi, fishing community, agrarian and labour movements and entities all over the country. To paraphrase a communication from a colleague of mine, “My partner and I met Duarte in 1975 at ISI with Stan and their other colourful colleagues. Those 10 days with them changed my life. …” Duarte became the anonymous participant in the celebration of social change.

He continued his sublimating role even after he moved out from the ISI. Duarte was the executive trustee of Foundation for Educational Innovations in Asia (FEDINA) since 1996. He was the Chairperson of Centre for Education and Communication (CEC) since 1994. Both in FEDINA, where he had a managerial role, and in CEC, where he had a supervisory role, Duarte facilitated the growth and recognition of others and not himself.

I have had the opportunity to work closely with him for many years. He remained among the strongest allies at worst of times, most unassumingly.

We bid you adieu, Duarte.

About J John Edoor

Writer, activist

Posted on April 20, 2021, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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