Even before Twitter made its global appearance in 2006, social crusader and the former two-term Sheriff of Mumbai, Nana Chudasama who was on ‘Twitter Mode’ through his historic banners across Mumbai, passed away at the age of 86 on December 23, after a brief illness at his home. He was known for his succinct messages and comments on important issues of the day displayed through banners put up at Marine Drive, South Mumbai.
The father of the BJP spokesperson Shaina NC in his banners, in a few words, presented (and continued to do so until his last breath) the witty, sarcastic, and sometimes cool side of current events that were/are the talk of the town. Some of such banners that created a stir were: ‘IRONY: Majority of MPs crorepati; majority of people, poor.’ Or ‘Pen is mightier than the sword: Agitate, Debate but don’t vandalise.’ However, one of his latest ones was ‘Demonetisation: You can dash, smash or crash, but still no cash.’
Sharing his memories over Chudasama’s demise, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Atul Shah condoled, “Shaina’s father Nana Chudasama was indeed the father of the whole Mumbai City. I have numerous memories with him. He was a great fighter for the cause of our beautiful city. As a true messenger, he would send a pertinent message through his banners at Marine Drive giving signals to wrongdoers.”
He continued saying, “Me and all the office bearers Ward No. 220 and all the citizens hereby salute Nana and give respectful shraddhanjali to the departed soul.”
Chudasama, an eminent jurist was also the founder of an NGO, Giants International, which has a presence in several cities in India as well as abroad with 500 branches in India and several branches across the world, including USA, UK, South Africa, Mauritius and Ukraine. He carried out social work during his term as the Sheriff and was the President of centres such as I Love Mumbai, the National Kidney Foundation and the Forum Against Drugs. In the past, he had initiated 38,000 family planning operations which are certified. He had also initiated numerous awareness and educational camps in slum areas for Family Planning. He also produced a film on Aids Awareness called ‘Roshini’.
This Man of Mumbai always lived for the city and its people, as the voice of the common man. Nana Chudasama’s book, ‘History on a Banner’ is a compilation of his thought-provoking banners on Mumbai’s Marine Drive that caught the attention of thousands of commuters. It is an interesting chronicle of current events that shape our collective destinies. In 2016, on his 83rd birthday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched a website to celebrate his life. CM Fadnavis expressed his grief on Twitter stating, “Pained to know about sudden demise of eminent jurist, former Sheriff of Mumbai Nana Chudasama ji. My deepest condolences to his family & friends. His works & contribution for clean & green Mumbai, in various rehabilitation initiatives and health sector will be remembered forever!”
When AV spoke to BJP Cabinet Minister of Finance and Planning and Forests departments Sudhir Mungantiwar, he reminisced, “Nana Chudasama was a great person. He contributed a lot for the betterment of this city. Whenever I used to see his banners, I used to feel he was doing something advanced for our city.” While BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha expressed, “He was a great man, a great Mumbaikar. Mumbai will remember him forever.” However, Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar chose to remain silent on the same.
From prominent political leaders to notable B-town celebs came forward on social media to express their grieve for the loss that city faced. While NCP Chief Sharad Pawar mentioned in his tweet, “Saddened to learn about the demise of former Sheriff of Mumbai Padmshri Nana Chudasama. His service to society through social work was exemplary. My deepest condolences to his family members,” on the other hand, BJP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe expressed his sorrow over the loss commenting, “Mumbai’s metropolitan public life will be poorer with the demise of former sheriff Nana Chudasama! Known for his thought-provoking banners, Nana ji was a public educator! Homage to the departed Leader!” Poonam Dhillion shared and recollected a few nostalgic posts with Shaina and the late Nana Chudasama on Twitter. Milind Deora, Poonam Mahajan, Shobhaa De and several other well-known personalities conveyed their sorrow and condolences for the former Sheriff.
In a conversation with AV, Actor Dalip Tahil mourned for the loss and shared, “It’s a very sad news and I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to Shaina and her family. Nana was a stalwart of this city and he contributed a lot, certainly, to the city of Mumbai. It’s a huge loss.”
Nana who was conferred with Padma Shri in 2005 for his contribution to the social sector, left his sense of belonging with every Mumbaikar. His daughter Shaina is leaving no stones unturn to take forward his father’s legacy, to voice for a common man and stay connected to them. Nana’s generation has contributed a lot to the glory of Mumbai city, and they are the legends of their time. “With profound grief, we inform you that our beloved father Nana Chudasama breathed his last today,” Shaina NC said in a statement.
When we tried contacting Shaina but she remained unavailable to comment but a source close to Shaina NC said that the last rites were performed in the evening at 5:30 on December 23 at Banganga Crematorium in Mumbai.