Arvind Narayan Das

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Aravind Narayan Das (popularly known as Aravind N. Das) was a social scientist, journalist, activist and a documentary filmmaker from Bihar.

Aravind N. Das was influenced by Naxalbari, the peasant rebellion, while he was a student at St. Stephen's College, Delhi in late 1960s. According to Journalist Harsh Sethi - "Rarely before, or since, at least in post-Independence India, had otherwise comfortably placed students taken the cause of the underdog to heart. Among those who were permanently marked by the experience of the ‘spring thunder’ was Aravind N. Das."[1] His experiences in the period he spent underground as part of the Naxalites movement, shaped most of his life thereafter. He joined The Times of India as the research editor and pioneered the books that The Times of India group produced on its sesquicentennial celebrations. In 1994 he moved out of The Times of India and helped co-found Asia Pacific Communication Associates Pvt. Ltd. (APCA), along with Dileep Padgaonkar, Anikendra Nath Sen and Darryl D'Monte. In 1995 he embarked on a journey which took him around India for an 18-part documentary called India Invented. This serial was inspired by D.D. Kosambi's vision of Indian history. This documentary which took more than 2 years to make was probably a defining moment of Arvind Das's career. He was also the founder editor of Biblio, a review of books.

At his sudden death due to heart attack in 2000, Indian journalist Dileep Padgaonkar wrote, "But Aravind's real obsession, the one that shaped his thinking, guided his written output and nourished his conversations, was his native Bihar. It can be said without exaggeration that no contemporary Indian thinker has spoken and written about the glorious past, the dismal present and potential for a great future of this state with such lofty eloquence as he did. In his eyes, Bihar was a metaphor for India itself. At a pinch, he would have deemed it to be the very center of the universe. While he loathed its venal, caste-ridden, ineffective governance, the violent nature of its society, its decrepit intellectual and cultural life and the slothful ways of its elite, he never missed an opportunity to recall its rich cultural and spiritual legacy, the noble character of its long suffering people and the revolutionary potential of its youth. Two of his books - The Republic of Bihar and Changel: The Biography of a Village - bear vivid testimony to what the state meant to him."[2]

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