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Deshpande: A Profile

Veteran Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande passes away in New Delhi on early Thursday morning at the age of 79.

india Updated: May 01, 2008, 12:42 IST

A recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Deshpande had a two-year stint in the Rajya Sabha from 1997 and was nominated for a second time in 2004.

She was also nominated for the Nobel peace prize in 2005.

Deshpande, who always wanted to build understanding among Hindus and Muslims, had also worked towards establishing communal harmony after the Gujarat riots.

Deshpande extensively worked for uplift of women, tribals and backward classes.

In March 2000, she had gone from Delhi to Lahore in Pakistan in a bus along with other prominent women in a effort to establish Indo-Pak peace.

Committed to the cause of Tibet, she had led a satyagraha to the Indo-Tibet border in 1977.

She was also known for her help to Burmese refugees and espoused the cause of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.

Deshpande, who attended several international conferences in Russia, the UK, the US, China, Pakistan, Switzerland, Germany, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Brazil, had unveiled a statue of Gandhi in Bali, Indonesia.

A member of several standing committees of Parliament, she headed various organisations and trusts connected to Gandhi.

Born on October 17, 1929 in Nagpur, she authored novels in Hindi, one of which got her a national award.

She also wrote plays, travelogues, a commentary on Isha Upanishad and a biography of Vinoba Bhave.

She had edited Maitri, a journal on service and spirituality, published from Paunar Ashram founded by Bhave.

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