Pranlal Sheth

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Born in Nairobi in 1924, Sheth picked two important lessons very early in life: never to put up with injustice or discrimination without protest, and that resistance must be peaceful and non-violent. This was after successfully organising a two-week strike at his school, Government Indian School (present day Jamhuri High School).

In 1943, Girdhari Lal Vidyarthi invited Sheth to write for his Colonial Times newspaper which took a vigorous stand against the colonial government and the settlers. In 1947, Sheth together with Haroon Ahmed and D K Sharda moved on to establish the Daily Chronicle, which was also anti-colonial but much more militant and Kenya-centric.

But the harassment from the authorities and hefty fines against the publication drove it out of business, forcing the journalists to sell it off in 1951.

Sheth then joined Makhan Singh in his trade union activities. When the East African Trade Union Congress was banned in 1950 and its leaders arrested, Sheth together with Bildad Kaggia and others kept union activities alive until the declaration of the Emergency in 1952.

In October 1960 he left for London to complete his bar studies and returned in 1962 to start his own legal practice in Kisumu. There he met and worked with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

In February 1965, in the aftermath of Pio Gama Pinto’s assassination, Odinga was isolated within KANU. He left to join the Kenya People’s Union. Sheth drew up the legal structure of the new party.

His loyalty to Odinga proved costly. On Friday 14 August, 1966, Sheth was deprived of his citizenship, declared a prohibited immigrant and deported to India, from where he relocated to England.

Sheth died in London in 2003.