Age: 88 Years
Death Cause: Alzheimer's Disease
Wife: Leila Kabir
|Full Name||George Mathew Fernandes|
|Profession||Politician, Indian Trade Unionist, Journalist, Agriculturist, Member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar|
|Political Party||Samata Manch
|Political Journey||• 1967: Won the Samyukta Socialist Party elections against S.K. Patil
• 1969: Selected as General Secretary of the Samyukta Socialist Party
• 1973: Chairman of the Socialist Party
• 1998-2004 : Appointed as a Defence Minister in the second and third National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Governments
|Physical Stats & More|
|Date of Birth||3 June 1930|
|Birthplace||Mangalore , Karnataka, India|
|Date of Death||29 January 2019|
|Place of Death||Delhi, India|
|Age (at the time of death)||88 Years|
|Death Cause||Alzheimer's Disease|
|Zodiac sign/Sun sign||Gemini|
|School||St Peter's Seminary|
|College||St. Aloysius College, Mangalore|
|Educational Qualification||Secondary School Drop-out|
|Family||Father- John Joseph Fernandes
Mother- Alice Martha Fernandes
Brother- Michael Fernandes (Trade Union Leader),
Aloysius Fernandes, Paul Fernandes, Lawrence Fernandes (Socialist Political Leader), Richard Fernandes
Sister- Not Known
|Hobby||Listening to music|
|Controversies||• On 10 October 2006, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR against George, Jaya Jaitly and Admiral Sushil Kumar (Former Navy Chief) for illegally purchasing 7 billion ($110 million) Barak 1 system from Israel in 2000.
• George was in controversy as in a sting operation conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel who offered the bribe to the Bharatiya Janata Party President, Bangaru Laxman, a senior officer in the Indian Army and Jaya Jaitly, the General Secretary of the Samata Party and he was forced to resign because of this.
• Being the chairman of the Socialist Party of India, he allegedly obtained funding from the US Central Intelligence Agency and the French government to organise underground sabotage activities, and the US diplomatic cables claimed that when French government refused to do so, he was prepared to accept money from the CIA.
• He has remained in controversy because of his support to many secessionist movements and groups. He was a long time supporter of The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an organisation which seeks to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
• He also organised a controversial public conference of pro-LTTE elements in New Delhi before joining the Vajpayee government in 1997.
• George was in highlights in 2002 when he was found guilty in the coffin scam, having charges of buying 500 poor quality aluminium caskets at rates 13 times more than the actual price from the United States to transport the bodies of slain soldiers after the Kargil War.
|Favourite Actor(s)||Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar|
|Favourite Actresses||Madhu Bala, Nargis, Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh|
|Favourite Music Form(s)||Western, Classical|
|Girls, Affairs and More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Separated|
|Wife/Spouse/Partner||Leila Kabir (separated in the mid-1980s)
|Marriage Date||21 July 1971|
|Children||Son- Sean Fernandes, Investment Banker (from Leila Kabir)
|Net Worth (approx.)||₹9.5 crore (as in 2009)|
Some Lesser Known Facts About George Fernandes
- Did George Fernandes smoke?: No
- Did George Fernandes drink alcohol?: Not Known
- He was born in a Mangalorean Catholic family to father John Joseph Fernandes and mother Alice Martha Fernandes and was the eldest among the six children.
- His mother named him George as she was a great follower of King George V, who was also born on 3 June.
- In 1946, at the age of 16, George was sent to St Peter’s Seminary, Bangalore to fulfil his family’s orthodox tradition for his training as a Roman Catholic priest.
- After three years, he left the Seminary due to depression and extreme frustration as he noticed that the rectors at church ate better food and sat at higher tables than seminarians. This biased environment prompted him to leave the training in between.
- He then began organising exploited workers in hotels, transport industry and restaurants.
- At 19, he decided to move to Mumbai to search for a job there. He had a troublesome life there as he slept on streets for days until he started working as a proofreader for a newspaper.
- He once described that he had one of the toughest and hard days of his life at Bombay and stated “When I came to Bombay, I used to sleep on the benches of Chowpatty Sands. In the middle of the night policemen used to come and wake me up and ask me to move on.”
- George joined a socialist trade union in Bombay which fought for the rights of small-scale industry labourers focusing hotels and restaurants.
- Since his childhood, he was interested in writing and journalism and was the editor of a Konkani language monthly newspaper- Konkani Yuvak (Konkani Youth) in 1949.
- George was also the editor of an English monthly edition- The Other Side and the chairman of the Hindi monthly edition- Pratipaksh.
- Being a member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation from 1961 to 1968, he advocated for the rights of exploited workers in front of the representative body of the metropolis.
- In 1967, he rose to prominence when he was given a party ticket by the Samyukta Socialist Party against the most popular and experienced S.K. Patil, and George won the elections by 48.5 % votes.
- This victory earned him a nickname- George the Giantkiller as it ended the political career of S.K. Patil.
- In the late 1960s, he conducted many strikes in Bombay in order to fight for the rights of workers.
- George was selected as General Secretary of the Samyukta Socialist Party and Chairman of the Socialist Party in 1969 and 1973 respectively.
- In 1974, being the President of the All India Railway Men’s Federation, he initiated the Railway strike which involved around 1.5 million workers and ended up sending thousands to jail.
- He met Leila Kabir, the daughter of Former Union minister Humayun Kabir on a flight back from Calcutta to Delhi, and they fell in love with each other.
- George and Leila dated each other for a long time and tied the knot on 21 July 1971. They had a son named Sean Fernandes, who is an investment banker based in New York.
- George and Kabir got separated in the mid-1980s, and since then, he used to be seen with Jaya Jaitly.
- George had published several books on politics- What Ails the Socialists in 1972, Dignity for All: Essays in Socialism and Democracy in 1991, to name a few.
- In 1991, George penned down his autobiography entitled George Fernandes Speaks.
- From 1998 to 2004, he worked as a Defence Minister in the second and third National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Governments at the time when Kargil war occurred between India and Pakistan and India also conducted its nuclear tests at Pokhran.
- George’s name was in highlights in Tehelka Scandal. It was a sting operation conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel who entered with hidden cameras and a mastermind to reveal the defence ministry officials accepting money. He offered the bribe to the Bharatiya Janata Party President, Bangaru Laxman, a senior officer in the Indian Army and Jaya Jaitly, the General Secretary of the Samata Party.
- After all this nuisance, George was forced to resign from his post of Defence Minister. Moreover, he put his words in front of media denying the allegations of corruption in a weapons procurement scandal:
- He had founded Samata Party in 1994.
- On 10 October 2006, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed an FIR against George, Jaya Jaitly, and Admiral Sushil Kumar (Former Navy Chief) for illegally purchasing 7 billion ($110 million) Barak 1 system from Israel in 2000. However, Fernandez later claimed that Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (Former President of India) had cleared the missile deal.
- On 4 August 2009, he was sworn in as a member of Rajya Sabha.
- In an interview, he talked about his childhood moments, life goals, career achievements and many other things worth listening.
- George could speak in ten languages—Konkani (his mother tongue), Tulu, Kannada, English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Malayalam, and Latin.
- He was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and underwent treatment at Baba Ramdev‘s Ashram in Haridwar in 2010 on the request of Leila Kabir who has returned to his life in his hard times.
- On his 80th birthday, it was noticed by media and his closed ones that he was unable to recognise even his family members. Here’s a video of his birthday celebration:
- George had been a member of many organisations- Amnesty International, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, and the Press Council of India.
- On 29 January 2019, he passed away in Delhi; after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.