For Minister Satish Pednekar & Malegaon-ka-Superman, gutkha ban comes too late

Shaikh Shafique, the 23-year-old factory worker who vowed to end the tobacco menace in the low budget film Malegaon ka Superman that won accolades at film festivals, lost his own battle against oral cancer last year.

Sixty-year-old Congressman Satish Pednekar, who was Maharashtra’s home and labour minister, died of oral cancer last year. He was addicted to mawa, a mix of chewing tobacco and paan masala.

As the state cabinet approved a ban on the manufacture and sale of gutkha and paan masala, families like those of Shafique and Pednekar wished it had come earlier.

“It was a nightmare. My husband had recurrent illnesses, could not swallow even watery dal-khichdi and died last year of advanced oral cancer,” recalled Pednekar’s wife Sumitra. “I am happy that Maharashtra has finally taken the step to ban gutkha and help save so many young lives.”

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