In keeping with his wishes, the mortal remains of eminent economist K.N. Raj were cremated without religious rites here on Thursday.

Dr. Raj’s body, which was kept at his home for the night, was moved to the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in the morning before being taken to the electric crematorium in the city for cremation attended by a close circle of his disciples, relatives, friends and admirers. The body was accorded police honours with three rounds of fire in the air shortly before it was consigned to the flames.

At the CDS, which he nurtured into an institution of international repute ever since he set it up in 1970 and which has been his virtual second home in the city for the last nearly four decades, Dr. Raj’s body was laid in the foyer for about an hour for public viewing. Students and faculty members of the CDS besides many from diverse walks of life filed past his body and offered floral tributes to Dr. Raj before his body was taken for its last journey out of the Centre.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac was present throughout Dr. Raj’s last journey giving instructions to those engaged in preparations for the funeral and helping out with the arrangements both at the CDS and at the crematorium. Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, former Speaker Vakkom Purushothaman, historian and Kerala State Higher Education Council Vice-Chairman K.N. Panikkar, Kannur University Vice-Chancellor P.K. Michael Tharakan, among others, offered tributes to Dr. Raj at the CDS. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar, Congress deputy legislature party leader G. Karthikeyan, Congress leader K. Mohan Kumar, M.K. Prasad, R.V.G. Menon, R. Hali, Justice (retired) K. Sukumaran, among others, joined the mourners at the crematorium.

Antony’s message

In a condolence message, Defence Minister A.K. Antony expressed deep grief at Dr. Raj’s death. Dr. Raj, he said, was an active presence in India’s planning process from the time the country embarked on the path of planned development. Dr. Raj was one who strived for the whole of life to bring about a unity of socialist and Gandhian ideologies and the role that he had played in giving a Gandhian face to decentralised planning was invaluable, Mr. Antony said.