NEW DELHI: The Marxist pioneer and former general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who passed away on Friday, was a grand old revolutionary.
The end came at the Metro Hospital in Noida at 1.35 p.m. Hospitalised on May 6 following a respiratory crisis, the 92-year-old survivor of several transformative eras and health crises gradually slipped into a coma but recovered and was discharged. He was again hospitalised on July 7 following the onset of fever and lung infection. Doctors said a massive cardiac arrest combined with septicaemia due to persistent pneumonia was the cause of death.
Tributes came from all quarters. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a great political leader, a true patriot who was committed to the welfare of the downtrodden. President Pratibha Patil and Congress President Sonia Gandhi said his death was a loss not only to the Communist movement but to the entire country. BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani said that in Mr. Surjeet’s death Indian politics lost a veteran and the Marxist movement a dedicated activist.
Expressing profound grief at the passing away of Mr. Surjeet, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said the party lost an outstanding leader and the country an authoritative representative of the Left and secular tradition. Hailing him as the “most authoritative spokesman for the Left and democratic forces in the country,” the Polit Bureau said Mr. Surjeet played a remarkable role in the defence of national unity and in formulating policies to counter the threat from divisive forces.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said Mr. Surjeet was one of the builders of the Communist movement in the country and tirelessly worked for realising the goal of a classless society. Recalling his long association with the veteran Marxist leader, Mr. Karat said: “In his death, the Communist movement and progressive and secular forces have suffered an irreparable loss.”
The nonagenarian CPI(M) leader is survived by his wife, Pritam Kaur, their two sons and daughter. His body will be kept on Sunday morning at the party headquarters, AKG Bhavan, here. Cremation is scheduled to take place here in the evening.