Socialist thinker Surendra Mohan dies

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - Veteran socialist thinker and former parliamentartian Surendra Mohan died here Friday. He was 84.

Mohan died at his residence here, family sources said.

He is survived by his wife Manju, a former Janata Dal activist, and a son and a daughter.

His cremation took place in the afternoon. A large number of leaders, cutting across political parties, attended it.

Known for his simple lifestyle and consistent ideology, Mohan was a member of the Rajya Sabha (1978-84) and also chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, former minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh and noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar were among those who attended the cremation.

Describing Mohan as “the last Gandhian”, Reddy said: “Mohan was one of the great socialist intellectuals of independent India. He was a symbol of sacrifice and probity.”

In a condolence message, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda said he was “shocked and saddened by the passing away of the veteran socialist leader”.

“The late leader was not only a fellow-traveller on the path of socialism but also like an elder brother to me,” Gowda said in his message.

Gowda said Mohan as an MP “fought for the cause of the poor, underprivileged, farmers and minorities”.

Under his chairmanship, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission also became a vehicle for upliftment of the rural artisans.

Swami Agnivesh said Mohan practised what he preached. “His example of simplicity, concern for the fellow-beings and poor are highly needed in the present India, where the disparities between the rich and poor are increasing,” he added.

Agnivesh, who functions from the same office building of the undivided Janata Party where Mohan was a party secretary, recalled that the Mohan was “source of inspiration for a large number of intellectuals, academics and activists in the seventies”.

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