Long Live the Memory of Comrade Prithwiraj Singh

V ETERAN COMMUNIST leader and freedom fighter Com. Prithwiraj Singh breathed his last on 31 October in his grand-daughter’s house at Karkathal, 60 km away from Ahmedabad in Gujarat. For several years he had been residing at the Party State Office in Patna and almost all activists and sympathizers from the IPF days knew him well. Born on 1 Janurary, 1917 in Sonwan village of Ghoshi block in Jehanabad district of Bihar, he joined the freedom movement at the age of 15, leading a students’ strike against celebra-tions of the birth centennary of George V in 1932. He became fully active in 1934-35 and in 1938 he, along with his comrades including Yamuna Karyi, organised workers of the Cotton Mill in Gaya, in a trade union and became its joint secretary. For some time he was involved in organising workers of Dalamianagar in Rohtas. He was one of the participants of the fi rst meeting held in Munger in 1939 to form the Communist Party in Bihar. He took part in the peasant move-ment led by Swami Sahajanand and Rahul Sankrityayan and spent 18 months in jails. He was secretary of the Gaya District Party Committee of CPI in 1951-52. In the post independence period, he took part in the nationwide railway strike of 1960 and suffered prison hardships and torture. In 1962 he fi rmly stood by proletarian internationalism and in the 1964 split, he sided with the CPI(M). He spent 18 months in jail under DIR in 1965-66. He was soon disillusioned with the CPI(M) and started making attempts to revive the peasant movement with Tumaria Baba and raised the slogan “Peasants, awake and take lathis in your hands”. He was vocal in expressing his sympathy with Naxalbari move-ment from the very beginning and joined the CPI(ML) in 1969. Later he played an active role in the movement against Indira autocracy. He played a significant role in the formation of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha and was one of the organisers of its Patna rally on 23 February, 1981. In 1982, at the age of 65, while address-ing a public meeting at Kamta village in Jah-anabad, he was almost beaten to death by the police. He made a significant contribu-tion in building Bihar Rajya Deshbhakt Jan-wadi Morcha. Because of his significant role in building IPF he was elected president of the Bihar unit from 1982 to 1988. He also served as IPF’s national vice president during 1988-94. Even after that, despite his advanced age and failing health, he continued to remain associated with Party activities and joined every state conference and Party congress. He had hoisted the fl ag at the recently held Bihar state Party conference on 28 August 2001. Condoling his death, a meet-ing was organised at State Party Offi ce on 1 November, attended by Com. KD Yadav, Saroj Chaube, Prabhat Kumar, RN Thakur and Ashok Kumar. His mortal remains reached Patna on 4 Novmeber via Jehanabad where Party State Committee Secretary Comrade Ramjatan Sharma joined his last journey. Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya reached Patna and laid down the red fl ag over his body paid fl oral tributes to the departed leader. Com Dipankar also participated in the funeral performed at Bansghat in Patna. Besides Comrades Ram Naresh Ram, Nand Kishor Prasad, Ramjatan Sharma and other senior leaders, leaders of CPI and CPI(M) as well as a number of renowned intellectuals and representatives of student-youth, women and workers’ and peasant organisa-tions joined the funeral procession and offered their tributes to the departed veteran communist. On 13 November 2001, a con-dolence meeting was organized at Manpur in Gaya in his memory. It was attended by Party Polit Bureau Member Comrade Ram Naresh Ram, AICCTU National Secretary Comrade Ram Narain Thakur, State President of Bihar Khet Mazdoor Sabha Comrade Satyadev Ram and also CPI leader Comrade Satydev Prasad, CPI(M) leaders as well as local Party leaders. Eternal glory to Comrade Prith-wiraj Singh. Long Live the Memory of Comrade Prithwiraj Singh .