Senior-most communist leader dead

Samar Mukherjee, freedom fighter and the country’s senior most communist leader, passed away in Kolkata on Thursday. A bachelor, he was also the last communist leader to live in a commune. He turned 100 in November 2012.

Mukherjee was admitted to hospital on Wednesday night with breathing problems.  Mukherjee died around 10 am on Thursday, said former CPM MP and senior party leader, Rabin Deb.

Born in Amta in Howrah district on November 7, 1913—exactly four years before the Bolsheviks took over in Russia—Mukherjee represented the CPM as MP from Howrah for three consecutive terms between 1971 and 1984.

Widely-respected, the articulate and erudite Mukherjee was made the party’s leader in Parliament and represented a generation of communist leaders who renounced comforts and remained wedded to Marxist ideology. He was also elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. Dismissed from school for demonstrating against the Simon Commission in 1928, he was also jailed for participating in the ensuing civil disobedience movement.

Becoming a member of the undivided Communist Party of India in 1940, he joined the CPM when the party split in 1964 and has served a variety of roles, the most significant being general secretary of the labour wing Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a member of the Politburo and also the central committee.  Known for his spartan lifestyle, Mukherjee also chaired the Central Control Commission, CPM’s disciplinary body.

Mukherjee left his family to join a party commune at Howrah in 1940 and shifted to another commune in 1965, where he lived as the sole occupant for the last few years. 

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