Obituary: Dr. Daya Varma

Dr. Daya Varma, veteran Communist and professor emeritus of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, passed away at his home in St. John’s on 22 March. He was 86. Born in a UP village in 1929, Daya became a Marxist in his student days and remained steadfast in his ideological commitment while abhorring dogma and critiquing the lapses of applied socialism in Russia and China.

After obtaining MBBS and MD degrees from King George Medical College in Lucknow, he went to Canada for research and received his PhD in Pharmacology from McGill University in 1961.Thereafter he chose teaching as his profession and became the head of the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in McGill University. He continued to teach even after his retirement and was honoured as Professor Emeritus in 2009.

Daya Varma’s career in teaching and research remained intimately connected with his communist outlook and activist spirit. He got involved in the working people’s struggle in Canada and founded Indian People’s Association in North America which worked as a bridge with the communist movement in India and South Asia. In the later years of his life he was closely involved with several organisations and initiatives involving the South Asian community in Canada and in the broader international arena.

After the Emergency he was deeply impressed by the rise of the CPI(ML) and its growing wide-ranging democratic initiatives centring around the revolutionary peasant movement in Bihar, and by early 1980s he started looking after the international department of the CPI(ML). Between 1982 to 2002 he attended every Congress of the CPI(ML). As an academic as well as activist, he was closely involved in the campaign for justice for the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster. He was a relentless and resolute fighter against the Sangh brigade’s politics of communal mobilisation and a staunch advocate of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan and unity among Left forces in India.

Comrade Daya Varma has left behind a powerful legacy of combining the pursuit of scientific education, research and training with committed involvement in the revolutionary movement on the ground and motivating the Indian diaspora in favour of the revolutionary democratic movement in India on one hand and the global resistance against imperialism on the other. CPI(ML) Central Committee salutes the memory and legacy of Comrade Daya Varma and conveys the deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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