Veteran communist leader and former World Peace Council president Romesh Chandra passed away today in Mumbai, the CPI said in a statement. Ex-member of national executive of the CPI, Chandra died at around 3 PM in the Maharashtra capital due to old age, party leaders said. He was 97.
"Chandra's was witness to the historic peace movement. He made hefty contributions towards the movement. His demise is a big loss," CPI Maharashtra secretary Bhalchandra Kango said. According to the Left party's statement, Chandra had taken part in freedom struggle as a student leader and later joined CPI and went on to become its national executive. Chandra, who joined the Council headquarters in Helsinki as its president and played a role during cold war era, had addressed United Nations' General Assembly as peace body's leader many a times, the highest number of times as an Indian, the party said.
A recipient of Lenin Peace Award, Chandra had also worked as the editor of CPI's central organ New Age. "The Central Secretariat of the CPI pays its respectful homage to one of its prominent leaders and sends party's condolences to the bereaved family," the CPI said in a statement. Chandra is survived by his son Firoze. His wife, had passed away last year, Kango said. They had been separated.
The World Peace Council (WPC) expressed grief and loss at the passing away of our veteran leader and President of Honor Romesh Chandra today in Mumbai. He has been recognised to have served decades long the peace movement in India and the world. Romesh Chandra was born on March 30, 1919, in Lyallpur, India. He received degrees from a university in Lahore and from Cambridge University. From 1934 to 1941 he was chairman of the Students’ Union in Lahore. He became a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1939, of the Central Committee of the CPI in 1952, of the National Council of the CPI in 1958, and of the Central Executive Committee in 1958; from 1963 to 1967 he was a member of the Central Secretariat of the National Council of the CPI. From 1963 to 1966, Chandra was editor of the central organ of the CPI, New Age.
He served as General Secretary of the All-India Peace Council from 1952 to 1963. In 1953 he joined the World Peace Council, and in 1966 he became the WPC’s General Secretary and a member of its presidium while in 1977 he was elected President of the WPC. During the Assembly of WPC in Athens in 2000 Romesh Chandra contributed decisively to the preservation of the anti-imperialist character of the WPC and got elected President of Honour.
He served and contributed to the struggle of the peoples and their just causes and championed in the solidarity movement with the peoples under dictatorial regimes, for the liberation and self-determination of the peoples in dozens of cases all over the world. Romesh Chandra was awarded the F. Joliot-Curie Gold Peace Medal in 1964. He received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace among Nations in 1968, and he was awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples in 1975 by the USSR.
Romesh Chandra was a genuine son and figure of the Indian working-class movement and one of the leaders of the world peace movement.