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Veteran communist leader Mohit Sen dead

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
May 04, 2003 17:25 IST
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Veteran communist leader Mohit Sen (74) died in Hyderabad on Saturday night.

After the death of his wife Vanaja Iyengar, who was vice-chancellor of the Sri Padmavathi Women's University, two years ago, Sen was living alone. Apparently, he died of a heart attack while watching TV.

His servant found him dead on his chair on Sunday morning.

The cremation will take place at the Bansilalpet electric crematorium in Hyderabad on Monday.

Born on March 24, 1929, to A N Sen, an eminent judge of the Calcutta high court, and Mrinalini Sinha, a well-known musician and social worker, in a distinguished Brahmo Samaj family, Sen was educated in Kolkata and Cambridge.

He joined the Communist Party of India as a candidate member in 1948 and became a full-fledged member in 1950. It was at Cambridge that he and Iyengar were married in 1950. The couple had no children.

"In his illustrious career spanning over 55 years in the left movement, Mohit Sen had been associated with the undivided Communist Party and later with the Communist Party of India. Unfortunately, owing to differences of opinion, he left the CPI along with S A Dange to form the United Communist Party of India in the 1980s. He was the first general secretary of the UCPI and he kept the party flag aloft and tried his best to bring left and secular forces together," CPI state secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told

In the last two decades, Sen worked intensively in different parts of the country, especially in Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

As an intellectual, thinker and ideologue, Sen had been advocating a united fight against communalism. He wanted the left parties to be ready for sacrifices to forge an alliance with the Congress.

"Mohit Sen's death causes a big void for the communist movement in the country. He has trained generations of left activists and leaders in communist ideology and politics. He was very healthy and only a couple of days back had attended a meeting of left leaders," Reddy recalled.

Apart from the CPI's journals, Sen wrote for Mainstream, Link, Patriot, Economic and Political Weekly, National Herald, etc. He had been a columnist with The Telegraph, The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindustan Times, Deccan Chronicle, Makkal Kural, Tughlaq, Siasat and Vaarta.

Earlier this year, Rupa & Company published Sen's autobiography titled The Traveller and the Road: The Journey of an Indian Communist. In his 524-page memoir, he gave an account of a 'fortunate life though not always a happy one'.

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