CPI(ML)’s Homage to Comrade D Prempati

CPI(ML) deeply condoles the passing of Comrade D Prempati, a relentless campaigner for democracy, secularism, social justice and human dignity who stood consistently by a whole array of revolutionary struggles of the Indian people. He was a Marxist who was closely acquainted with the writings and thoughts of Ambedkar, Periyar and Phule and drew on his insightful studies and observations to vigorously challenge Brahminical propaganda and resist feudal-communal onslaughts.

We in CPI(ML) cherish fond memories of Comrade Prempati’s consistent contribution to the party’s multifarious activities and initiatives in the 1980s, especially in the launching of Indian People’s Front and a Marxist theoretical periodical called Marxism Today, of which he was the editor. He was one of the Convenors of the Nagbhushan Patnaik Release Committee in the early 1980s, and he enjoyed a close and warm relationship with Comrade Nagbhushan after the latter’s release from jail.

Comrades visiting his house at any hour of the day in connection with any work always received the warm hospitality of Comrade Prempati and his family. For generations of his students in Delhi College of Art he was an affectionate teacher of English literature, and for activist circles in Delhi and elsewhere he was a comrade they could look to for guidance and cooperation.

Whether it was the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination when Delhi witnessed a horrific pogrom against the Sikh community, the days of casteist frenzy against the adoption of the Mandal Commission report, the barbaric demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that preceded and followed in its wake or the state-sponsored genocide in Gujarat in 2002, Comrade Prempati could be seen and heard in every protest meeting as a courageous and tireless campaigner for sanity, social justice and human rights.

We have lost Comrade Prempati at a crucial juncture in India’s political and social life. As we rally today in defence of our hard-won democratic rights, social dignity and pluralistic legacy, he will be sorely missed, but his writings and memories will continue to inspire activists in a whole range of circles to better understand the country and fight harder for our cherished goals of social transformation and human dignity. On behalf of the CPI(ML) Central Committee, I pay my heart-felt homage to Comrade Prempati. His legacy of study, analysis and activism will live on and inspire us in all our struggles for a better tomorrow.

Dipankar Bhattacharya
General Secretary, CPI(ML)