(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 08, 2010
PROFESSOR SURAJ BHAN
MORE than a thousand of late Professor Suraj Bhan’s colleagues, students, admirers and co-workers of an eventful life-time gathered at a condolence meeting in the park in front of his modest 80 sq yard house in Rohtak on July 25, 2010 morning to pay their emotion-charged tributes to the departed scholar-activist.
Prof Suraj Bhan, former professor of Ancient History and Archaeology at Kurukshetra University, had passed away at his Rohtak residence on July 14, 2010 evening after a brief illness.
Man Mohan, president,
Vigyan Samiti, moved the main condolence resolution. After doing
post-graduation from MS University,
BGVS Haryana secretary, Pramod Gouri, who was conducting the proceedings of the meeting, then read out a letter of condolence written to the bereaved family by Ch Bhupender Singh Hooda, chief minister of Haryana. Hooda wrote that “such personalities are rare in today’s world.”
Another condolence letter, written by the director general, ICHR, recalled that Prof Suraj Bhan had “fought valiantly against attempts to rewrite Indian history along communal lines. He was a crusader in social reform movement in Haryana.”
Prof U B Singh, Dr Suraj
colleague and friend for 53 years right from his ASI days in the late
who had come from
Prof K L Tuteja, former
Modern History at
Surender Malik, general secretary, Haryana CITU, said that age did not come in the way of the work emanating from his social commitment. Rather, he made the most of the respect that age enjoys in our society to propagate his views. The CITU leader recalled how Prof Suraj Bhan had taken initiative to get Rohtak markets closed as a mark of respect to anonymous labourers who had been killed in an accidental blast in a cracker factory.
Jagmati Sangwan, director,
Studies Centre, M D University, Rohtak, and JMS leader, said that Prof
Bhan’s simplicity and humility was a rare example of what the life of a
Dr Sukhbir Singh Malik,
Poet, social activist and teacher, Shubha said that Prof Suraj Bhan had the heart of a poet and no social change is possible without a poetic sensibility. She felt that he was absolutely and totally committed to the values of social renaissance. His intellectual generosity enabled him to engage even a totally-opposed person into a dialogue.
BS Malik, IAS, commissioner, Hissar division, felt that Prof Suraj Bhan’s objective and rational thinking was badly needed in Haryana today. It particularly needed to be inculcated among the youth who are being misled by fundamentalist forces, thus obstructing social advance of the state.
Prof DR Chaudhary, former chairperson, HPSC, said that Prof Suraj Bhan was a relentless fighter for the creation of an inclusive society.
Inderjit Singh, secretary, CPI(M), Haryana, said Dr Suraj Bhan had the enviable ability to open multi-dimensional channels of communication with all age groups. He used to say that a world view and capacity to intervene even in local issues with that world view were greatly needed to change society.
Prof Amar Singh, department of History, M D University, revealed that it was because of Dr Suraj Bhan’s intervention that the History department had changed its policy of not giving admission to girls to MA Archaeology because of logistic problems. After doors were opened to them, girls had been regularly doing better than boys.
The state president of All India Layers’ Union R S Hooda said Suraj Bhan felt that commitment to scientific thinking alone could pave way to a cleaner politics in Haryana. Caste was the greatest obstacle in the advance of all healthy thinking in Haryana as it offered an easy route to success in politics which had become more of a business than social service. Hooda urged the educated middle classes to take the path laid down by Prof Suraj Bhan to cleanse the Haryanvi society of obscurantist thinking.
Prof Zahoor Siddiqui, former president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association, said that Dr Suraj Bhan, like the sun, was a source of inspiration to those who came in contact with him. It was a privilege just to sit with him and listen to him.
Preeti, Dr Suraj Bhan’s young grand-daughter, said that he was more of a friend than a grand-parent. He taught that to be truly free, one must have the courage to say “no” if one did not agree with some one howsoever powerful or respected.
Prof Suraj Bhan’s close relative, Sher Singh Sangwan, a retired NABARD officer, said that it was because of the influence of Doctor Saheb’s teachings that all his three children made inter-caste, inter-state marriages.
Prof Baldev Singh, a life-long friend, said Suraj Bhan had an unflinching commitment to social betterment but he was not a dogmatist.
Among others who paid their respects were Phool Singh Sheokand, president, AIKS Haryana, Satya Pal Siwach, SKS leader, Prem Singh Dahiya, president Senior Citizens’ Council of Haryana, principal (retd) B S Rathee, Vaidya Raj Singh Gill, Dr Brahma Dutt and captain Satish Dhanda, son-in-law.
A large number of letters
condolence were received from associations, organisations and
including a very moving one from Dr Subba Rao, a people’s science
activist now settled in
The meeting passed a unanimous resolution urging the Haryana chief minister to provide a suitable plot of land and resources to create a research institute and library as a befitting memorial to Prof Suraj Bhan whom the chief minister himself had described as a “rare” personality.