People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 23

June 05, 2011

 Writers Pay Homage to Prof Chandrabali Singh


WRITERS and artists of Delhi and the surrounding areas gathered in the Sahitya Academy auditorium in a large numbers on May 30 to pay homage to Professor Chandrabali Singh, who died on May 23.


The condolence meeting was organised by the Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS), of which the departed Professor Singh was the founder general secretary and later its president.


In the crowded auditorium, Murli Manohar Prasad Singh, general secretary of the JLS, and then Girish Chandra Mishra recalled their association with late Professor Chandrabali Singh while Dr Vishwanath Tripathi underlined the latter’s contribution to the writers’ movement in the country. Renowned Hindi writer Rajendra Yadav recalled the days when Professor Chandrabali Singh and late Dr Ram Vilas Sharma were lecturers of English at Balwant Rajput College in Agra.


Ms Ramanika Gupta, a noted writer, and NCP general secretary D P Tripathi also paid homage to Professor Singh. Ashoka Chakradhar paid him tributes on behalf of the Hindi Academy of Delhi and Central Hindi Institute. Others to speak on the occasion were Bhagwan Singh and Shivmangal Siddhantkar, while JLS treasurer Javari Mall Parekh recalled his association with Professor Chandrabali Singh since the formation of the JLS in early 1982.


In his address on the occasion, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat appreciated Professor Singh’s unshakable ideological commitment and his work as an active Marxist. He also recalled his association with the departed JLS functionary for the last three decades.


Pranay Krishna, general secretary of Jan Sanskriti Manch, (JSM) stressed the inspiration provided by Professor Singh to the JLS, PWA and JSM for united actions. He said a united front of these organisations would be the real tribute to the departed leader.


Dr Vishwanath Prasad Tewari, newly elected vice president of the Sahitya Academy, paid Professor Singh homage on behalf of his organisation.


Apart from Suneet Chopra of All India Agricultural Workers Union, Sudhanwa Deshpande of Jan Natya Manch and dalit authoress Sushila Takaure also paid homage to Professor Singh.   


Arun Maheshwari, managing director of Vani Prakashan, sent his message of condolence, through his daughter Aditi, from a hospital where he was admitted. Professor Vibha Maurya, head of the Department of Germanic & Romance Studies in University of Delhi, said she had recently come across the Hindi translation of some Latin American poems and wanted to have a talk in this connection with Professor Chandrabali Singh, the translator, but he unfortunately departed before any such meeting could take place.


JLS action president Zubair Razvi paid the departed leader homage on behalf of his organisation while Professor Namwar Singh recalled his days with Professor Chandrabali Singh in Benaras. 


JLS general secretary Chanchal Chauhan read the condolence message on behalf of all the writers present in the meeting, followed by two minutes of silence in memory of the departed leader.


It will be noted that Chandrabali Singh, who was born in Ranipur village of Ghazipur district on April 20, 1924, received his initial education in Benaras and then did his BA and MA from Allahabad University. He taught English literature first at Balwant Rajput College in Agra and then in Uday Pratap College of Benaras. From here he retired in 1984 and began to devote his time to writing and organisational work.


When the Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS) was formed in 1982, Bhairav Prasad Gupta was elected its president and Chandrabali Singh its general secretary. He latter became its president.


Apart from penning two books of literary criticism, Chandrabali Singh wrote a weekly column on literature in Aaj, a Hindi daily from Benaras. While he contributed numerous articles to various magazines, he also earned renown as a translator. His translations of poems by Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmat, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were much appreciated. Unfortunately, thousands of pages of his translations, covering poems by Brecht, Mayakovsky and other poets still remain unpublished.


All the entries on English literature in the encyclopaedia published by Nagari Pracharini Sabha were written by Professor Chandrabali Singh.


He joined the Communist Party at a very early age and sided with the CPI(M) after the split in the party. His ideological steadfastness and commitment to the cause of the exploited masses have made his demise a big loss to the democratic cultural movement.