Remembering Ashok Mitra
Many in Pakistan would want to attend the memorial meetings taking place in India for the Ashok Mitra, Marxist economist and former head of the Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy, who passed away on May Day this year. However, it is next to impossible to obtain an Indian visa these days to share our grief.
I would like to extend my heartfelt sorrow and grief at the demise of Ashok Mitra ji. It is indeed a great loss to the family and friends. He was a great scholar and intellectual who devoted his pen to take up the cause of disadvantaged sections of society, a great writer with his own style of writing. He was a friend of the downtrodden across the region and had been to Pakistan as a head of delegation of.
When I met him Lahore, I asked him what he would like to see. He said if I could take him to Forman Christian College (FCC) and Government College (GC), that would be his pilgrimage. We had long discussions from which I learnt a lot. His interview also features in my book Harbingers of Peace (Architypes, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, December 2008).
Ashok Mitra was a great peacenik whose writings I often read in EPW. The people of Pakistan and India have not lost a great friend but also a peace lover who wanted a visa free regime. I hope his friends will take up his mission and struggle for its fulfilment, and that the time will come when I am able to personally go and condole with his family and friends.
The writer is a journalist, peace activist and Pakistani friend of Ashok Mitra. Email: [email protected]