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Basu's Body Donation Unlike Other Communist Leaders

PTI 18 Jan 2010, 17:53:42 IST

As the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata prepares to receive the mortal remains of Jyoti Basu on Tuesday for medical research, not many leaders, even in hardcore communist countries, have taken the step which the Marxist patriarch has wished after his death.

According to history records, the body of Karl Marx, the founder of the Marxist movement, was buried while Vladimir Lenin's body is kept at the Lenin Mausoleum for posterity by embalming it but has not been donated for research.

Joseph Stalin's body was kept next to Lenin's for a while and was later buried near other minor leaders of Revolution near the Lenin Mausoleum.

China's Deng Xiaoping's organs were donated, remains cremated and ashes scattered over the seas. Another Chinese Communist leader, Chou en Lai's body too was cremated and ashes scattered by air over hills according to his wishes.

Communist leaders in India like E M S Namboodriripad and Harkishan Surjeet Singh too were cremated.

And in Surjeet's case, a CPI-M leader recalled that it was, indeed, fitting that ashes of his mortal remains were submerged in the Sutlej river at the same place where the British fearing a public upsurge clandestinely tried to dispose off the bodies of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev after they were hanged.

Basu had made a pledge a few years back that his body should be donated for research. He had said that as a true communist he would serve humanity till his last breath and continue to serve even after his death.

As per Basu's wishes, his mortal remains will be handed over to the SSKM's anatomy department for medical research by students.

CPI(M) leader and former Land minister Benoy Krishna Chowdhury and ex-state CPI(M) secretary Anil Biswas had also donated their bodies after death. PTI