Veteran Socialist leader Ram Iqbal Warsi dead, cremated with state honours

'Gandhi of Piro' Ram Iqbal Warsi passes away at Patna, cremated with state honours at Warsi village of Bhojpur district.
‘Gandhi of Piro’ Ram Iqbal Barsi
(1922 – 10 October 2016)
Photo courtesy of Gopal Rathi

Veteran socialist leader and freedom fighter Ram Iqbal Warsi (राम इकबाल वारसी) died on Monday October 10, 2016 after a prolonged illness. He was 94.

Warsi breathed his last at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science (IGIMS) in Patna at around 3.30 AM, his son Shiv jee Singh told PTI. Warsi was not keeping well for the past several days and had been admitted to IGIMS in Patna. News of his death made leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary, rush to the hospital.

The socialist leader, a native of Warsi village in Tarari block of Bihars Bhojpur district, was Sanghata Socialist Party (Samyukta Socialist Party) MLA from Piro from 1969-72.

The departed socialist leader had actively participated in the freedom movement and was also put behind bars by the British regime. Ram Iqbal Worsi was reverentially called the Gandhi of Shahabad and Gandhi of Ara for being a staunch Gandhian. He was given the epithet of Gandhi of Piro (Piro ke Gandhi) by socialist stalwart Ram Manohar Lohia in 1956.

Warsi’s body was cremated with full state honors at his native village at Varsi in Bhojpur district at 5:15 PM (on Monday evening), Live Patna reported. Earlier in the day, hundreds of people paid their deep respects to the departed leader. His son Shiv performed the last rites. Lalu Prasad Yadav, President of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was among other senior leaders who were present during the cremation. Former MP Shivananda Tiwari, Sandesh MLA Bhai Arun Yadav, Shahpur MLA Rahul Tiwari, RJD district president Hari Narayan Babu and many other leading politicians were also present during the last rites.
Born in 1922, Warsi sported the name of his village as his surname, left his job as a manual labourer in Rohtas Group of Industries in 1938, and jumped into the freedom movement. He was jailed during the Quit India Movement and came in contact with Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia. He joined Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in 1943 when Netaji visited Dehri, a town close to his native place.
In 1969, Warsi contested from Piro (now named Tarari) constituency on a Sanghata Socialist Party ticket and won.
Warsi, a true disciple of great socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia, had devoted his entire public life for promoting socialism and uplift of oppressed section of the society. Warsi was well known for his austere living and uncompromising principles and ideals. He led a simple life, did not accept pensions that he was entitled to as a freedom fighter and a legislator, and suffered from financial crunch during his later years.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, Eminent Socialist Thinker Sachidananda Sinha, the Samajwadi Janaparishad National President Joshy Jacob , the Samajwadi Janaparishad National Vice President Chandra Bhushan Choudhary and a host of other leaders from various political parties have expressed shock over the demise of socialist leader.

Condoling his death, chief minister Nitish Kumar recollected the title given to Warsi by Lohia and said his contribution to promotion of the socialist movement in Bihar would never be forgotten.
His death is an unprecedented loss in the field of politics, he added. "He strengthened various dimensions of socialism and politics in Bihar and always remained steadfast to his principles. His death has left a void in state politics," Nitish said.

The Samajwadi Janparishad National President Joshy Jacob in a statement said, "The death of Ram Iqbal Warsi is a great loss to the radical and socialist thought and action”

Ram Iqbal Barsi has a legendary personal history in the Socialist Movement, he said.
The following is from a statement made on Oct. 10 by Joshy Jacob on the Death of Ram Iqbal Barsi:-

“When two groups of Madhu Limaye and Raj Narain began to fight for the dominance in the socialist party in the seventies after the death Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia in 1967 Ram Iqbal ji like comrades did not want to become part of that meaningless polarisation. They tried their level best to re unite the two groups even after the split in the party. But the failed. Then Indumati Kelkar, Kishen Pattanayak, Ram Iqbal Barsi, Prof. Keshav Rao Jadhav like leaders formed Lohiya Vichar Manch in the year 1974 out of the two parties. Then Kishen Pattanayak initiated the formation of Samata Sanghatan in 1980 for a politics outside the established political parties and for people's movements at the bottom level. But Ram Iqbalji remained for a socialist party only and such old people formed the socialist party Lohia. Even his old age he used to travel by his bicycle.
Dr. Swaty, senior leader of Samajwadi Janparishad
with Ram Iqbal Barsi. This photo was taken at the
 time of Sasaram conference of Samajwadi Janparishad.
(Image credit: Aflatoon)

First time I met him in 1990 May at a rally organised by socialist Co ordination Committee at Delhi Boat club demanding implementation of Mandal commission Report and other farmers rights during the Vishwanath Pratap Singh government. It was mainly organised by Prof. Keshav Rao Jadhav. Then we all were together for five days in Delhi in March 1994 for the camp organised by the party formation committee on ideological questions. Late Kishen Pattanayak, Sachidananda Sinha, Prof Keshav Rao, late Jugal Kishore Raibir, late Sunilji etc were the leaders who actively involved in the debates.

Last I met Ram Iqbalji at Rohtas /Sasaram in Bihar where the national conference of Samajwadi Janparishad in October 2011. When he came there he was eagerly waiting for meeting me. As and when I was informed that he was waiting for me suddenly I met him to receive his fatherly love and affection. We have had some photographs together.”
Ram Iqbal Barsi's Final journey.
 Photo Courtesy of Bhojpur Darshan TV Channel

Warsi Location Map


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Ram Iqbal Barsi, Ram Ekbal Warsi, Ram Ekbal Varsi, Ram Ekbal Singh Warsi, Ram Ekbal Warsi, Ram Iqbal Worsi, राम इकबाल वरसी,राम इकबाल बरसी

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