PUCL Bulletin, 2003
Prem Bhasin passes away
-- By Y.P. Chhibbar and Surendra Mohan


Prem Bhasin, one of the first members of the PUCL and a member of its National Council from Aligarh, UP, who fought against slavery, injustice and exploitation all his life died on 25th January, in a hospital in Noida, U.P. He had been ailing for ten days and was suspected of having struck by bronchial pneumonia. He was over 85 years of age, and is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Bhasin joined the freedom struggle actively in 1939, after he secured Master's Degree in Political Science when he started to work as a full-timer of the Congress Socialist Party. He came from a family of freedom fighters and took to revolutionary work, under the direction of the Party. He was arrested in 1941 and was released in 1946. During the jail term, he and other socialists went on a hunger strike in sympathy with the hunger strikers detained in the Deoli camp jail in Rajasthan under the leadership of Shri Jaya Prakash Narayan. After the demands of the detainees in Deoli were conceded and the camp jail was dismantled, the detenues in Gujarat also ended their fast.

After release from jail, Bhasin continued to work as party organiser in the Punjab and was elected to its National Executive Committee in the Kanpur National Conference. In the Nasik Conference of the Socialist Party, he was appointed as one of the Joint Secretaries, a post he held till 1953 and later from 1954 to 1963, when he was elected as General Secretary. In 1952, the Party took the name of Praja Socialist Party as a result of unification with the KMPP and the Forward Bloc. He gave up that office in 1971 after the unification of the PSP with the SSP. Thereafter, he was Chairman of the Parliamentary Board of the Party for a couple of years. He suffered incarceration on several occasions during 1947-1970. Although he remained as a centre of contacts for workers during the internal Emergency imposed in 1975, he was not put behind bars. In the 1977 parliamentary general election, he campaigned for Janata Party candidates in Assam and Orissa. He was offered Ambassadorship and Governorship in 1977, but refused to accept the offer. He also turned down similar offers in 1990.
Shri Bhasin was an ardent defender of civil liberties. He always supported the PUCL. As editor of the Janata, English weekly for several years, he raised his powerful voice against the suppression of the democratic rights of the people. Owing to several factors related to personal domestic problems, he had left active political work in 1980. Four books penned by him have been published. They are 'Socialism in India', 'Politics: National and International', 'Riding the Waves' and 'Profiles in Courage'.



Home | Index