ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sharit Bhowmik, 1948-2016

Farewell to a Trusty Crusader

A fellow academic and comrade of 33 years writes about the labour studies scholar, much loved teacher, indefatigable trade unionist and writer who combined street studies with grass-roots work and organising.

Sharit Bhowmik, “Shyamal” to his family and “Sharit” to his friends, passed away on 8 September at 10 pm in Bangkok. A little over a month, and he would have completed 68 years. He had gone there for a workshop on street vendors, fell ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia. He developed complications and battled for life for 13 days until he breathed his last.

It has been distressing that I could not bid him a final farewell. His passing away has been a big loss to me both personally and professionally. Bhowmik and I have known each other for about 33 years. We met after eight years of futile attempts to do so. The eagerness to meet arose from the fact that we were both working on common research areas for our doctoral dissertations, around the same time period and our field sites also happened to be in the same district. Given the enormity of my loss, it is not easy for me to write on him but when the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) approached me, I could not decline. After all, he is part of much that I am today, and this is one of the ways of paying my tribute to a dear friend and co-traveller in life, although words fail me as I write about him and his enormous contribution to academics, as well as to the innumerable lives that he made a difference to, through his work and writings.

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