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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 1 New Delhi December 26, 2015

Bani Deshpande Is No More

Saturday 26 December 2015

Veteran Communist leader Vidyadhar Laxman Deshpande alias Bani Deshpande, 88, passed away in Mumbai after a brief illness on December 4, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Roza Deshpande, a former MP from Mumbai, a son and a daughter.

Suffering from lung infection, he was being treated for some days at the Dhanwantari Hospital in Dadar.

While studying at Nagpur he joined the All India Students Federation and then the Communist Party of India.

In his book, Universe of Vedanta, Bani discussed the evolution of Vedic thinking through different schools and explained the laws of dialectics as evolved by the Vedanta Philosophy. This book created a lot of controversy in the CPI and the party leadership described it as reactionary. The party leadership also denounced the then party Chairman, S.A. Dange, Bani’s father-in-law, for having written the introduction to the book. However, the book was translated in Russian and happened to be part of study in the curriculum of the Party School in Moscow.

Bani also wrote an introduction to the seventh edition of Dange’s well-known treatise, India: From Primitive Communism to Slavery (one of the first books with distinct Marxist-Leninist understanding in this country), and sought to refute the charges on the book’s contents by the celebrated D.D. Kosambi.

His paper on the ‘Theoretical Foundation of 20th Century Physics in Ancient India’ was presented at the World Sanskrit Conference and published by the Government of India in the proceedings of the Conference.

Both Bani and Roza recently wrote S.A. Dange’s biography in Marathi, but it is yet to come out in print. His books include Marxvadi Darshan ki Vaidik Parampara in Hindi and Communist Movement and the Indian National Congress. He brought out and edited a weekly paper, National Democracy, for two years after the formation of the All India Communist Party (AICP).