Comrade Vijender Sharma
COMRADE Vijender Sharma, secretariat member of the CPI(M) Delhi state committee and veteran leader of the university and college teachers’ movement passed away on August 9, 2014 after bravely battling cancer for over eight months. He was 63. His demise is an irreparable loss to both the Party and the university and college teachers’ movement. In the morning of August 10, his body draped in red flag was brought to the Delhi Party office where hundreds of Party comrades, mass front leaders and workers and his associates from teaching fraternity paid their last tributes. Later the body was taken for cremation at Lodhi Road Electric Crematorium. CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau members S Ramachandran Pillai, Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, A K Padmanabhan, M A Baby and K Varadarajan, state secretaries of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were among those who paid their last tributes to Comrade Vijender. Earlier the Central Committee had observed two minutes silence in memory of the departed leader on August 10. Comrade Vijender began his political activity as a student in Delhi University and became a member of the Students’ Federation of India in the early 1970s. He was also associated with the Research Scholars Association in Delhi University. He joined the CPI(M) in 1974 and was a member of the Delhi state committee of the Party since December 2001 and that of the Party state secretariat from November 2004 up till his death. Comrade Vijender did his BSc and MSc from Delhi University and became a lecturer in ARSD College in 1976. He was awarded a PhD by University of Delhi in 1977. He later pursued law and completed his LLB degree in 1985 from the University of Delhi. Comrade Vijender’s name is synonymous with the teachers’ movement in Delhi University. He was one of the convenors of the Temporary Teachers’ Forum and led a difficult struggle in 1978-79 that resulted in almost 700 temporary teachers being regularised. He was elected member of the executive committee of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association from 1987 to 1989; member of the academic council from 1989 to 1994; president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association from 1995 to 1997 and member of the Delhi University executive council from 2000 to 2004. In all these capacities, he made a seminal contribution towards advancing the rights of university and college teachers. Comrade Vijender Sharma was an excellent trade-unionist. He was a fearless militant but he did not thrive on slogans alone. Rather his forte lay in the concrete study of different issues and challenges facing the education system as a whole in the backdrop of the impact of neo-liberal policies. His incisive analysis of such challenges was of great use not only to the teachers’ movement in Delhi University but outside it as well. He was in regular touch with the leadership of AIFUCTO and teachers’ associations of different universities and provided them with significant inputs and help without any hesitation. He was a committed Marxist-Leninist. This helped him seek truth through concrete study of facts. It also gave him the courage to fight all that is wrong and oppressive not just in education but in life, in general. He was associated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions all-India centre in the late 1970s and early 1980s and helped in the publication of the CITU’s journal the Working Class. This experience helped steel his resolve and partisanship. Comrade Vijender’s wife died tragically in 1998. He had to discharge the daunting task of bringing up two young daughters, almost single-handedly while fulfilling his duties towards his profession, teachers’ movement and Party at the same time. That he could do so diligently is amazing in itself. In recent years, Comrade Vijender was taking up more and more Party responsibilities outside the University. These included tasks related to Party education and overseeing the functioning of different Party committees and mass organisations. Comrade Vijender’s was a life full of struggle and courage in adversity. He was an extraordinary leader of the university and college teachers’ movement and the Party and a good human being. He will be remembered and sorely missed by all those who had the good fortune of knowing and working with him. Long live Comrade Vijender Sharma!