Kolkata, March 6 (IANS): Freedom fighter and West Bengal's senior most Left leader Ashok Ghosh was laid to rest on Sunday with full state honours at the Netaji Subhas Ashram in Purulia district, as per his last wish, in a casket he had got made for his own last rites.
The 92-year-old bachelor, who was state secretary of the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) for 65 years at a stretch - a feat which many feel is unparalleled in the world - died here on Thursday in a private hospital following multi-organ failure.
"Ghosh was laid to rest at 3.30 pm at a spot in the ashram in Suisa that he had himself chosen. He had also got a carpenter to make the 7 by 3 feet wooden casket and kept it in the state party headquarters.
"Alongside the casket, there was also a letter where he expressed his earnest desire to be buried despite being a Hindu. A champion of secularism through his life, he has bridged Hindus and Muslims even in his death," said Forward Bloc leader Naren Chatterjee.
When the AIFB leaders unlocked the casket, they found some money which the letter said was to be used to meet the cost incurred for the last rites.
As the bugle played the last post, police personnel reversed arms and gave a gun salute to Ghosh, who took over as state AIFB secretary in 1951.
Besides hundreds of Forward Bloc supporters, state minister Moloy Ghatak and Left Front chairman Biman Bose were present.
Born on July 2, 1923 in Chinsurah of Hooghly district, Ghosh joined India's freedom movement early in the 1940s after being deeply inspired by Netaji's political philosophy and revolutionary ideals.
He participated in the Quit India movement of 1942 and was imprisoned for three years.
In 1948, GhoshAbecame national convenor of AIFB, founded by Bose, and took over as its West Bengal unit secretary in 1951 - retaining the post till his death.
He was also the party's all-India financial secretary.
In independent India, Ghosh participated in Goa freedom struggle, movement against proposed unification of Bihar and Bengal, and was one of the spearheads of the food movement of 1959. He played a leading part in the formation of the Untied Front which formed two governments in the state in 1967 and 1969.
One of the architects of the Left Front, he almost always had a big say in formulating the policies of the coalition which ruled Bengal from 1977 to 2011.