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Gandhian and former Union Minister Ravindra Varma dead

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Oct 10 (UNI) Former Union Minister G Ravindra Varma, one of the last links in the chain of Gandhians, died here last night at the age of 81.

He is survived by his two sons - Gautam Varma and Harsh Varma.

Mr Varma was the Minister for Labour and Parliamentary Affairs in the Morarji Desai Ministry. He had been the Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation since the death of its founder-chairman Dr Divakar in 1989. He was the founder-chairman of the Gandhi Vichar Parishad at Wardha.

He was the Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapeeth till his death. He once headed the National Labour Commission.

A member of the royal family in Mvelikkara in southern Kerala, he belongs to a rich lineage which included his grandfather A R Rajaraja Varma, whose treatise in Malayalam grammar earned him the honour of being described as "Kerala Panini." Mr Varma plunged into the vortex of freedom struggle while studying in Tambaram Christian College in Chennai. He was the founder President of the Indian Student Congress (1944) and the World Youth Assembly (1958-62).

Mr Varma was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Thiruvalla in Kerala in 1962 on Congress ticket. His second stint in Lok Sabha was in 1977 when he was elected from Ranchi in Bihar on Janata Party ticket. He was subsequently inducted into the Union Cabinet.

In the 1980 general elections, he won from Mumbai North as a Janata Party candidate.

After the 1969 split in the Congress, he, along with Mr Desai, Nijalingappa and K Kamaraj, had floated organisational Congress. He had undergone one year imprisonment during the emergency.

Mr Varma retired from active politics in 1985 and was concentrating on activities connected with Gandhi Peace Foundation and Gujarat Vidyapeeth.

The cremation will take place at 1100 hrs on Thursday at the Lodhi road crematorium. His mortal remains will be kept for public homage at the Gandhi Peace Foundation building in Deendayal Upadyay Marg and at International Youth Centre at Chanakyapuri.

The funeral was postponed till Thursday to enable his sister, who is in the United States, to attend it, family sources said.


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