Herman Rosenfeld


I first met Daya over 40 years ago, in Montreal. He came much heralded, to the Afro-Asian, Latin-American Peoples’ Solidarity Committee, where I did most of my political learning and activist work at the time.


From that moment on, he has remained a mentor, teacher, reference point and, as time went on – a friend. He was a model of how to think dialectically, and – at the same time – move from a kind dogmatic certainty, to ways of thinking that grew, changed and took into consideration the way people thought, lived and felt.


All the while we were in the WCP and its precursor organizations, he respected our desires to become revolutionary activists, but kept a solidaristic support, along with a healthy skepticism, about our dogma and dogmatic ways of doing things.


Even after I moved to Toronto and got immersed in another life – in the trade union movement, post-Maoist socialist political projects and my family life – I kept in touch with Daya, but not enough, and not regularly. The few times we actually got to talk – often through Steve or William Dere – were always important to me.


Over the years, we debated the direction of China, and I learned from him about the critical importance of fighting intersectional violence and religious intolerance, and the necessity of combining a form of development that helped ordinary working people, with democracy and collective rights.


I lost personal contact after he moved to St. John’s, but I continued to closely read his articles in his on-line journal, and we corresponded over issues as they came up. We spoke after the passing of Hari Sharma and Said Shah, and I now mourn his passing.


Shree, Rahul, his other family, and the larger family of loving and supporting activists in the South Asian, Canadian and larger world community – I wish you my condolences, as I, too, share your and our collective loss of Daya Varma. The sound of his voice and his counsel will always remain with me, as a touchstone.

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