Chin Banerjee


I first met Daya during the first convention of Indian People’e Association in North America (IPANA)  in Vancouver in 1976. But I knew of him as one of the founders and leading spirits of the organization that was established in Montreal shortly before Indira Gandhi declared Emergency in 1975, which I joined on my return from India at the end of that year. IPANA offered me a home in diaspora when the homeland I had left had been violated by a dictatorial regime. Daya’s wise and authoritative leadership in IPANA offered me the hope of reclaiming the homeland that felt I had lost.


Daya’s quiet presence and measured articulation of arguments inspired confidence. His production of the New India Bulletin, that became the voice of IPANA, educated us in Vancouver who had gathered under the banner of IPANA, as it no doubt did across North America, and enabled us to reach out to the Indian community in British Columbia. New India Bulletin became the nucleus around which IPANA produced an English paper from New York (India Now) and a Punjabi paper form Vancouver (Wangar). Daya’s work was at the core of all the work we did.


I met Daya several times in the conventions of IPANA, and later in connection with its successor organizations, and always his was a voice that carried conviction. His wisdom was something one could trust. And even when I found myself disagreeing with his view of things I respected the difference. One could disagree with Daya.


Though we had not been in contact for some years Daya graciously reached out to the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) in Vancouver, a successor of IPANA and Non-Resident Indians for Secularism and Democracy (NRISAD), and agreed to sit on the board.   Many people in Vancouver have fond memories of him and enormous respect for his life-long work on social justice. His tireless work for a just world, including his contribution to INSAF Bulletin even to the last weeks of his life, will remain as an inspiration to all who walk on the same path.


Daya was a kind, warm, and wise person, who was always ready with his help. But even when he was not personally present he remained present in the lives of those who had known him as a trust and an inspiration. Even when he is gone this will remain. Daya will always be with us.

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