When Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan joined the Communist Party of India, it was still a banned outfit and the country had another seven years of British Rule ahead of it. Born in what is now Bangladesh and a member of the CPI since he was 15, Bardhan grew to become one of the country's most influential trade union leaders and politicians, spending 16 years as the general secretary of the CPI. Bardhan died in New Delhi on Satuday. He was 92.Bardhan, who had a postgraduate degree in economics as well as a law degree, was a stalwart of the trade union movement. He was the general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, and spent much of his time toiling for the workers of the India's homegrown industries. In his later years he would become even more influential, working with other parties to prop up the United Front governments between 1996 and 1998 and later bringing the Congress together with the Left after the 2004 general election.

The video above, from Anand Patwardhan's Ram ke Naam, is a reminder of the approach Left leaders like Bardhan used in the turbulent years of the campaign for the Ram temple in Ayodha. Bardhan's speech in Patna lays out a genuine opposition to Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani's Rath Yatra around the country demanding a temple.

"If India is a secular state today, it is because of the 85% Hindus who live in this country. But neither Mahatma Gandhi, nor Jawaharlal Nehru nor the hundreds of martyrs who climbed the gallows for independence, not one of them gave their lives for a Hindu nation, don't forget that," Bardhan said.