Amitabh Bachchan mourned the passing today of communist leader Jyoti Basu, who has died at the age of 95. He had visited Jyoti the day before in hospital. “Deeply grieved and send our prayers and condolences,” Amitabh blogged, “A huge pillar in the Indian political firmament has fallen. The nation is in grief.”
Jyoti had been Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977-2000. Educated in Law at the London School of Economics in the 1930s, he had studied under the hugely popular left-wing political theorist and economist Harold Laski, who was instrumental in the intellectual development of the Labour Party. Returning to India, Jyoti was elected to the Bengal Provincial Assembly in 1946 and remained active in Bengali politics from that day forward.
Amitabh took the trouble to visit Jyoti, an inspiration to him, whilst in Kolkata to promote his film Rann about media corruption, which also stars Neetu Chandra. “We have taken media in Rann just as a medium to show how in every profession both good and bad exists and how we have to balance business with social responsibility,” he said warming to his theme.