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Thousands Mourn India's Veteran  Patriarch


In India, thousands of people turned out in Kolkata Tuesday to honor Jyoti Basu, the revered communist patriarch in West Bengal (state) who died this week.

Mourners sang, chanted and threw flowers at an ornate platform that carried the 95-year-old political leader's body through Kolkata to a state funeral with a military gun salute.

Basu led the Communist Party of India to power in West Bengal in 1977, and he served as chief minister for 23 years -- the longest continuous tenure in India's political history.

In recent years, he assumed the role of an elder statesman, whose advice and opinion were sought and respected across the political spectrum.

Paramashish Roy, VOA Correspondents from Kolkata has details about his funeral. He also gives names of the political leaders who attended the funeral.Amongst the foreign dignitaries who paid tributes to the late leader was Sheikh Hasina , the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Goutam Gupta, VOA Correspondent from Kolkata, reports on the donation of Jyoti Basu’s eyes and body. In April of 2003, Basu signed papers asking for his eyes and body to be donated for medical advancement. Several other CPM leaders have taken the same path. Medical authorities believe that Jyoti Basu’s donation will help them with brain research. They can conduct experiments on his brains to see how his mind used to be so sharp at the age of 96. This can also help with research on Alzheimer’s Disease.

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