New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Monday mourned the passing away of its sitting member Dr Mahendra Prasad, and former members Joyanta Roy, Debendra Nath Barman, M. Moses, Ganeshwar Kusum, and Kathak maestro, Pandit Birju Maharaj.
Soon after the House assembled at 2.30 p.m. for laying of the Economic Survey 2021-22, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkiah Naidu informed members about the passing away of Prasad on December 27, 2021 at the age of 81 years.
An economist, industrialist and a social worker, Prasad had a humble beginning, starting his career as a school teacher. Motivated by a desire to succeed, his grit, determination and hard work led him to become a successful businessman and he went on to establish two pharmaceutical companies.
“He also set up a college at Okari in Jehanabad, a rural and backward area of Bihar, to promote higher education among the poor, underprivileged and girls,” Naidu said, adding that he was accorded a ‘Certificate of National Record’ by the publishers of Limca Book of Records for being the most travelled Parliamentarian having visited 209 countries (191 UN Member countries and 18 other territories).
Prasad started his legislative career as a member of the seventh Lok Sabha in 1980, and served in the Rajya Sabha for seven terms, six terms representing Bihar, from 1985 to 1992, and from 2000 till his demise, and one term as a nominated member, from 1993 to 1994. Prasad also served as a member on the panel of Vice Chairman of the upper house.
Apart from him, Naidu also informed the House about the demise of the other former Members including Roy who passed away on May 1, 2021, at the age of 77. He was a member of the house, representing West Bengal, from August 1994 to April 2000.
He also informed the passing away of Barman who served the upper house from July 1981 to July 1987 representing West Bengal, Moses, from April 1978-April 1984, representing Tamil Nadu and Kusum (April 1984-April 1990) representing Odisha.
“In the passing away of these former Members, the country has lost a champion of the rights of the depressed classes, a dedicated social worker, and an able parliamentarian,” he said.
The house also mourned the passing of Pandit Birju Maharaj who passed away on January 17, at the age of 83.