Obituary: Sankardas Banerji

SANKARDAS BANERJI was an institution by himself, writes Siddhartha Shankar Ray. A brilliant cross-examiner and a powerful advocate he was a favourite with many a British judge at the Calcutta High Court. I have seen courtrooms fill up fast when word went round that Mr Banerji was 'in action'.

In keeping with the tradition of the Calcutta Bar, after becoming a 'leader' he was soon in the 'house' and proved an exceedingly able debater. He was Finance Minister of Bengal and left a particular mark of distinction on the office of Speaker.

He was good in civil as well as criminal work. His most useful contribution however was his work in the villages. He was at his rural home in Paglachandi every weekend and for every holiday and was for years until recently the President of his Local Rural Council. Rural Bengal was his first love and it is here that he will be particularly remembered.