Anti-racist activist Reverend Aloke Biswas passed away

Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor,Shottobani

London: Veteran anti-racist activist Rev Aloke Biswas passed away on 2 October in Kolkata, West Bengal, at his residence. He had been suffering from multiple ailments and was in his 70s when he died.

Aloke Biswas was one of the most prominent anti-racist activists of the resistance movement in the 1970s in East London. He will be remembered as a key figure in East London’s Bengali community for his tireless work towards empowering the community. He inspired the Bengali community to fight back against the racists and establish themselves as a mainstream force. Politically Aloke Biswas belonged to the International Socialist (IS), now known as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). He stood as a Council candidate on 4th May 1978, nominated by the IS. Professionally he was a social worker and worked for the Hackney Council. He was also involved with the Hackney Asian Association and Hackney & Tower Hamlets Defence Committee.

Aloke Biswas was a good orator and could deliver fiery speeches to inspire people to unite and fight against racial violence in East London. He was instrumental in organising the first Black Workers Strike in East London to highlight intolerable racist attacks the Bengali community was subjected to.

He dedicated his life selflessly to improve the conditions of the disadvantaged groups in society. During the 1980s, Aloke Biswas went to West Bengal in India and got involved in social welfare work with a church for a disadvantaged group. The church was so impressed with his work for the wellbeing of people that they gave him the title of ‘Reverend’ to appreciate his dedication which made a difference to the conditions of the people he worked for.

On behalf of the Altab Ali Foundation, his former colleagues Jamal, Hasan, Akikur Rahman, Rajonuddin Jalal, Nooruddin Ahmed, Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Raju Nathan, Sunahwar Ali, Jamil Iqbal, amongst others, expressed their sincere condolences. They added, ‘Aloke Biswas’s legacy will stand as an example to all of us in our pursuit of progress. He was a good friend and brother to many of us and our colleague in our fight against racism.’

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