|Geetesh Sharma. (Photo: VOV)
Geetesh Sharma, who was born in 1932 and passed away in early May, was President of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee in West Bengal. He was an active contributor to people-to-people diplomacy between India and Vietnam.
He began to be known in the early 1970s for supporting Vietnam’s resistance war for reunification. Between 1970 and 1975, Sharma joined Indian students, farmers, and intellectuals who took to the street in West Bengal to demonstrate their solidarity with the Vietnamese people.
Sharma was a member of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee since its very first days in 1974. In 1994, he was elected Committee President, a position he held until his death. Sharma worked tirelessly for five decades to promote the bilateral relationship, travelling all across India and to 30 other countries. Everywhere he went, he spoke highly of the Vietnamese people, the rightness of their fight for independence, and their courageous spirit, creativity, tolerance, and benevolence.
Associate Professor Doctor Le Van Toan, Director of the India Research Center, remembers Sharma as a tenderhearted friend of Vietnam.
“89-year-old Sharma has visited 30 countries all over the world, but he has spent more time in Vietnam than in any other country. Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh are eternal in his heart. He travelled across Vietnam from north to south to record its development, its traces of war, and the vestiges of Indian culture there,” said Toan.
Sharma both witnesses and contributed to the Vietnam-India relationship. Ha Minh Hue, Vice President of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, spent years working with Sharma.
“Sharma is a popular author and journalist in India. Many of the 23 books he wrote are about Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh. His profound knowledge of Vietnam help the two peoples grow closer to each other. His great legacy is a collection of books in English, Bengali, and Hindi, that embody his intimate affection for Vietnam,” said Hue.
|Geetesh Sharma is presented a medal by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Associations in honor of his contributions to bilateral ties. (Photo: nhandan.com.vn)
In 2004, Sharma was awarded a medal and an insignia of peace and friendship as a recognition of his efforts to foster the friendship and cooperation between India and Vietnam.
Sharma once said, “I often tell myself that I owe Vietnam a debt that I can’t pay back fully during my life so I will do as much as I can for Vietnam.”
Geetesh Sharma is gone, but he will forever be missed.