Celebrating the life of Navin Chandarpal

Navin Chandarpal

TO Cde Indra, the children and the rest of the family, we the close comrades and friends of Navin Chandarpal express our collective deep grief and sense of loss by celebrating the life of this extraordinary human being.

We wish to celebrate Navin, the revolutionary. Beginning with my association with him at Berbice High School where he was involved in the movement to replace the wearing of ties with shirt jacks, which later became his constant mode of attire and moving on to his revolutionary involvement in the PPP struggle for the return of democracy.
His theoretical and practical contributions to the struggle against the PNC dictatorship are legendary and when that history is written, Navin’s name will feature prominently for his courage, coherence and dedication.
When everyone thought that his revolutionary struggles would be over in 1992, he had to continue to wage a battle for the Party not to deviate from the ideals and principles of its great founder, Cde Cheddi Jagan. He was a self-professed ‘Jaganite’ and very proud to be counted as one.
We wish to celebrate Navin, a servant of the working class. Navin stayed true to his roots. He came from the working class and had a deep sense of identification with the oppressed and the realities of poverty. High office did not change him. He worked hard but found time to spend with his comrades. He was a very jovial person and he took a lot of pleasure in grounding with the brothers over liquid refreshments and settling down to a flat out session of telling stories and jokes.
He was one of the most humble and unpretentious comrades in the party. Navin had this amazing recall memory when meeting working people after some time and inquiring into the wellbeing of their whole generation without missing anyone. This was a result from his genuine care and love of people.
We wish to celebrate Navin, the revolutionary intellectual. During the days in Opposition when there were political and ideological discussions of new happenings, old PYO comrades would always ask each other “What does Cde Navin think? What is his line?” and this was the line we would adopt. It was not because of a blind following of a leadership line, but this approach was based on an enormous respect and trust for his power of intellectual analysis. Navin excelled as a scientist as well as an environmentalist.
We wish to celebrate Navin, the teacher. He was a teacher by profession and also one of the great political teachers of our time. He was never one of those arrogant people who thought that he knew more than others; he always respected the other person and engaged in dialogue. He was also capable of changing his mind after discussions which is not very common among our comrades.
We wish to celebrate Navin, the indomitable fighter in life and in death. In life, he was dealt the cruelest cut of all when he was dismissed from the cabinet but his acute disappointment did not turn to dissolution. He stayed the course and was eventually reinstated. During his terminal illness he remained so upbeat that every time you met him he was always discussing something of the future. That was the measure of his fighting spirit.
Finally on a lighter note, we wish to celebrate Navin, the Katak dancer. He had his own interpretation of the dance form and his signature move was always placing a glass with drink on his head. Then he would proceed to perform a series of intricate movements without the glass moving on his head. A lot of our comrades tried to copy that style and ended up paying for a lot of glasses.
Navin had a full and fruitful life.
We say that no-one is indispensable. But we only had one Navin. We won’t have another.