Daya Varma died just a week ahead of the release of his second book, Medicine, Healthcare and the Raj: the unacknowledged legacy. He will be remembered for his extraordinary life – a life lived so directly, courageously and honestly. There were many books inside him, waiting to be shaped after he retired from his busy life as a scientist, teacher and progressive-radical activist in Montreal – Three Essays Collective
Excerpts from the obituary notice released by his family and friends:
Dr. Daya Ram Varma
Passed on: March 22nd, 2015
August 23, 1929 – March 22, 2015
Dr. Daya Ram Varma, died Sunday March 22, 2015, at his home in St John’s surrounded by loving family and friends.
Daya was born in a small village called Narion in India to proud parents, the late Sampati and Matabadal Chowdhary. Starting at a one-room primary school in his village, pursuing his quest for education, he went on to receive MBBS and MD degrees with honours from the prestigious King George Medical College in Lucknow. He came to Canada to study in 1959 and received his PhD in Pharmacology from McGill University in 1961. He rose through the academic ranks, and then continued to work through a post-retirement appointment until 2007. He was made a professor emeritus in 2009.
He leaves behind Shree Mulay, who has been his wife, comrade and companion for twenty-eight years; his three children: Rahul (Dipti Gupta), Roli (Deepak Kapoor), and Rohit Varma (Asma Yasmin); their mother Krishna Varma; his four granddaughters: Ila, Sonia, Sarah, and Aliya, of whom he was very proud; and his step-son Aziz Mulay-Shah. Daya was pre-deceased by his step-son Sanjay Mulay-Shah. He also leaves behind his siblings, nieces, nephews, and other relatives and hundreds of close friends and comrades in India, Canada, and throughout the world.
Daya was a lifelong activist dedicated to equality, justice, and peace. He was a secularist and a socialist who applied his intellect towards social causes. He was featured in many documentary films such as Bhopal: Search for Justice, which chronicled his compelling findings as a way to find justice for victims of the Bhopal disaster (1984). He authored two books on the history of medicine, over 225 scientific papers, and a large number of political articles published in a range of prestigious journals. Never daunted, he compiled the March issue of INSAF bulletin during the last stages of his illness. Daya founded, supported, or influenced many progressive organizations such as the Indian Peoples Association in North America, CERAS, Kabir Cultural Center, the South Asia Women Community Center, Teesri Duniya Theatre, and many others. In particular, he championed the cause of peace and harmony between India and Pakistan.
Daya came from a small village in India and his life ended in a small city in Canada. He appreciated the warmth of people of St. John’s, Newfoundland and was an avid member of Bridge Clubs run by Marilyn Bennett and Joan Fitzgerald. Daya’s family thank Ms Helen Osmond who provided care during his last days.