Ever since I joined the SBI in 1984, I became aware of Comrade B. B. Das who was the all-powerful General Secretary of the Officers' Association in Bengal Circle. He also held the post of the President of the All India SBI Officers' Federation for a couple of years before his retirement in 2003. Once upon a time, his hold upon the officers of SBI was the stuff legends and myths are made of. Though I never needed it, I know of many people who were benefited by his interventions and also a few who were against his larger than life personality. He was one of those persons whose shadow was much larger than his frame. He was universally known as Das-da and I have seen quite senior officers buttering him up to be in his good books and avoid trouble.
I was not close to him like many others who were his die-hard followers. In fact, I had contested twice for the elections as a candidate opposed to his panel of members. I had spoken to him and also for him.That perhaps makes me a little bit of opposition for him in a small way. But I also had a very good rapport and understanding with him. During his last two years of service, I was quite aligned with him on many issues. Those were the days of agitation against shifting of forex treasury from Kolkata to Mumbai. My most close interactions with him have been for two closed-door meetings, almost one to one, where he wanted to have inputs on forex dealings and settlement procedure. I found him to be an intelligent, witty person quick to grasp the fundamentals.
Death renders void traces of all debates, acrimony, misunderstandings, complaints or ill feelings, not that I had any against him. He was not also a part of my life. Just someone who touched it briefly. But one thing is sure. I have not forgotten him, neither I could. Even after so many days of disconnect, the news of his demise makes me sad. Because, beyond everything, I remember his genial face. He has been suffering a lot of health problems for the past months and probably death came as a relief to him. I sincerely condole his death, empathize with the bereaved family and wish the departed soul eternal peace.
I also hope he receives a final farewell befitting a leader from his numerous followers, well-wishers, beneficiaries and also the SBIOA Bengal Circle. Goodbye Comrade B. B. Das.