Sanat Kumer Majumder
1929 - 2016
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NORTHAMPTON - Sanat Kumer Majumder, 86, of Northampton, passed away peacefully Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, at Linda Manor, Leeds.

Sanat was born Nov. 1, 1929, in Ghalghalia, Bengal-then a part of India, but now in Bangladesh. He was the sixth of eight children born to the late Kalidas and Ranibala (Ghosh) Majumder. After graduating from Sripur High School in 1945, Sanat went to live with his married sister in Kolkata in order to attend Presidency College, the "Harvard of India". In 1949 he received his bachelor's degree in Botany, and then continued on to the University of Kolkata, earning a master's degree in plant physiology. During his college years, Sanat had the privilege of attending Mahatma Gandhi's prayer meetings-a very formative experience, which led to a lifelong devotion to Gandhi and his writings.

Sanat's first position as a botanist was as assistant at the Jute Research Institute near Kolkata. Meanwhile, he kept his eyes open for an opportunity to continue his studies in the United States. In December, 1954, he left by ship for London and New York, seeing snow for the first time at the University of New Hampshire as he began his Ph.D. studies.

After Sanat's first year of adjustment to the New Hampshire climate and customs, he had the opportunity to attend a conference of international students in Athens, Ohio. His seat-mate on the train was Boston University senior, Flora Clifford, from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. By the end of the conference, they had formed a relationship that led to their marriage in June 1957. The next year, Sanat completed his Ph. D. in plant physiology, followed by a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.

In 1959, Sanat and Flora left for India, expecting to live there permanently. Sanat worked for two years at the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack, as he and Flora raised their infant son. Seeing little chance for professional advancement in India, Sanat accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Hawaii from 1962-1964. During that time his daughter was born.

Sanat inaugurated his teaching career at St. Louis University where he remained until 1967 when he was offered a position at Smith College. In 1968, the Centennial of Gandhi's birth, Sanat organized an entire week of related activities with seminars, a drama, and a performance by sitarist Ravi Shankar.

In 1972, Sanat moved on to Westfield State College (now "University"), retiring as full professor in 1992. During this time, Sanat became very active in Amnesty International, and served six years on the national board of AIUSA. Later he was coordinator of Northampton Group 76 and promoted Amnesty work with his writing and speaking engagements. Sanat was also very active in the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, serving one year as its Lay Leader.

Sanat's three favorite avocations were writing, travel and water color painting. He wrote essays and Letters to the Editor in response to current news that concerned him, and many have found his poetry inspiring. He and Flora traveled widely, with India being the most frequent destination. They also traveled vicariously in Latin America and Asia through the experience of housing foreign students from the International Language Institute. Sanat's sketches and watercolors brought him much satisfaction and pleasure, as well as great joy to the viewers and recipients.

No doubt Sanat's greatest satisfaction was in his children and grandchildren-their growth and accomplishments. He also took great pride in his extended family, including the children of his thirty nieces and nephews.

Sanat was predeceased by his parents and six out of seven siblings, all in India. He is survived by his sister Gitali Basu in India; his wife Flora Majumder; his son Tiku Majumder and wife Susan Abrams; his daughter Shari Majumder and husband Frank Ticheli; and his grandchildren Jonah Majumder, Nathan Majumder, Leah Majumder, Hannah Ticheli and Joshua Ticheli.

To honor Sanat's devotion to education and science, his body has been donated to the Anatomical Gift Program at Tufts University School of Medicine. The family wishes to thank the staffs of VNA Hospice and Linda Manor for their compassionate care.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Nov. 27, at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Society, 220 Main St., Northampton.

In lieu of flowers, you may consider a gift to Amnesty International USA, 5 Penn Plaza, 16th floor, New York, NY 10001, or to the Unitarian Society.

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 27, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
February 23, 2021
4 Years later - not sure who will be seeing this as I have just found the obit. "Dr. M" was my advisor at WSC and I was his work study student in the lab for 4 years. He was like a dad and mentor especially when my brother died while I was attending college. I have one of his very first watercolors framed at my home...he did not think it was very good but I loved it and knew right away it was a self-portrait of him in a hat with earflaps, sitting in a little boat fishing in Maine which he said was his favorite place. He loved to invite students over to his home for an annual Indian meal and he and Flora were so gracious to us all. I reconnected years later after I attended graduate school (schooling he insisted on) and Dr. M told me that I reminded him of Ghandi. A story my kids laughed at years later and I told them Sanat really knew him! Such a patient caring man who was passionate about human rights. He has always been in my heart. God bless you all.
Lynne Doty
November 2, 2016
I feel blessed to have been able to spend some wonderful moments with Sanat. I will miss his warmth, laughter & unique perspectives. My love to Flora & family.
Sheri Hall-Smith
November 2, 2016
Flora, we send our condolences to you and your children. We are grateful to have met Sanat almost 25 years ago through the Unitarian Society, and for his presence there as one of our elders, along with you as another elder. You have been such a loving and devoted wife, Flora. Now that the difficult work of caring for Sanat is over, we wish you rest and recovery from your care giving journey, and time to grieve and take in the beauty of the fall.
Joanna Brown and Jo Lower
November 1, 2016
I am so sorry to learn of Sanat's death.
I have many fond memories of his time with us in cardiac rehab and all the beautiful scarves he brought back from his travels to India. I think of him every time I wear one.
Kathy Bowers
Kathy Bowers
October 31, 2016
Sanat was always kind to me, and a joy to have discussions with at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. I will miss him. I wish the best for Flora and his whole family.
Michael Nagy
October 28, 2016
My heart goes out to my friend Flora and Shari and Tiku on the loss of Sanat. He was a lovely man and an inspired leader. My deepest condolences.
Janice Rogers
October 28, 2016
Such an interesting and accomplished life!
I'm so glad to have met Sanat. Wishing many continuing blessings to Flora, and to Shari and all the family
Sharon Smith
October 28, 2016
your in our thought's and prayers. He was a wonderful person. God bless.
Linda Gray
October 27, 2016
Our heartiest condolences .
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