“The death of Jyoti Basu is an irreparable loss to the nation”, say Surjit Singh Barnala, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Tarun Gogai in their respective condolence messages.
That expression may not have been inappropriate if death had snatched away a distinguished person in the prime of his youth or one who, potentially, had several years of productive service left. But describing the demise of a long-retired, nonagenarian, however great his past achievements might have been, as an irreparable loss to the nation is ridiculous.
I don’t see why this cliché is resorted to when there are so many more at one’s disposal. Examples :“He strode the arena like a colossus”. “He was the last of the Gandhians”. “He was a true patriot”. “His contribution to the country, state and party was immense”. “He cared and fought for the poor”.