People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 25, 2007
Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar Passes Away
COMRADE Chittabrata Majumdar, a Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and the all-India general secretary of the CITU passed away in Kolkata in the early afternoon of February 20. He was 71 and leaves behind his wife Sabitri Majumdar, a district committee member of the Howrah unit of the CPI(M) and a leader of the Bengal AIDWA, and his daughter and only child, Barshana Majumdar, a computer professional. Comrade Majumdar has been ailing for some time with emphysema and lung complications.
State secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) Biman Basu, Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu expressed their grief at the passing away of Comrade Majumdar. Sorrow was expressed by the members of the state secretariat, and members of the state committee of the CPI(M), which was in session when the news of Comrade Majumdar’s demise reached the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan. His death was condoled by the Bengal CITU leadership, by leaders of the Left Front, and by the leadership of Left TUs.
Born on August 14, 1935 in the district of Dacca in erstwhile undivided Bengal, of Swarnalata and Khshitishchandra, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar was a science graduate from the Calcutta University and he later read textile technology at the Bengal Textile Institute at Serampore in Hooghly. Renouncing offers of a professional job of a textile technologist, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar preferred what was a low-paying teacher’s job at the Salkia Vidyapith.
A part of the rousing tide of mass struggles of the 1950s, Comrade Majumdar was involved first with the students’ movement, and later with the TU movement, being received into the then undivided CPI in 1956. He worked as one of the main Party organiser of the Howrah district and spent a large slice of his daily life organising workers. Concentrating on developing the TU movement in the engineering industry in particular, Comrade Majumdar became the secretary of the metal workers’ union in Howrah. He had intimate contact with the TU units of Bridge and Roof, Reyroll Burn, Hooghly Dock and Engineers, Bicko Lawry and other outfits.
Taking a leadership role in Howrah in the battle against revisionism of the 1960s, Comrade Majumdar put to good use his deep insight into the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. On the CPI being split in 1964, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar played a significant role in building up the Howrah unit of the CPI(M). He worked at the district Party centre along with Communist stalwarts like Comrades Naresh Dasgupta, Joykesh Mukherjee, and Harisadhan Mitra. Incarcerated for a year and four months under the Defence of India Act by the then Congress government, Comrade Majumdar, on coming out of the jail, became a Party wholetimer.
In 1968, he became a member of the district secretariat of the Howrah unit of the CPI(M). Winning by a massive margin from the Howrah (north) Assembly constituency in 1977, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar became the minister for cottage and small-scale industries in the first Left Front government, and played a crucial role in the expansion of these sectors of industries across the state.
Comrade Majumdar also looked after the building up of such state-run institutions catering small-scale goods as the Tantuja, the Tantusree, and the Manjusha. Interested in scientific and technological developments, Comrade Majumdar gave an organisational form to the people’s science movement in Bengal, being one of the chief architects of the Paschimbanga Vigyan Manch. Later as a member of the Rajya Sabha, Comrade Majumdar played a significant role in opposing the industrial, labour, and financial policies of the union government.
Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar had a significant role to play in the organisation of the Salkia Plenum in 1978. He was elected as a member of the state committee of the CPI(M) in 1982, inducted into the state secretariat in 1985. A specialist in producing the Party Education series booklets and pamphlets, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar combined his deep knowledge of Marxism-Leninism with a subtle yet simple style of writing. A member of the central committee of the CPI(M) in 1995 at the Chandigarh Party Congress, Comrade Majumdar was made a member of the Polit Bureau in 2004 at the Delhi Party Congress.
A TU organiser of the highest calibre, Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar was a member of the general council of CITU when it was formed in 1970. He was elected the general secretary of the Bengal unit of the CITU in 1990 as a leading TU organiser. He was made one of the secretaries of the CITU at the national level in 1991. Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar was elected to the post of the all-India general secretary of the CITU at the 12th all-India conference of the CITU held in Chennai, re-elected to the post from the Bangalore conference in 2007.
Dedicated to the task of a united workers’ struggle against the sweep of liberalisation and globalisation, Comrade Majumdar was of the firm opinion that the struggle was for changing the policy, which would lead to a change in the government at the centre. He always spoke of the importance of taking the workers’ struggle out of the circle of economic demands into the wider realm of political struggles and movements. He also played an important role in setting up an international solidarity of workers against the dictates of imperialist globalisation.
Comrade Majumdar wrote innumerable essays and articles on such subjects as Marxism-Leninism, political economy, ideology of the Communist Party, and Party and TU organisation. Some of his writings were brought together and published in a small anthology called Ek, dui, teen (in Bengali). Comrade Majumdar represented the CITU in International TU conferences and in the ILO. He remained the editor-in-chief of the internet edition of the Ganashakti.
Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar’s humble lifestyle, his depth of knowledge, his role as a dedicated Communist, and his achievements as a TU organiser who led from the front shall remain as icons of inspiration that he leaves behind for the present and the future generations of Communists, TU organisers, and workers.