People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 10

March 11, 2007

Homage To Chittabrata Majumdar


Prakash Karat


THE passing away of Chittabrata Majumdar is a big loss for the Party, the CITU and the working class movement. It takes decades for leaders with ability and experience to emerge at the all India level. Much was expected of Comrade Chittabrata when he became the general secretary of the CITU and when he was elected to the Polit Bureau in the 18th Congress of the Party in April 2005. But we have been deprived of his contribution by the cruel hand of death.


Chittabrata Majumdar rose to be a leader of the working class movement, after beginning work as a trade union activist in Howrah district in the 1950s. The fact that he served as the secretary of the West Bengal state committee of the CITU testifies to his deep experience and skills as a trade union leader. Being in the Communist Party he had strong convictions based on Marxism-Leninism. This enabled him to take a stand against revisionism in 1964 when he joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist).


The all-India CITU conference in Bangalore re-elected Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar as the general secretary. We had all looked forward to Chittada’s continuing contribution to the trade union movement and the development of the CITU. That was not to be. Within a month, Comrade Chittabrata passed away due to his chronic lung problem in Kolkata. Before leaving for Bangalore, Chittada discussed certain matters with me which he felt were important and promised to take them up after the conference. As ever systematic in his work, he had recorded these points for future discussion and implementation. This was Chittabrata’s style of work. Even when his health began getting worse, his movement affected by his breathing difficulties, his mind was clear and his thinking precise.


The working class movement is faced with a number of challenges thrown up by the ongoing capitalist offensive under liberalisation and imperialist globalisation. Unlike many others, Chittabrata was undaunted by such problems. He was constantly seeking ways to meet the new situation based on his Marxist understanding. As a Communist leader he followed international developments closely, especially the state of the working class movement in other countries. His earlier visits to Australia, South Africa and Japan for trade union meetings had given him a better understanding of the situation in the international working class movement.


His absence will be felt in the Polit Bureau and the central committee, where he spoke authoritatively on working class issues and the policy the Party should adopt in this regard. As a member of the Rajya Sabha, Comrade Chittabrata played the vigilant role of the defender of working class interests. Nothing in any legislation which affected working class interests would escape his attention.


Comrade Chittabrata was the first CPI(M) leader who grasped new technology and began using computers and the latest technological innovations. Given his background as a textile technologist, he had a lifelong interest in technology. All of us used to turn to him to understand the use of new information technology. Comrade Chittabrata using his mobile phone to send out e-mails while attending meetings was a common sight.


Chittabrata Majumdar was a product of the working class and Communist movement of West Bengal. As such he possessed all the qualities exemplified by Communist leaders of his generation and background. A deep and abiding commitment to the Party, a strong sense of discipline and collective functioning. He had both humility and integrity which are the true marks of a revolutionary. Within the Party, Chittada was firm in upholding Communist values and principles. He was uncompromising against any violations of Communist ethics and morality. 


I and all the comrades at the Party Centre will sorely miss him as he was part of the team which worked together and tried to learn from each other. His gentle behaviour, his ability to listen to contrary arguments and his cheerful countenance despite his health problems were appreciated by all his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his wife Sabitri and daughter Barshana who have suffered an irreparable loss. Their only consolation is that there are thousands of comrades who share their sorrow and are joined together in paying tribute to the memory of this outstanding and beloved comrade.