People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 28, 2007



Meeting Condoles Comrade Dhakad’s Demise


THIS was a moment when everybody in the audience was silently recalling some or other event associated with the late CPI(M) leader Bahadur Singh Dhakad. They were sad over the departure of such a devoted and dedicated political worker who always stood firm on the questions of theory, but also had in his reminiscences an unending source of inspiration and courage. The meeting to pay homage to the departed comrade was attended also by the party’s general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe. Jaswinder Singh chaired the condolence meeting while Pramod Pradhan conducted the proceedings.


While Karat recalled Comrade Dhakad’s work in the party’s Central Committee and his efforts at party building in Madhya Pradesh, Pandhe noted that failing health was never a matter of concern for the late comrade who had his eyes on the party’s growth prospects in the state. Every time a course was charted out for the purpose, Comrade Dhakad would devote himself wholeheartedly to putting it into practice.


Recalling his 20 years of association with Comrade Dhakad, Karat noted how the latter made strenuous efforts to build the peasant movement in the state when he was general secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha. He stressed that fundamentally different from a leader of one or another bourgeois-landlord party, a communist leader develops over a long period and that is why the loss of any such leader is a big loss to the party and the movement --- a loss that is very keenly felt.


Karat told the audience that when the central leadership came to know about Comrade Dhakad’s illness some three and a half years ago, we made every possible effort for the treatment of his ailment. Medical examination in the All India Medical Science Institute showed that it was not just a problem of his heart; some nerves going to the brain were also blocked. This made an operation extremely difficult and dangerous, and the doctor said they would try to prolong the comrade’s life as far as they could by medication. He also suggested that we should talk to Comrade Dhakad and dissuade him from straining himself too much. Whenever he came to Delhi for a Central Committee meeting or any other work, he was taken for medical examination. We also tried our best to restrain him as we realised that workload created by the sheer size of the state of Madhya Pradesh was heavily telling upon his health. But his own thinking was different, and he wanted to utilise as much of his life as possible for an expansion and growth of the party in the state.


However, Karat added, Comrade Dhakad’s demise does not mean a cessation of the movement. Deriving inspiration, courage and determination from the life and work of a departed comrade, the movement surpasses various obstacles and forges ahead. Karat recalled that the party as once a small entity in its present strongholds, i.e. West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura as well, but it grew into a force by building people’s movements in those states. He therefore expressed the hope that the party would definitely benefit from the efforts put in by leaders like Bahadur Singh Dhakad, develop mass movements in Madhya Pradesh and thus become a force here too.


The CPI(M)’s Chhattisgarh state secretary M K Nandi got choked with emotion while recalling how Comrade Dhakad was always prepared to help the party in Chhattisgarh even after the bifurcation of Madhya Pradesh.


Badal Saroj, Sandhya Shaili and Ashok Tewari from the CPI(M), Krishna Modi (CPI), PWA general secretary Dr Kamla Prasad, acting JLS state president Ram Prakash Tripathi and senior journalist Lajja Shankar Hardainiya also spoke on the occasion, detailing the loss the Left movement has suffered in the state in the wake of Comrade Dhakad’s demise.


Incidentally, when a delegation of senior CPI(M) leaders learnt of Comrade Dhakad’s demise during its study tour of the People’s Republic of China, it organised a condolence meeting on the spot. The delegation’s leader and former member of parliament, Dipankar Mukherjee, conveyed its feelings of grief to the Madhya Pradesh state unit of the party.


In another development, a meting of the CPI(M) state committee unanimously elected Badal Saroj as its new secretary. The meeting was attended by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe from the party centre.


Now 52, Badal joined the Left movement at an early age and was first arrested at the age of 13 when participating in an agitation to occupy the princely family’s surplus land in Gwalior. He has been active in the student movement and then in the trade union movement, and has faced arrests and police repression several times, including a 19 months jail term under MISA during the hated Emergency regime. He was elected to the CPI(M) state committee in 1985 and to the state secretariat the following year.