People's Democracy

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


No. 31

August 10 , 2008



Surjeet Lives On  In The Hearts Of The People

G Mamatha

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are special men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

Surjeet's dream was not the kind that belongs to the fantasy world, the kind that cannot become reality. His ideals and aims aspired to create a world where the human race can reach its full potential and put an end to the barbarism of class society.

Poor people, peasants sat on the pavements along the entire stretch of the road opposite to the Party headquarters AKG Bhavan on August 3 to participate in the funeral march. A poor agricultural labourer was offering his floral tributes along with the representatives of a big Indian corporate house; an office clerk was clenching his fist and shouting red salute together with the ceremonial salute offered by the guards of the President of the country. Women, men, kids and old, students and youth, sportspersons who were national champions, MLAs, MPs, ministers and politicians across the spectrum - people of all hues thronged the Party central office to have a last glimpse of the great man and offer their tearful respects. Cutting across various sections of people, visitors to AKG Bhavan recollected their attachment to Comrade Surjeet and wrote down their feelings about him in the Visitors Books.

Everybody was unanimous in the opinion that the country lost a great patriot and a great communist revolutionary whose loss cannot be easily filled. Some recalled him as a wise counsellor, patient and pragmatic negotiator and as someone who had tremendous power of taking everyone with him in his endeavours. Many vowed to carry forward the torch he left behind for the struggle of the working class, for the basic change in our society.

Some ignorant passers-by at a distance away from the Party office were thinking - Who is he? Where is he from? Why this commotion? Why such honour when a man expires? And the answer of the people who came from far and near to have a last glimpse of their leader was very clear. Surjeet's life was the embodiment of proletarian thought, will and strength. He was remembered for profound realism, a genius - not only a great thinker but also a practical man, as educator and leader of millions of proletarians and working people. He was remembered as a great human being known for his humane qualities, characterised by simplicity and love for the oppressed people and hatred for every oppressor.

Elderly people tried to draw inspiration from him. Surjeet was a ceaseless fighter who never tired from pursuing his mission and a person who continued to work in his chosen field into his 90s. 'It was a lesson for those who retire at 58 and then sit idle eating it out' wrote a visitor.

Ambassadors of various countries mourned his death. Surjeet was remembered for his personal contribution to the solidarity with Cuba in the most difficult and trying years of the revolution. He was a great friend of Cuba. He organised a shipment of wheat and rice to the Cuban people, that Fidel himself called the 'Indian bread to Cuban people'. 'It is great loss not only to the CPI(M), to the Left in India but also to the international communist movement and particularly to Cuba'. Palestinians remembered him for his steadfast solidarity with the Palestinian people. Diplomats from Pakistan recalled his yearning for the building of friendly and cordial relations between India and Pakistan. A South African embassy person bid Comrade Surjeet Hamba Kahle (Go well, used as goodbye in Zulu language) saying that he dedicated his entire life to serve the people, not only in India but in other parts of the world as well. Representatives from not only all the socialist countries but even countries like Japan, Greece, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cyprus and many other countries paid tributes to him.

Some said that they have lost their father while some others said that they have lost their guardian but everybody unanimously said that Surjeet would forever remain in their hearts as 'He gave ardent love to comrades'. Many recalled the personal sacrifices of Comrade Surjeet for the cause of socialism that can never be forgotten.

Many people pledged that 'the great legacy that Comrade Surjeet has left behind for us will embolden us to march forward with determination to fulfill his ideals. We must learn from Surjeet's sincere intensity and his concrete clarity'.

Activists recalled his contribution to the building up of the communist movement and the kisan movement and said that 'it will be an inspiration to all the coming generations'. Some bureaucrats and former officials recalled his encyclopaedic knowledge on the conditions of the kisans and agricultural labourers in our country and remembered his advice for drafting the central legislation for agricultural workers and on issues pertaining to SC/ST and OBCs. 'His death is a great loss to the cause of social justice'. Recollecting Comrade Surjeet's keenness in taking up the issues of the dalits and poor, visitors paid homage to this great and gigantic spirit. 'Comrade Surjeet will always remain an inspiration for all those who are fighting for an inclusive and secular India'.

The Visitor Books were filled with words expressing homage and respects for the departed leader, but now, it is upon us to keep the flame of his struggle alive. Simple living, steadfast thinking and relentless struggles were the hallmark of Comrade Surjeet's life and these have to be our ideals too. Words fail to explain one's feelings of this national loss but it is only through our actions that we can try to fill this void in howsoever little way that is possible to us.

'A leader's life does not end with death. He dies, but the people lives on, communism lives on, the Bolsheviks armed with his idea lives on'