People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 01

January 03, 2010

Vietnamese Delegation gets Rousing Reception in Tripura

Haripada Das

 

THE Vietnamese delegation led by the country's deputy prime minister Truong Vinh Trong was accorded a heartfelt and emotional welcome by the people of Tripura during their visit to the state on December 11, 2009. The delegation was received at Agartala airport by CPI(M) state secretary, Bijan Dhar, Party central committee  member, Khagen Das, state secretariat member, Gautam Das, government ministers Anil Sarkar, Jitendra Chowdhury and Joygobinda Debroy, and chairman of Agartala Municipal Council, Sankar Das. The entire route taken by the delegation from airport to Agartala circuit house, was filled with people of all sections, young and aged, men and women who cheerfully greeted the delegation waving Vietnamese and Indian flags.

In the afternoon, the delegation met with cabinet ministers of the Left Front  government and high-ranking government officials, including the chief secretary, at Pragya Bhavan, Agartala. At the outset, the ministers heartily welcomed the delegates to the state and expressed their gratitude for opting Tripura as their first stop in their visit to India. During the interaction, the delegation was very much inquisitive about various aspects of the state, particularly about the demographic character, ethnic problem, minorities problem, land holding features, economy, employment, transport, education, health service etc. While briefing the media after the interaction, Vietnamese deputy prime minister Trong expressed gratefulness to the Indian people for the moral support they extended to Vietnam in their anti-colonial struggle and the material support for reconstruction of their country. Appreciating the work of the Left Front government in uplifting the many ethnic tribal and religious minority communities, He informed that they have 54 ethnic communities belonging to different clans and religious beliefs in their country. He felt the experiences in Tripura would be helpful for them to develop their ethnic minority communities. Thereafter, a slide show presentation was made for the delegation  depicting the glimpses of progress made by Tripura under the Left Front rule.

Later, in the evening, the Vietnamese delegation met with the CPI(M) state secretariat  members at the Party state committee office. Welcoming the delegates, CPI(M) state secretary, Bijan Dhar, explained about the Party right from its formative days in this princely state. The rebellious move of a few tribal youths against the anti-people rule of the monarchy, the repression of the king’s rule and subsequently the military of the Indian government, the resistance movement, the movement for democracy,  heavy influx of non-tribal Bengalis following the partition of Bengal resulting in reversing the demographic character reducing the tribals to minority, illegal transfers of tribal land to the non-tribals, and finally the restoration of those lands to its original owners etc were explained. The Party made a substantial advancement only after waging united struggle of the tribals and Bengalis with the four-point demands of the tribals that were enshrined in the Constitution. The first Left Front government emerged in 1978 basing on this tribal –non-tribal united movement. With this unity becoming the basic foundation of the Left Front government, the vested interests repeatedly tried to break it. They could succeed only on one occasion in misleading a section of the Bengali community, who got disillusioned with them very shortly. Bijan Dhar told the delegation how the heroic anti-colonial struggle of Vietnamese people against the most brutal force of the world, the United States, was a source of high inspiration during his generation's youth and students. So the slogan ‘Tumar naam, Aamar naam – Vietnam, Vietnam(Your name, My name Vietnam, Vietnam) was very popular among all sections of the peace-loving democratic people of the state. Trong in his interaction briefly narrated the ongoing reconstruction process in their country, its economic affairs, ethnic situation, diplomatic relations with various countries etc. Senior CPI(M) leader Baidyanath Majumder offered the portrait of Ho Chi Min, the great national leader of Vietnam to the delegates as a memento. Khagen Das informed the delegates that the name Vietnam would always remain etched in the minds of the people of Tripura.

The next day, i.e. on December 12, the delegation visited Khomolawng, the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC). The chief executive member Ranjit Debbarma and other executive members warmly received the delegation at Khomolawng. Amidst cheers and slogans chanted by a huge gathering of tribal people, the guests were honoured according to the tribal custom, with ‘Risa’, a piece of cloth made by tribal loom. A cultural programme of tribal dance and songs was performed before the delegates. Overwhelmed with emotions, the delegation also sang and danced with the indigenous performers. Thereafter the Vietnamese delegation met with the ADC executive members for an interaction about their work. They enquired about the constitutional status of the ADC, its administrative structure, the development plans and their implementation, relation with state government etc. In his brief remarks, deputy prime minister of Vietnam informed that they had never received such a warm, lovely, and affectionate welcome as in Tripura.  He thanked the people of Tripura and India for standing by the side of their country during the fierce war they fought against the American imperialism. He said it is unique to see that the Bengalis and tribals are so amicably living together with mutual respect and honour to each other’s culture and custom. He admired the government’s package programme for upliftment of the tribal communities.

In the afternoon, the Vietnam delegation visited Boxanagar, a Muslim dominated block, about 30 km away from Agartala. On their way to Boxanagar, from the village Valuarchar, both the roadsides were filled by the people of all ages, greeting the delegates  with flags of Vietnam and India. Boxanagar Panchayat Samity chairperson Samsul Haque and local MLA Sahid Chowdhury received them inside the block. The delegation was given a heart-felt popular reception and presented with mementos.

On December 13, the Vietnam delegation visited Udaipur, and on their way from Agartala to Udaipur, they were stopped at six places by gatherings of hundreds of people who wanted to see and touch the heroic fighters of Vietnam who defeated the most notorious American imperialism and liberated their country. At Udaipur, the delegation was received by vice chairman of State Planning Board and MLA Keshab Majumder, Party’s Udaipur divisional secretary Madhab Saha and others. The delegation had an interaction with the elected representatives at the public reception meeting in Udaipur Town Hall. Addressing the hall meeting, Trong briefly told how under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the people drove away the US forces from their country. War-mines left behind by the occupiers are still exploding in our agricultural fields and taking the lives of people, he said. “I myself am a victim of the poisonous ‘orange bullet’”, he said while showing the mark of the war-wound in his body. “We got many invaluable experiences in our visit to Tripura for last three days. The love, affection and friendship of Tripura people for Vietnam will ever shine in our heart”, said Trong. 

On their way back from Udaipur, the delegates visited Sipahijala Bio-complex compound, Tripura University and Ujjayanta Palace, which now accommodates the Tripura  legislative assembly.

The same evening, a civic reception was hosted on behalf of Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) at Agartala Town Hall chaired by Sankar Das, chairperson, AMC. In this grand reception, apart from other councilors, chief minister  Manik Sarkar, higher education minister Anil Sarkar, several other ministers, MPs were present on the dais. After opening song and felicitation, Sankar Das spoke in honour of the delegations. Polit Bureau member and chief minister Manik Sarkar in his short deliberation said that the heroic people of Vietnam set an example before the world that the imperialists, whatever brute power they behold, can never suppress the people’s will which is undefeatable. “So, the very word ‘Vietnam’ symbolises the struggle unto victory against imperialism. This lesson will inspire us in our struggle against imperialism in our country.” He pleaded strong solidarity with the Vietnamese people who are now engaged in reconstruction of their country adhering to the socialist path of development. Trong in his speech said that they have been overwhelmed with their new experience that Tripura  people bear so deep and strong feeling for the people of Vietnam. At one time, there was confusion whether the people of Vietnam could be able to snatch victory over strongest power of the imperialist world. But the people’s will coupled with solidarity of anti-imperialist forces world over, made it possible. At the end of the civic reception, a cultural programme was performed in honour of the guests.

On December 14 morning, the delegation visited the Durgabari Tea Estate managed by Tea Workers Cooperative. The Vietnamese delegation left Agartala around noon on the same day. Party state secretariat member Gautam Das and MP, Khagen Das, accompanied the delegation during the entire tour in the state on behalf of the Tripura state committee of the Party. Minister Jitendra Chowdhury accompanied them as the state government’s representative.