People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 05

January 31, 2010

Nation Pays Homage To Comrade Jyoti Basu

 

A LARGE number of people in parts of the country paid rich tributes to the late Comrade Jyoti Basu in a series of meetings organised since his demise on January 17, thus establishing what a towering figure he was. Below we publish some of the reports we have since then received.

 

TRIPURA

Developing close relations with the masses and building up with their help a fortress of resistance to foil the onslaught of the forces of reaction shall be the best tribute to Comrade Jyoti Basu. So said leaders of the Left Front of Tripura in a condolence meeting for this beloved leader of the masses.

On January 18, the Tripura Left Front organised this meeting at the Stable Ground, Agartala attended by  thousands of people from Sadar, Sadar East and Dukli district committee areas of  CPI(M). The spontaneous thronging of the people from the three district committee areas to attend the Agartala meeting while carrying pictures, banners with Basuís pictures and half mast red flags were ample proof of how the masses of Tripura loved and admired Comrade Jyoti Basu.

The meeting was presided over by Khagen Das, convener of the Tripura Left Front Committee, who placed the condolence motion in the meeting. After it, the audience stood for a minute in silence as a mark of respect to the legendary leader. Before that, the leadership paid floral tributes to Comrade Basu.

Addressing the meeting, the CPI(M)ís West Bengal state secretary Biman Basu said Jyoti Basu played a big role throughout his life to organise the movement of the poor people. He was a barrister when in 1940 he returned to India to work as a wholetimer of the party, but not for once while working for the party he brought this matter to publicity. His 55 years long span as a parliamentarian was a nice blend of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics. Biman Basu said as deputy chief minister of the two United  Front governments in 1967 and 1969, Basu proved that communists, if given an opportunity, could become able administrators as well. Dwelling on Basuís role in the struggle for restoring democracy in India and West Bengal in particular, Biman Basu said the ruling classes are in the a habit of portraying the communists as opposed to democracy. But Jyoti Basu, as a communist, played a valiant role in the struggle for restoring democracy in the country. During 1977 to 2000, when he was the chief minister of West Bengal, Basu dwelt not only on the problems of the state but became a leader of national stature by taking the initiative to restructure the centre-state relations. He visited Vietnam as the envoy of the government of India to attend the funeral of  Comrade Ho Chi Minh, and signed the agreement of Ganges water sharing with Bangladesh. He was an undisputed leader in the struggle to unite the toiling masses irrespective of caste, creed and religion to resist the forces of reaction. We shall be able to pay a true tribute to him only by resisting the forces of reaction with the united force of the masses.

Addressing  the meeting, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar said the country at this juncture is witnessing some negative trends since the last Lok Sabha elections. With the Left Front suffering a setback in the elections, the UPA-2 is acting in a haste to serve the interests of the capitalists, landlords, hoarders and black-marketeers. Day in and day out, anti-people measures are being heaped upon the masses. The government is least bothered about the spiralling price rise breaking the backbone of the poor people. Amidst widespread protest across the country, the centre has announced to supply 10 kg of extra rice or wheat but at an increased price. The agricultural crisis is taking a dangerous shape. The centre is selling the shares of our profit making PSUs. The problem of unemployment is eating up the youth. At the same time all the forces of reaction have joined hands with the imperialist forces to crush the Left and democratic movement in West Bengal. At this crucial juncture the demise of Comrade Jyoti Basu is a great loss for us. But we shall have to face the situation, look forward and walk through the thorny path ahead to reach our goal. We will have to forge a fortress of resistance to the enemies by bringing the masses to our side. Manik Sarkar said Comrade Basu always stressed on going to the masses, telling them the truth and showing respect to them. It is the people who create the history. Those who have deserted us temporarily have to be won back by giving them a patient hearing, by going back to them time and again. The present situation of crisis wonít be everlasting. The people of West Bengal have already started to fight back. We are confident they will resist the evil attempts of the forces of reaction and play a major role in developing the Left and democratic movement in the country. That will be the appropriate tribute to Comrade Jyoti Basu.

Among others, veteran CPI(M) leader Baidyanath Majumdar, CPI(M) Central Committee member Bajuban Reang, CPI leader Dhiren Dasgupta, RSP state secretary Sudarshan Bhattacharya and AIFB state secretary Shyamal Ray spoke in the meeting which came to a conclusion with the rendition of the Internationale.

Condolence meetings were also organised at all the subdivision headquarters.

 

ANDHRA PRADESH

Various political parties' leaders paid glowing tributes to Comrade Jyoti Basu at a condolence meeting organised by the CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state committee in Hyderabad. They described him as a great person who strove through out his long political career for the upliftment of the poor and the working class. Till his last breath, he worked for the interest of the downtrodden masses. They stressed that the present generation leaders, parties and people have a great deal to learn from the life of Comrade Jyoti Basu.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and state secretary B V Raghavulu presided over the meeting held in Sundarayya Vignana Kendram on January 23, 2010. Among those who spoke included leaders from Congress, TDP, BJP, TRS, Praja Rajyam and Lok Satta parties. CPI(ML) New Democracy leader  could not attend and hence sent a condolence message.

Raghavulu in his speech said that Comrade Jyoti Basu strived very hard to uphold and defend secularism and federalism as enshrined in our Constitution. He used to stress that federalism must be strengthened in order for states to become strong. Whenever attempts were made to vitiate the atmosphere of unity and integrity, Comrade Basu stepped in to defeat such attempts. Anticipating the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi regime, he toured the entire country to alert the people of the danger. His firm dealing of situation pre and post-Babri Masjid demolition prevented occurrence of any communal incident in the state of Bengal even as many other parts of the country were engulfed in flames. He stood as a shining example for the entire nation with his inspiring governance.

Comrade Jyoti Basu's outlook on welfare schemes was quite different from others. He empowered the people with rights instead of just doling out in the name of schemes. Raghavulu cited the significant scale of land reforms in Bengal under Comrade Basu's leadership as also the bringing of an Act providing rights to sharecroppers. By this Act alone, around 14 lakh sharecroppers benefited.  Through decentralisation, he empowered the panchayati raj institutions at the ground level. Recalling Comrade Basu's association with Andhra Pradesh, the efforts he made to get the Telengana armed struggle participant comrades released from jails by taking up the matter with Jawaharlal Nehru or how he himself participated in the cyclone relief activities during the Diviseema cyclone were highlighted.

Congress leader Narsa Reddy felt that Comrade Basu's governance, particularly his implementation of land reforms as an effective means of ending poverty, must be emulated by all other rulers. His quality of taking along all sections was highlighted.

TDP leader M Narsimhulu said that Comrade jyoti Basu by his ideological commitment and effective governance showed how a political leader must be. He represented everything that is progressive. He was a great leader who proved that it is only the Communist Party that relentlessly fights for the interest of the poor.

BJP state unit president Bandaru Dattatreya said that the entire nation is proud of Jyoti Basu, who  was a leader who was ideologically committed till the end and who took allsections of people along during his tenure as chief minister. He praised his rule saying there was stability for the people. He felt the present generation political leaders have a great deal to learn from Comrade Basu's life, particularly today when there is all round degeneration of values.

CPI leader P Venkat Reddy felt Comrade Basu's rule was an inspiration for the entire nation. He praised his role in helping solve the difficult situations faced by the nation. Lok Satta party president Jayaprakash Narayan termed Comrade Basu as a pioneer who successfully merged the extra parliamentary revolutionary struggles with democracy. His capacity to find solutions by taking everyone along was particularly praised. TRS leader N Narsimha Reddy and PRP leader Vasireddy Padma also spoke.

Similar meetings condoling the demise of Comrade Jyoti Basu were also held by the Party in Vijayawada, Vishakapatnam, Srikakulam and Kurnool, which were addressed by leaders of all political parties.

 

HARYANA

At Rohtak in Haryana, leaders of various political parties, trade unions, social organisations and citizens paid respectful homage to the departed Marxist leader, Jyoti Basu. In a well attended condolence meeting organised by the CPI(M) state committee in the Open Air Theatre of Pt Shri Ram Sharma Rangshala, CPI(M) state secretary Inderjit Singh placed a condolence resolution that recalled the unparalleled role played by Comrade Jyoti Basu in the freedom struggle as well as in Indian politics later. The meeting recalled the radical measures taken by his government in the area of land reforms, panchayati raj system, and in defending the democratic rights of the people and secular values. These were always remembered as landmarks in the pro-people policy orientation of the uninterrupted Left Front rule in West Bengal over the last three decades or more.

The condolence resolution described Comrade Jyoti Basu as one of the tallest statesmen, one who would always be remembered as a role model in the United Front tactics, as a successful experimenter of how to combine the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary activities to serve the toiling and deprived sections of society.

Those who paid tributes included local MLA Bharat Bhushan Batra, former union minister  Ch Chand Ram, Haryana Congress representative Satish Pansari, INLD representative Inder Singh Dhull, All India Lawyers Union president R S Hooda, UTUC president and SUCI leader Hari Parkash, Kisan Sabha state vice president Master Sher Singh, AIDWA state president Dr Jagmati Sangwan, Khet Mazdoor Union state vice president Prakesh Chander, CITU state vice president Balbir Dahiya, CPI(M) state secretariat member Surender Singh Malik, and CPI assistant state secretary Daryao Singh Kashyap. Several organisations sent written resolutions paying homages.

Students, youth, employees, women and other sections came to the condolence meeting in the form of processions with portraits of the late leader. The music squad of Gyan Vigyan Samiti presented songs in homage on the occasion.

 

GUJARAT

Presided over by Justice Amubhai Ravani, former chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court, a broad-based condolence meeting was held on January 24 in the Mehdi Nawab Jang Hall at Paldi in Ahmedabad.

On this occasion, Justice Ravani recalled Comrade Jyoti Basuís commendable and unique life style which earned him unprecedented respect from all the classes. For his incessant yearning to unflinchingly serve the cause of the downtrodden, he had become the idol of revolutionary youth, the speaker said. His overt non-orthodoxy is evident from the fact that he donated his body for medical research.

Shaktisinhji Gohil, leader of opposition in the Gujarat assembly, described him as a light house for the entire humanity, one who was selfless to the core. He placed the interest of his party before himself and showed no vacillation in this regard, which is what made him a role model in regard to organisation.

Senior CPI(M) leader Subodh Mehta, state Congress president Sidharthbhai Patel, state BJP president Purshotambhai Roopala, state BJP general secretary Jayantibhai Barot, CPI leader Chintaman Panjankar, NCP leader Shri Bholabhai Patel, Maha Gujarat Janta Party leader Gordhan Zadafia, SUCI leader Jayesh Patel, HMKP leader Jayaantibhai Panchal, CPI(ML) leader Kanti Dabhi, CPI(M) state secretary Arun Mehta, and a large number of other people affiliated to political parties and mass organisations as well as citizens also paid homage to the stalwart of Indiaís communist movement. Arun Mehata conducted the meeting that concluded with loud slogans hailing the life and work of Comrade Jyoti Basu.

Earlier, on January 22, a condolence meeting took place in Bhavnagar, when the big Dashashrimali Community Hall at Ghogha Gate was packed to capacity. Apart from Subodh Mehta and Arun Mehta from the CPI(M), BJP MP Rajendrasinh Rana, former finance minister Pratap Shah, former Congress MLA Dilipsinh Gohil and many others addressed the audience, describing Comrade Jyoti Basuís demise as the end of an era in Indian politics.

 

JAMMU & KASHMIR

On January 18, tributes were paid to Comrade Jyoti Basu at a largely attended condolence meeting at Jammu, organised by the Jammu and Kashmir state committee of the CPI(M). The meeting was presided over by CPI(M) state secretary M Y Tarigami.

Prominent leaders including Mangat Ram Sharma (Congress leader and former deputy chief minister) S S Slathia (minister for industries and commerce), Sheikh Abdul Rehman (state president, Samajwadi Party), Ajay Sadhotra MLC and Devinder Rana MLC (senior leaders of the National Conference), Hakim Mohammad Yasin (political advisor to the chief minister),  Peer Mohammad Hussain (former minister and president Peopleís Democratic Front), senior PDP leader and former minister Bharat Bushan, Jugal Kishore (former minister), A R Takroo and Kamal Dev (CPI leaders), Sham Prasad Kesar (CPI-M leader), and Balraj Puri (eminent human rights activist) paid rich tributes to the departed leader.

The speakers described the departed leader as a symbol of democratic and secular values, one who played a prominent role in bringing together the democratic forces for strengthening the federal structure and reshaping the centre-state relationship. Committed to the ideology of scientific socialism, Comrade Jyoti Basu made rich contributions to strengthening the pluralistic and secular ethos of the country by mobilising large sections of political opinion. His lifelong struggle for advancement of the cause of toiling people will be remembered for a long time to come, the speakers said.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of a resolution moved by Ghulam Nabi Malik of the CPI(M).

 

HIMACHAL PRADESH

ON January 20 evening, the state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) organised a condolence meeting in Gaiety Theatre at Shimla, the state capital, where hundreds of people paid their tributes to the veteran communist leader and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Comrade  Jyoti Basu. The speakers included the chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal whose chopper got snagged at Una and he had to come by another chopper to reach the venue.

While paying his condolences to Comrade Jyoti Basu, he said he had learnt a lot from the departed leader. Describing the life of Comrade Jyoti Basu, Dhumal said the best lesson to learn from Basuís life is that he placed his party, the CPI(M), above himself and stuck to its decisions as a disciplined soldier of the party. Referring to other parties including his own, he said it is difficult to emulate Basu at a time when leaders become big and parties go small. Jyoti Basu was just the reverse, Dhumal remarked.

Narender Bragta, horticulture minister of the state, said though there are differences with the Left on ideological terms but the life of Jyoti Basu was exemplary.

Dwelling on the life of the legendary leader, CPI(M) state secretary Rakesh Singha said the one liners of Comrade Jyoti Basu have become a legend. He said Comrade Basu used to tell the party comrades that they must learn from the masses and should not try to be their teachers, and this is the biggest lesson we have to learn from him. He also recalled the glorious role of Jyoti Basu in the strengthening of Indian states. It was at his initiative that various commissions were formed to resolve the centre-state relations and ensure more powers to the states. He further said the state of Himachal has been a weak and a victim state as the major sources of revenue have gone to the centre. The share of the state in hydel projects is not being given either. Thus the demise of Jyoti Basu is a loss for this struggle as well.

Suresh Bhardwaj, the local MLA from Shimla, said while paying his condolences that it was under Comrade Jyotui Basuís leadership that the panchayati raj system got strengthened in West Bengal. Jyoti Basu, according to him, could visualise things in advance, because of which he was also a master of coalition politics. 

The others to speak were Madhu Sud (the mayor of Shimla municipal corporation), Harbhajjan Singh Bhajji (former MLA from Shimla and state general secretary of the Congress party), Adarsh Sud (former mayor, former MLA and leader of the Congress party) and Karam Chand Bhatia.

The trade union leaders who paid their tributes, included Surender Thakur, state president of the BMS. He said the life of Jyoti Basu was an loadstar for the working class of the country. He said Comrade Basu did not become a leader overnight; he initially worked at the ground level, organised the railway workmen and this is how his journey of struggles started.

The INTUC was represented by Mani Baba.

Dr Kashmir Singh Thakur spoke on behalf of the CITU. While commenting on the choice of his profession, he said though Comrade Jyoti Basu had all the material wealth during his childhood days and could have lived quite lavishly, he instead chose the path of Marxism-Leninism. He applied it concretely to the Indian conditions. It was under his leadership that the working class of West Bengal could get several benefits and various boards were formed for their welfare.

Falma Chauhan, state leader of the AIDWA, also shared the dais and narrated the gains the womenís movement has made under his leadership. He laid special emphasis on the movement of lakh of the self-help groups in which women are organised under a separate ministry.

Tikender Singh, a member of the CPI(M) state secretariat, read out the condolence resolution, followed by a minute of silence in mourning. Sanjay Chauhan conducted the proceedings.

 

JHARKHAND

On January 24, the Jharkhand state committee of the CPI(M) organised a tribute march and a condolence meeting in Ranchi as a homage to Comrade Jyoti Basu. Hundreds of party cadres from all over the state and several mass organisations took part in the tribute march, which started from the Sainik Market and went to the Abhinandan Sabhagar after traversing a distance of six kilometres while passing through the Main Road, Albert Ekka Chowk, Kuchery Chowk and Radial Road.

Leaders of the CPI, Forward Bloc, Marxist Coordination Committee, CPI(ML), RJD and JMM, journalists, writers, cultural activists, various sections of society and several academicians also attended the march.

After the march, a condolence meeting was held in the Abhinandan Sabhagar to pay tribute to Comrade Jyoti Basu. CPI(M) state secretary Jnanshankar Majumdar placed a condolence resolution and Comrade Rajendra Singh Munda presided over the condolence meeting.

The meeting recalled Comrade Jyoti Basuís visits to Jharkhand at several occasions. He visited Jamshedpur many times --- in 1957 for an election campaign, in 1958 to support the strike of TISCO workers, and in 1983 to participate in the CITU general Council meeting.

In 1972 he visited the HEC, Ranchi, on the occasion of the CITUís state conference and addressed a public meeting. In 1980 he visited Bundu in Ranchi district for an election campaign and in 1993 he visited Dhanbad to address a public meeting organised by the CPI(M) on the occasion of the state party plenum.