People's Democracy

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


No. 05

January 31, 2010



Homage to Jyoti Basu

The following is the text of the condolence resolution passed unanimously at the condolence meeting organised by the Central Committee of the CPI(M) in New Delhi on January 27, 2010.

THIS meeting expresses its profound grief at the passing away of Comrade Jyoti Basu at the age of 95. He was the longest serving chief minister in India, senior most leader of the CPI(M) and one of the tallest leaders of the Communist movement in India. In his death the country has lost one of its greatest sons, a man who spent seven decades in the service of the people.

Jyoti Basu became a Communist while studying law in Britain. He joined the Communist Party of India on his return in 1940. He began working in the railway trade union movement and became an important functionary of the B A Railroad Workers Union and the All India Railwaymen's Federation.  A fighter for the country�s freedom from British rule, he built a strong workers movement against the British. In 1946, he was elected to the Bengal legislative assembly from a railway constituency.

He was the secretary of the West Bengal provincial committee of the CPI from 1953 to 1961. He became a member of the Central Committee of the CPI in 1951. When the CPI (M) was formed he became one of the founder Polit Bureau and Central Committee members, positions he continued in, till his death.

Under his leadership, the Left Front government embarked on land reforms on a scale unprecedented in the country; it instituted a  panchayati  raj system which was radical for its times, which gave the poor peasants and small farmers a say in running the panchayati institutions.  His role of not allowing the police to be used against workers and peasants' struggles was notable.

West Bengal became an oasis of communal harmony and secular values under his leadership. One has to recall how as chief minister he dealt with the situation after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 when violence against Sikhs broke out in various parts of the country, but nothing was allowed to happen in West Bengal. Similarly he dealt firmly with efforts to instigate trouble after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
Jyoti Basu became a symbol for the Left, democratic and secular forces in the country. In West Bengal, the people adored him and respected him for his championing of their cause. He became the role model for all Communists and progressives on how to work in parliamentary institutions and serve the people. During these seven decades of work in the Communist party, he spent three and a half years in prison and two years underground.

Jyoti Basu as chief minister and as  a Left leader played an important role in pushing for restructuring centre-state relations and rallying other chief ministers and political leaders for the cause.

Jyoti Basu had a lifelong association with the trade union movement and was the vice-president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions since its inception in 1970.

He stepped down from the chief ministership in 2000 due to ill health and advanced age. But he continued to work and discharge responsibilities till the end of his life. He became the source of inspiration and a fount of advice for the Party and the Left movement in the country.  Irrespective of political affiliation, across the political spectrum, he was respected by all and accepted as a national leader.

The Left movement in the country was fortunate in having such an accomplished and dedicated leader at the helm of affairs in West Bengal and in the leadership of the CPI(M) for such a long time.  His precious legacy is there for all of us to cherish and nurture.

This meeting salutes the memory of our beloved departed comrade. We pledge to carry forward his cause and work. We convey our heartfelt condolences to his son, Chandan Basu, granddaughters, grandson and other family members.