(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 31, 2010
Comrade Jyoti Basu , Torch Bearer Of The Down Trodden
M K Pandhe
shocking news of passing away of Jyoti Basu put the entire
toiling people in
nearly seven decades, Jyoti Basu consistently fought for the rights of
trodden. His upbringing in an upper strata family did not come in his
devoting his entire life for the working people of
When I joined the central office of the AITUC in 1958, I had several occasions to meet him during AITUC meetings. He was critical of Dange’s pro-Nehru policies and individual style of functioning . In Mumbai conference of the AITUC in 1966, he was elected as the general council member of AITUC and attended meetings regularly despite his other pressing commitments. He did not frequently speak in these meetings but whenever he spoke he was forthright in expressing views. Jyoti Basu could make an impact on the organisation since his views were greatly respected.
it was found impossible to remain in the AITUC due to undemocratic
Dange’s functioning, it was decided to hold a national convention in
On the eve of the founding convention of the CITU at Kolkata, Jyoti Basu was elected as chairman of the reception committee and made an inspiring speech before over 4000 delegates. In the convention he was elected as vice-president of the CITU, a post he held till his death. He visited almost all the states in connection with CITU state conferences and general council meetings and popularised the policies of the CITU .
after he became chief minister of
one of his public meetings in
the semi-fascist terror in
During the Emergency period, Jyoti was denied guest house accommodation by the Bhilai Steel Plant management. He willingly stayed in the quarters of an employee in the Steel Plant.
When Jyoti Basu became chief minister and visited Bhilai for a rally, Bhilai Steel Plant Management offered him guest house facilities. He however refused to accept the hospitality and stayed in the retiring room of the railway station. A large number of workers assembled at Durg railway station to see the chief minister staying in railway retiring room. The local press wrote against Bhilai Steel Plant management for their treatment to him in the past.
The chief executive of the plant came to meet Jyoti Basu and profusely apologised for the past behavior of the management. He told them that next time he would accept their hospitality but not that time. When CITU working committee meeting was held at Bhilai next time, Jyoti stayed in the BSP Guest House. The management learnt the lesson by his behavior on the issue.
During his speeches in the trade union meetings, Jyoti Basu laid special emphasis on the democratic functioning of trade unions. He used to sharply criticise the bossism in trade union movement and point out how such tendency stifled the growth of trade union movement itself.
He always encouraged workers taking higher and higher positions in the unions. “ If the workers cannot function their own union, then how can they lead the struggle for social revolution” he used to ask.
he read the CITU document on Organisation passed at
chief minister of
On a number of issues when the central government were involved in disputes, Jyoti Basu wrote several letters to the central government in support of the demands of the workers and advocating settlement of the dispute.
As the chief minister, Jyoti Basu was invited by the chambers of commerce and employers’ organisations. He always advised the employers to implement the labour laws and take steps to improve the working and living conditions of the workers. He never criticised trade unions in the gatherings of employers.
Jyoti Basu’s categorical assurance that police would not interfere in industrial disputes had immensely helped the trade unions in achieving success in their struggles. However, he always emphasised the need to implement the agreed norms of production by the trade unions. In several meetings, he stressed the need to ensure discipline in industry in view of the Left Front government adopting a pro-worker policy.
There were some instances of unjust gheraos by the workers when Jyoti Basu as a chief minister intervened and called upon the workers to lift the gherao and he later intervened to arrive at an amicable settlement.
RECOGNITION OF TUs
BY SECRET BALLOT
was in Jyoti Basu’s tenure that policemen were given the right to form
No where in
Consultation with trade unions was a hallmark of his labour policy. Even on some specific issues, he was consulting INTUC unions. Such process of consultations was conducive to improve the labour relations in the state.
When Jyoti Basu found that during some years the total number of man-days lost due to lock-outs were more than the man-days lost due to strike in West Bangal, he called upon the employers not to resort to lockouts arbitrarily in industrial undertakings. When he saw that some industrial houses were not depositing the provident fund contribution with the authorities, he called upon the employers’ organisations to ensure that all their members regularly deposit with the authorities the outstanding PF dues.
Basu continued to be president of some unions in
was easily accessible to trade unions in the
The new generation of trade union activists have much to learn from Jyoti Basu’s illustrious life. The message his life has given to the younger generation will continue to inspire lakhs of trade union activists in their forthcoming struggles.
On the eve of his last days, Jyoti Basu saw a remarkable unity of the trade union movement to fight class battles to protect their legitimate interests. As a strong advocate of working class unity, Jyoti Basu must have been happy to note these developments.
Let us learn from his valuable life's mission and carry forward the struggle till we achieve the objective of ending exploitation of man by man!
Long Live Jyoti Basu!!