People's Democracy

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


No. 37

September 12, 2010


Indoor Stadium Packed on

Commemoration of Martyrs’ Day

                        B Prasant


BEFORE we go at some detail into the CPI(M) and Left Front leaders’ addresses to the absolutely packed-to-overflowing indoor stadium in the heart of Kolkata, on 31 August 2010, let us quote some important if grief-ridden statistics – and dwell on the their political impact. 


From 1 September 2009 until now, over 200 CPI(M) leaders-workers-supporters have been brutally done to death in Bengal, at the merciless and hired hands of armed goons in the pay-and-patronage of the left sectarians, the right reactionaries, and their combined gangs of the night. The murder, the latest occurrence, in broad daylight of a school teacher, Comrade Dibakar Mahato at Salboni in Midnapore west, in front of students, on 4 September, and the photo run by even the corporate press of the comrade who yet clutched a pen in his right hand, has a million stories to tell.


The figure is politically important because these were not, could never be, part of the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the country, and Bengal is never an island of excellence in a sea of mayhem.  On the other hand, the political fall-out, as we are witness to it, has been considerable with people unshackling themselves of the chains of fear and trepidation clamped around them and countering very effectively the attack on their daily lives and livelihoods, in the jangal mahal in particular, but also elsewhere in the state.


The political import of the martyrs’ columns now vigilant for ever in the towns and villages across what is now a climatologically but not politically arid Bengal, has been that this is the first time ever that so many of our comrades had to embrace martyrdom within the calendar span of a year, since the coming to office of the Bengal Left Front government, riding the crest of a popular surge for change, in the fateful months way back in 1977.


For the record, on 31 August 1951, the then Dr B C Roy-led Congress state government had bludgeoned to death – bullets, the then top police brass had commented, proved an ‘expensive proposition’ –  no less than 80 hungry men, women, children who formed part of the three-lakh-strong ‘march for food’ onto what was then Calcutta, from all over the state. This is the reason why the day is nurtured into the memories of the Communist Party and the left parties as the ‘martyrs’ day,’ for ever afterwards.


The tone of the indoor rally was certainly set by chief minister of Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who called the Trinamuli outfit and its cohorts as creatures who thrived on lies, untruth, and deception. Buddhadeb was sharply critical of the goings on in the principal opposition party where one leader sat at the top of the heap and others sat at the supremo’s feet, helpless, lacking independent initiative, even a difference of opinion — or be damned for ever.


Quoting the more blatant of the lies with which the chieftain of the opposition went to town recently, splashed duly across the docile and compromised corporate-run print and television media, Buddhadeb pointed to the shameless untruths uttered by that worthy union minister on the fire at the Stephens’ Court, the so-called attempt at communal riots in Kolkata, and the series of railway mishaps, chief amongst them the killing incident of the Gyaneswari Express, and finally, crucially, the tale told with élan that the chief’s convoy was ‘breached’ by a truck for purposes of doing bodily harm to the worthy.


The outfit stands on lies and deception, slanders and untruth – how much longer would the democratic-minded people of Bengal tolerate the ways that they see unfold in an ugly manner before their very eyes, every hour, every day? The CPI(M) and the Left were able to frustrate, taking the masses of the people along, a similar campaign in the seventies in Bengal, and had been then swept to office, decisively. A few simple souls even now would not question the lie campaign going on and the reactionaries as well as their left deviationist allies. It is their goodwill that the enemies of the people cashed their political cheques on, hoping to draw political dividends.


The state has had to pay dearly for these calculated if fatal antics of a single individual and her docile columns. There has been no motor car industry in Singur. Nandigram was over run by the right-left combination of the Trinamulis and the self-styled ‘Maoists.’ Normal rhythm of life was violently upset in the jangal mahal, and only now that the people have turned to face the enemy rather than continue with the poor quality of life under siege-like conditions.  The forces of violence must be stopped in their predatory tracks or they will cause ruination to visit the state, he said.


Buddhadeb was bitterly opposed to the policies of the union government that would cause food prices to skyrocket and haunt the common person while at the same time ensuring that the public distribution system was dismantled brick by brick. The fact that foodgrains rotted away in union government-run storage facilities and godowns appeared to be of little worry to the Manmohan Singh government.  The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member also criticised the union government’s outlook when he said that it would not cooperate with the state on the issue of 100 days’ of work under NREGA.


Biman Basu, secretary of the Bengal CPI(M) and chairman of the Bengal Left Front did not mince words when he began his brief if important address by delineating the conditions prevailing in the country, and the victim of which was the state of Bengal as well.  Biman Basu said that there existed a terrible food crisis and crisis of agriculture throughout the country. The prices of essential commodities were climbing upwards by leaps.  Forward trading ruined commerce.  The rationing system has been allowed to break down in incremental, fatal, doses of policy decisions.


In the political realm, the CPI(M) leader pointed to the waves of attacks on the democratic people and on democratic movements and struggles in Bengal. The  attempt is to create a maelstrom of confusion amongst the people by spreading slanders and lies of every heinous kind. The kisan and the khet-mazdoor, the worker and the employee, faced the terror filled nights that brought back the bad dreams of the seventies.  The task of the day was to stay vigilant, stay warned, and to keep at bay the armed assaults being perpetrated with the specific political aim of breaking the political back of popular opinion. And the slogan mouthed for achieving this is ‘either you are with us we shall bash your head in.’ Biman Basu spoke about the need to approach the masses and build up deeper, daily contact with them and to adhere to the class outlook all the while.


Other Left Front leaders who addressed the massive gathering were Ashok Ghosh (FB), Kshiti Goswami (RSP), Swapan Banerjee (CPI), Pratim Chatterjee (FB-M), Janmenjoy Ojha (SP), Sunil Chaudhuri (Biplabi Bangla Congress), Rampada Samanta (DSP), Subhas Roy (RCPI).