People's Democracy

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


No. 39

September 26, 2010


Four Decades of Study Struggle & Sacrifice

Calls for Strengthening the Battle of Ideas


Ritabrata Banerjee 


ANARCHIC forces had mounted up steep resistance in the early seventies when the journey had begun. Fierce attacks on democratic rights throughout the country and unleashing of semi fascist terror in West Bengal were the predominant trends of that era.  Successfully combating all challenges, the Students’ Federation of India had emerged to be most dominating voice of the students across the country in the last four decades. The four decades of SFI has witnessed its active participation on different issues of the student life and the society which has shaped its onward march to be the strongest and largest representative of the student community in our country. From a membership of one lakh and twenty three thousand during its inception, the organisation today represents more than forty four lakhs of students in the country. And in this eventful journey, innumerable comrades of SFI have made supreme sacrifices in order to hold aloft the banner of ‘Independence, Democracy, Socialism”. Commemorating the glorious ‘Four decades of Study, Struggle and Sacrifice,” SFI vowed that the struggle for the alternative, necessary to build a happy and prosperous India, will be strengthened amidst all obstacles. 




The year 2010 marks the 40th year of the formation of SFI. The journey from 1970 to 2010 has been a remarkable and inspiring one for the progressive student movement. The SFI central executive committee decided to take up various programmes to celebrate and salute these forty years of Study, Struggle and Sacrifice. It was further decided that the programmes would highlight the history and development of the organisation as well as the ideological-political thrust which has been the hallmark of the SFI. 

The inaugural programme in the form of an open rally was held in Kolkata on September 15. Netaji Nagar was chosen as the venue of the meeting. In 1970, the progressive student leadership of different states met at Netajinagar Vidyamandir from June 1-7, discussing about the formation of SFI and a preparatory committee was formed with Biman Basu as the convenor. Later in the month of December (27-30), SFI came into being through the first all India conference held at Tagore Centenary hall, Thiruvanathapuram.


The programme was inaugurated by the founder general secretary of SFI, Biman Basu by waving the flag of ‘Independence, Democracy, and Socialism’. Former all India president, Sitaram Yechury was also present in the programme. The programme will conclude with an open rally in Thiruvanathapuram on January 5, 2011. Programmes will also be held in all the state units. The celebrations will not only highlight the history of the organization, but also inspire the members across the country to fight for the ideals of ‘Independence, Democracy and Socialism,’ which have guided SFI in this eventful journey. 


The rally witnessed a colourful and jubilant participation of a large number of students from the southern districts of the state. Besides Biman Basu and Sitaram Yechury, SFI all India president P K Biju, general secretary Ritabrata Banerjee, West Bengal state secretary Kaustav Chatterjee spoke in the rally. The rally was presided over by the state president, Sayandeep Mitra. 


Biman Basu in his inaugural address said Netaji nagar has been a bastion of the Left and democratic movement in the state. The area which was the abode of the refugees coming from East Bengal fought against all sorts of authority and domination. People assembled and united under the red flag fought for their existence and self esteem. Basu mentioned that during the semi fascist terror of the seventies, forty six activists of the democratic movement were killed only in the Jadavpur- Tollygunge area under which Netajinagar falls. And the legacy of those supreme sacrifices still continues. He pointed out that till date, activists of the student and democratic movement are being killed by forces of anarchy and reaction. After the formation of the seventh Left Front government in the state, 515 leaders and activists of the LF have been killed. And out of this, 290 have been killed after the announcement of the results of last Lok Sabha and till September 14. He noted that the TMC-Maoist nexus has been the mastermind behind these killings. He even apprehended that some more valuable lives may get butchered by the TMC-Maoist mercenaries in the Junglemahal in the time period when he is delivering his speech. 


Biman Basu told the gathering that the imperialist forces like in other parts of the world are gathering all the anti communist, anti left forces in the state. They are active in fabricating false and imaginative stories in order to mislead the people. He talked about the glorious role of the students in anti imperialist struggles and urged them to use all their might in resisting the anti democratic forces of anarchy in order to save the state. These anarchic forces are determined to spread terror to all other parts of the state. He even mentioned the way in which outsiders, by might are trying to capture the elected students unions in the state, which testifies beyond doubt that the TMC does not believe in any democratic principles. There is a concerted effort to snatch the hard earned democratic rights of the students in the state. He urged the students to play their role in combating the false assertions and campaigns made by these forces and to stand firmly by the democratic movement. 


Sitaram Yechury categorically said that the responsibility of tomorrow’s India is on the students. And they have to realise what type of a country is bestowed upon them as the legacy and the way in which they have to develop it. He said SFI has been consistently fighting for education and job for all in a country where seventy seven out of hundred students cannot reach the 12th standard. This is not due to the lack of our intelligence or resources. Such conditions have been created due to the policies persuaded by the ruling classes. Yechury mentioned about two Indias within India. He said that shining India has given birth to the largest number of billionaires in Asia in the last ten years and one of them had built a house by spending four thousand five hundred crores of rupees. In that shining India, the total wealth of fifty two persons is equal to the one fourth GDP of the entire country. On the other hand suffering India is home to 77 per cent of the population earning less than twenty rupees a day. Fifty per cent of the population does not receive adequate food. India stands tallest as far as death through malnutrition is concerned. 78 per cent of the mothers are anaemic. In such  circumstances, if a new India is to be constructed there has to be a change in the existing conditions and hence the policies need to be altered.


Yechury said the central union budget which has given a tax concession of four lakhs ten thousand crores of rupees to the corporate. This amount would have paved the way for establishing schools in all villages of the country. It would have ensured hospital facilities to largest sections of our population. But the centre has refused to tread this path. If the government ignoring the interests of the common man considers the welfare of the capitalists as its priority, then the people will be on the roads in the fight for change in policies.




Yechury said the new India which SFI speaks of needs alternate policies and the fight for the alternative policies is being spearheaded by the Left. The Left Front government is West Bengal is an example of how the alternate policies can be implemented. Yechury categorically mentioned that the US imperialism does not approve of this alternative policies and that is precisely the reason they had given directions for weakening of the Left in India and ousting of the Left Front government in West Bengal. Under their instructions, the reactionary forces ranging from the Maoists to the TMC have all joined hands together. He expressed confidence that the people of West Bengal will give a fitting rebuff to these forces in the upcoming elections. He called upon the students to stand by the LF government and strengthen the fight for the alternatives. He said that the student movement is a theatre where battle of ideas are performed and SFI from its inception has been diligent in strengthening the battle of ideas. Yechury said that in the coming days, the contradictions are going to increase more and in order to strengthen the fight for the alternatives, SFI has to play a leading role. He pointed that the meaning of Independence, Democracy and Socialism holds a greater significance today. He expressed that in this fight the militant students under the banner of SFI will play a glorious role.


Speaking at the rally, SFI all India president and MP, P K Biju said SFI is committed towards the interests of the common students and struggles in this regard are being organised in different parts of the country. He mentioned about the historic win SFI has registered in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh students’ union elections recently. He said SFI will wage a militant struggle throughout the country on the demand of holding students union elections in all states. He noted that consistent struggles are to be continued against the anti student education policies of the central government.


Addressing the rally, SFI general secretary Ritabrata Banerjee spoke about the dominant trends and challenges facing the student movement in the last four decades which has shaped the onward march of the organisation. Speaking about the policies of the central government in the education sector, he mentioned that there is an urgent need to expose these intentions of the government which are being justified in the name of “radical reforms”. He urged the students to wage a thorough and painstaking campaign to explain the dangers which such policies pose to the education sector at large. He said that militant struggles are to be waged to pressurise the government to commit more resources to the education sector and stop its dilly dallying on the long pending demands and withdraw all plans which seek to further the agenda of centralisation and commercialisation of education.


SFI West Bengal state secretary Kaustav Chatterjee and president Sayandeep Mitra also spoke on the occasion.


The rally noted that in the last one and a half years, five leading comrades of SFI have been murdered by the reactionary forces. Comrade A B Bijesh ( Trissur district, Kerala), Comrade Abhijit Mahato, Comrade Tilak Tudu, Comrade Partha Biswas, Comrade Phoolchand Mahato ( West Midnapore district, West Bengal) have laid down their lives fighting for the cause of the students and the people. The rally saluted the comrades and vowed to strengthen the battle of ideas because the undying legacies of the martyrs have proved that enemies can kill our comrades but they cannot kill our ideas. The rally pointed out that the ideas of these comrades remain to be the dominant ideas of the majority of the students in our country.


The leaders expressed that the celebrations will not only highlight the history of the organisation but also inspire the members and newer sections of students across the country to fight for the ideals of Independence, Democracy and Socialism, which have guided SFI in this eventful journey.