People's Democracy

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


No. 46

November 14, 2010

A Role Model CPI(M) Legislator


IT is only because of him, a cycle stand was allowed to remain in place in the Bihar state assembly building till some years ago. At 84 years of age, Vasudev Singh, CPI(M) second term MLC from Darbhanga teachers constituency, now no longer pedals his way to the state assembly building. He instead takes a cycle rickshaw to reach the assembly building during sessions. One cannot but sympathise with the police guards at the assembly gate who refused to believe Vasudev Singh was an MLC and tried to push him away from the gate as an impostor. The poor guard, like every other guard at assembly gates, are so used to see netas zip around in flashy cars that it must indeed have been hard to believe. When Vasudev ji fell on the ground, the chief minister was shaken and had to apologise for the incident and a separate ferry service was put into service henceforth for taking this CPI(M) legislator from the gate into the assembly building.


This illustrates the kind of man Vasudev Singh is, a humble, down to earth, committed fighter for people's cause. I was fortunate to witness first hand all these qualities while travelling with him during election campaign in a cycle rickshaw, seven-seater auto and a rickety bus back to Patna from Motihari. Myself and another Party leader never had to slow down our pace to let Vasudev ji catch up with us. His popularity also was visible as Party leaders from adjoining constituencies eagerly sought his presence for election campaign.


Born in Vasudevpur Chandpura village in Begusarai, Vasudev Singh joined the 1942 Quit India movement at an early age. He came in touch with Comrade Brahm Dev, a CPI leader who had shoot at sight orders issued by the British against him. He joined the Communist Party in 1952 and continues in the CPI(M) since then. Actually, Vasudev Singh could not pursue his education after middle school due to poor finances of the family. Only by giving tuitions to children of well to do families, he could complete his studies. And that was how he ended up as a school teacher also.


Given his politics, he organised the teachers under the umbrella of BSTA and became Begusarai district secretary of that organisation. He quit his job and continued the union activity. He was fielded by the CPI(M) from Begusarai constituency in 1980 which he lost by 2500 votes. Once again, he was the Party candidate in 1990 but this time he won defeating the state home minister. He remained an MLA during 1990-1995 during which period his simplicity and persuasive manner of raising issues in the assembly were noted by one and all. Later he contested as MLC in 1996 from Darbhanga teachers constituency that comprises of four districts. His popularity and respect for him  among the teachers is so high that he won again from this constituency in 2002 and 2008.


Vasudev Singh lives in a single room in the Bihar Secondary Teachers Association (BSTA) building in Patna, sharing it with two guest beds for teachers coming to the capital on work! Almost a quarter of his bed is filled with rows of books and papers. An illustration of his voracious reading habit. Asked about his family, he told that he is no longer on talking terms with his lone son. The reason being that the son holds a grudge that as an MLA his father has not done anything to 'settle' him properly. His son, Ajay Kumar, works as a clerk in a school in Begusarai while  daughter-in-law is also a clerk in a college there. That is the kind of probity in public life which earns Vasudev Singh the respect he commands in the state. Despite his participation in the Quit India movement, he has not taken the freedom fighter pension from the government as per Party norms. He pays the levy amount promptly as per Party norms for elected representatives.


“Becoming a communist is a life long process. One cannot become a communist without having a feeling of comradeship nor by just taking membership. We have to constantly strive to be a good communist”, this is the advice Vasudev Singh has for Party members.

(N S Arjun)