People's Democracy

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


No. 31

July 05, 2012


Comrade Pitabasan Das


COMRADE Pitabasan Das, veteran leader of the peasant movement and the communist movement in West Bengal, passed away on the night of July 14, 2012, at the age of 77. He was elected to the Central Kisan Committee (CKC) in 2000 and again in 2006, and continued in the CKC till he retired on health grounds in 2010.



Paying its homage to the departed leader, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) had said in his passing away the peasant movement and the broader democratic movement has lost an inspirational leader who, through his spartan life and affable character, endeared himself to all who came in touch with him during his long political career. The AIKS dipped its banner in his memory.


The statement issued on the day by AIKS president S Ramachandran Pillai and general secretary K Varadha Rajan said Comrade Das began his political career as a college student in the 1950s when he became actively involved with the student movement. He later worked as a school teacher and was simultaneously involved in organising the peasantry in Amta region of Howrah district. He played a significant role in organising the agricultural workers, sharecroppers and toiling peasants, and led the movement for ensuring irrigation facilities in the region. Later he quit his teaching job and devoted fully to the peasant movement and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) by becoming a wholetimer.


Comrade Das was elected to the state committee of the Paschim Banga Krishak Sabha in 1982 and went on to become its joint secretary in 1989. He also served as the vice-president of the Krishak Sabha from 1992 to 2009. Comrade Pitabasan Das recognised the need and importance of crop-specific or section-specific organisations and he played a seminal role in organising the fish workers, betel leaf growers, flower growers and peasants engaged in horticulture. He was secretary of the West Bengal Fishermen’s Organisation from 1985 to 2007, became the first convenor of All India Fish and Fishery Workers’ Federation in 2001 and was elected its president at its first all-India conference in 2007. He was elected president of the Paschim Banga Panchasi Samity (Betel Growers’ Federation) at its first conference in 1984 and continued in this capacity till 2003. He was convenor of Flower Growers’ Sub-Committee of Krishak Sabha from 1992 till his death. 


He was well-known for his ability to come up with innovative sustainable practices that enhanced the incomes of the peasantry and his effort to develop medicines and drinks from betel with the help of researchers and universities is particularly noteworthy. He also contributed a lot in developing colour and other produces from flowers, with help from Jadavpur University in particular.


Comrade Pitabasan Das became a member of the Howrah district committee of undivided Communist Party in 1963 and then of the CPI(M). He became a district secretariat member in 1985 and was elected to the West Bengal state committee of the party in 1993. He continued till 2008 when he retired due to ill health. He continued as a member of Howrah district committee till his death. In keeping with his wish, his body was donated for medical research. The AIKS has expressed heartfelt condolences to his family members and all his comrades in the movement.