People's Democracy

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


No. 09

March 02, 2014



Seamen Observe Jyoti Basu Centenary


Manoj Yadav


ON February 10, 2014, the Forward Seamenís Union of India (FSUI) organised a meeting at Mumbai, Maharashtra, to commemorate the birth centenary of late Comrade Jyoti Basu. Those who attended the meeting included FSUI president A B Das, its general secretary Sadhan Kanjilal, Anil Prabhu (general secretary of the National Bank Employees Union), Bushan Patel (secretary, WTWFI and trustee, JNPT), Preeti Sekhar (secretary, DYFI Maharashtra state unit), L F Mohammed, Pudlik Tandel and Suresh Mohite (vice presidents, FSUI), Manoj Yadav (secretary, FSUI), Vasat Kamble (adviser, FSUI) and Sushil Devrucker (organising secretary, FSUI).


Addressing the gathering, the speakers threw light on the life and thought late Comrade Jyoti Basu who was one of the founder members of the CITU and its vice president for a long time.


Comrade Jyoti Basu was born on July 8, 1914 in an upper middle class Bengali family in Kolkata. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor who hailed from village Barodi in Dhaka district, now in Bangladesh. Jyoti Basu received his school education at St Xavierís Collegiate School, graduated from the Hindu College (later the Presidency Collage and now a university) with an honours degree in Arts in 1935, and subsequently travelled to the United Kingdom to study law at London. Jyoti Basu was a member of the Indian League at London, a member of the Federation of Indian Students in Great Britain and secretary of the London Majlis. There he was introduced to the Communist Party of Great Britain. He returned to India in 1940 after as a qualified barrister and, but instead of practising law, he became a wholetimer of the Communist Party of India. In 1944, Basu became involved in trade union activities and the Communist Party deputed him to work among the railway workers. When the B N Railway Workers Union and the B D Rail Road Workers Union merged, Basu became the general secretary of the union. Contesting from the railway constituency, Jyoti Basu was elected to the Bengal legislative assembly in 1946.


When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, Jyoti Basu became one of the first nine members of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 1967 and 1969, Basu was the deputy chief minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments. From June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, Jyoti Basu served as the chief minister in the Left Front government of West Bengal.


Basu resigned from the position of chief minister of West Bengal in 2000 on health grounds, and has thus been the so far longest serving chief minister of an Indian state. Basu believed that it is people who create history and that, despite many ups and downs, the people would finally emerge victorious and usher into a classless society free from exploitation in any form.


Basu also served as secretary of the Friends of Soviet Union (FSU) and of the Anti-Fascist Writers and Artists Association. This veteran Marxist leader breathed his last on January 17, 2010, at the age of 95.


Pledging to make efforts to learn from the life and work of Comrade Jyoti Basu, the participants stood for a minute in silence to pay homage to Comrade Jyoti Basu.