Jyoti Basu’s sagacity and dynamic leadership was a great source of guidance and inspiration to all by Bishwa Nath Singh.
(.By Bishwa Nath Singh on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 6:21am. )
Jyoti Basu also known as Jyotirindra Basu was a statesman and prominent Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from West Bengal state of India who had distinction to serve as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from June 21,1977 to November 6, 2000 honoring him to be the longest-serving Chief Minister of any Indian state. He was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from the time of the party's founding in 1964 until 2008 and from 2008 until his death in 2010 he had privileged to remain as a permanent invitee to the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) .He was born on July 8, 1914 as Jyotirindra Basu at 43/1 Harrison Road (now Mahatma Gandhi Road) Calcutta (now Kolkata) into an upper middle-class Bengali family in West Bengal of India. His father Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor from the village of Barudi in Narayanganj District, East Bengal (now in Bangladesh), while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife. Basu's schooling started at Loreto School at Dharmatala, Calcutta (now Kolkata), in 1920 at his age of six years. It was there where his father shortened his name and he became Jyoti Basu. However, he was moved to St. Xavier's School in 1925. He had completed his undergraduate education and received the honours in English from the Presidency College of the University of Calcutta.After completing his undergraduate studies in 1935, he had set for England for pursuing his higher studies in Law. It is an open secret that he had attended lectures by Harold Laski at the London School of Economics in late 1930. It was in England that he was introduced to the activities of politics through the Communist Party of Great Britain. There he was inspired by noted Communist philosopher and prolific writer Rajani Palme Dutt. In 1940 he completed his studies and qualified as a Barrister at the Middle Temple after that in the same year he returned to India via Bombay on Jan 1, 1940. From Bombay he came to Calcutta. It was a happy reunion. But when he told his well-wishers about his future career plan to join Communist Party of India all were not only astonished but had become speechless. They, however, left no stone unturned to dissuade him not to join politics but failed. On Jan 20, 1940, he married Basanti (Chabi) Ghosh. On May 11, 1942, His wife Basanti Basu breadthed her last. Her death was a great shock to Basu’s mother who had passed away a few months later. He again got married with Kamal Basu on Dec 5, 1948. She gave birth to a girl child on Aug 31, 1951 at Sishumangal Hospital. Few days later the baby died of diarrhoea and dehydration. She gave birth to her Khoka, who is now known as Chandan in 1952.His student life in London was exemplory.He used to attend lectures of Prof Harold Laski at London School of Economics (LSC). Between 1936 and 1940, he involved himself in various activities in organizing Indian students in U.K. 1936 was the turning point in his life. In 1937, he became a member of India league, Federation of Indian Students in Great Britain. He also joined the London Majlis. Its function was to organize students agitating for India’s independence. Accordingly, in 1938, when Pandit Jawharlal Nehru went to London, he was given responsibility to make arrangement for a meeting with Pandit Nehru and to accord a grand reception to him. After his victory in Tripura Congress Subhas Chandra Bose went to London. On behalf of London Majlis Basu organized a meeting in London. Besides reception, he used to arrange meeting of Indian leaders with Labor Party and Socialist leaders. He established his contact with the Communist Party of Great Britain with the help of Indian friends. He expressed his desire to be a member of Communist Party but Harry Pollitt dissuaded him on the plea that the party in India was declared illegal. So he might face problems on his return to India. However, he was a regular visitor to the meetings of Rajani Palme Datta and others. At the initiative of Communist Party of Great Britain, he had organized a group to teach English to illiterate Indian sailors in slum of East London. It was his first experience to work with poor, illiterate workers. In 1940, CPI was declared illegal in India. He, however, contacted the then leaders of CPI who gave him responsibility to arrange shelter for underground leaders, meetings etc. In fact he was a liaison between underground and outside leaders. He did the job neatly. In the first legal conference of CPI – which was held in 1943 in Indian Association Hall, he was selected as a Provincial Committee Organizer. In the fourth state conference of the party he was elected to the Provincial Committee. In 1944 he got involved in trade union activities when CPI assigned him to work amongst the Railway laborers. No sooner, B.N. Railway Workers Union and B.D. Rail Road Workers Union merged together and emulated in one union, he had become the General Secretary of the union. In 1944, Basu was entrusted with the responsibility of organising workers of Bengal – Assam Railway. In 1948, he was elected as Vice-President of AIRF in its conference held at Lilooah. In BPTUC Conference held in Calcutta on March 21, 1953 he placed the report of the Secretary. In 1946, during the communal riot , Mahatma Gandhi came to Beliaghata where he accompanied by Bhupesh Gupta, met Mahatma Gandhi and sought his advice for formation of an all party peace committee and organizing a Peace March. In 1951, when the ban on CPI was lifted he became the President of the Editorial Board of the Swadhinata (Bengali mouth piece of CPI). In 1953, he was unanimously elected the Secretary of the State Committee of CPI. He was elected to the Central Committee in Madurai Congress in 1954. In Palghat Congress he was elected to Central Secretariat. In Amritsar Congress (1958), he was elected to National Council. In 1964, he was suspended along with thirty one members of the National Council. After split of CPI he joined the CPI(M) and was elected to its Central Committee and Polit-Bureau. Since then he has adorned those two posts. He is also a member of P.C. WB and State Secretariat elected in different conferences. When the CITU was formed he joined the organization and was elected as one of its Vice-Presidents in the W.B. State Committee moreover he had honor to be one of the Vice-Presidents of All India CITU Committee. In the foundation conference of CITU, in 1970, he was chairman of the Reception Committee. In 1946, he was elected to the Bengal Assembly from the Railway Constituency which comprised B.N. Rly. Except Assam. He served as the Leader of Opposition for a long time when Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy was the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Basu's admirable eloquence both as an M.L.A and the Leader of Opposition drew the attention of Dr. B. C. Roy and he had a strong affection for this young leader though his stand was completely contrary to the policies of the then State Government run by Dr. Roy. He had led one after another agitations against the State Government and earned enviable popularity as a politician particularly among the students and youth. Besides organizing the movements of the Railway Labourers, he led a movement by the teachers demanding a hike in salary. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, he became one of the first nine members of the Politburo of the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist) . He had played a very active role in the stormy days of 1946–47 when Bengal witnessed the Tebhaga movement, workers strikes and even communal riots. He was the secretary of the West Bengal Provincial Committee of the Party from 1953 to January 1961. He was elected to the Central Committee of the Party in 1951. He was a member of the Politburo from 1964 onwards. He was elected as a special invitee to PB in 19th Congress of the Party in 2008.After the country gained independence, he was elected to the assembly from Baranagar in 1952. He was elected to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1991 and 1996. Though an elected member, Basu was arrested several times during the 1950s and 60s and for certain periods he went underground to evade arrest by the police.In 1962, Jyoti Basu was one amongst the thirty two members of the National Council who walked out of the meeting. When the CPI(M) was formed in 1964 as a result of the ideological struggle within the Communist movement, he had become a member of the Politburo. He was, in fact, the last surviving member of the "Navaratnas", the nine members of the first Politburo. The leftist section, to which the thirty two National Council members belonged, organized a convention in Tenali in Andhra Pradesh State from July 7 ,1964 to July 11,1964 It was here where the radical sections of party further showed their pro-Chinese stand. The Tenali convention was marked by the display of a large portrait of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. During 1967 and 1969, he served as the Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments. In 1967, after the defeat of the Congress Government, he was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister under the Chief Minister ship of Ajoy Mukherjee. In 1970, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at the Patna railway station. Though CPI(M) became the single largest party in the assembly elections in 1971, the party was refused the chance to form a ministry and Presidents' Rule was imposed in West Bengal.Through the 1972 elections the Congress returned to power in West Bengal. he as a result lost the elections from the Baranagar Assembly Constituency. Jyoti Basu was forced to boycott the elections. He had famously declared the new assembly as "assembly of the frauds" and CPI(M) boycotted the assembly for the next five years. Jyoti Basu belonged to the leadership of the CPI M) which steered the Party through the difficult days of semi-fascist terror in West Bengal in the early seventies.After the sweeping victory of the Left Front in 1977, he became the Chief Minister of the Left Front government, a position he held continuously for more than 23 years, a record in the country from June 21, 1977, to November 6, 2000. He had served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the Left Front Government. Under his leadership, the Left Front government embarked on land reforms on a scale unprecedented in the country; it instituted a panchayati raj system which was radical for its times, which gave the poor peasants and small farmers a say in running the panchayati institutions. West Bengal became an oasis of communal harmony and secular values under his leadership. One has to recall how as Chief Minister he dealt with the situation after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 when violence against Sikhs broke out in various parts of the country, but nothing was allowed to happen in West Bengal. Similarly he dealt firmly with efforts to instigate trouble after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. In 1996 Jyoti Basu seemed all set to be the consensus leader of the United Front for the post of Prime Minister of India. However, the CPI(M) Politburo decided not to participate in the Union Government, a decision that Jyoti Basu had later stated to be a historic blunder. H.D. Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal instead became the Prime Minister of India Due to his falling health, Jyoti Basu resigned from the Chief Minister ship of West Bengal in 2000 and was succeeded by fellow CPI(M) politician Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. His second wife Kamala Basu had ea passed away on October 1,2003 As of 2011[update], he had held the record for being the longest-serving Chief Minister in Indian political history.Though, his Left Front Govt. faced serious allegations about decline of West Bengal's manufacturing industry and a rise in the urban poverty headcount and massive unemployment and law and order problem especially killing of seventeen Ananda Margiis under broad daylight at Bijon Setu, Kasba, Kolkata in 1982 stills remain an unsolved mystery as who had killed them as the news had stunned the whole world on April 30, 1982. On January 1, 2010, he fell seriously ill and was admitted to AMRI hospital at Bidhannagar in Kolkata where he was diagnosed suffering with pneumonia On January 16,2010, his health condition had become extremely critical as he was suffering from multiple organ failure as revealed by Hospital Authorities. Seventeen days later after being taken ill, he had passed away on January 17, 2010 at 11:47 A.M. IST. Much before his passing away, he had pledged to donate his body and eyes for medical research on April 4, 2003 at a function organized by Ganadarpan and Susrut Eye Foundation in Kolkata and not to be burnt at a crematorium. On his death, his eyes are donated to Susrut Eye Foundation. His body was handed over to SSKM Hospital, Kolkata for research on January 19,2010 around 16:50 PM ( IST )after a Guard of Honor at the nearby Moharkunja park (formerly, citizens' park ) at Kolkata.The hospital authority was considering to preserve his brain. His death was followed by public mourning at an unprecedented scale. Draped in the national flag, His dead body was driven through the streets of Kolkata on a gun carriage. However, the time schedule went awry in his last moments as thousands of people thronged the streets of central Kolkata to pay their last respects to the Marxist veteran. Police and volunteers wore a helpless look as a sea of people poured in from every possible corner of the city. The President of India Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister of India Dr.Man Mohan Singh led the nation in mourning the death of the Marxist leader. Tributes poured in from politicians across the country. As mark of respect to him, West Bengal Govt. had notified the Rajarhat New Town located in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal( one of India's latest and fastest-growing planned new cities ) to rename as Jyoti Basu Nagar on October 7,2010.Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to His lotus feet and respectful homage to Him as such person seldom comes on this worldly earth to serve human-beings for cause of humanity!
Photos: (1)Jyoti Basu who was born on July 8,1914 and died on Jan.17,2010. (2)Jyoti BasuChief Minister of West Bengal in office from June 21,1977 to November 6, 2000. and (3)Jyoti Basu, a legendary figure who was an Atheist.
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Jyoti Basu, the former Chief Minister of West Bengal State of India had believed that it is a person alone who creates history, in spite of many crest and thrust people will finally emerge victorious and go in freedom in a classless society... free from exploitation of any form. He was a widely traveled person who toured round different parts of the World representing party or CITU and at times he specially toured round the Western world in search of investment in West Bengal. He had penned down large number of articles published in party journals. He wrote his Memories – a Political Biography, Moreover his essays mainly in Bengali were compiled and published in all five volumes. Though, he was an atheist but he loved and respected religious values of all religions. He was indeed a great man rarely born on this worldly earth. Let us pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to Him!
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Vinay Sharma Thanks to Jyoti Basu and Procrastination Attitude of Communism , West Bengal is one of least trusted, worst developed state of Modern India.