Jyoti Basu breathed his last on 17th Jan., 2009 around noon, after completing 95 years, and about to step into 96th. He bequeathed not only his life but also his body. In just one week we have witnessed the response the People, the Nation and our own Bangalore paid to his memory. The fact that it has triggered a sense of dedication in senior citizens to queue up to donate their bodies and our premier institution NIMHAS expressing a desire to research on his brain, make him a rare human being,a successful people’s politician.
While brain researchers, at NIMHANS expressed a desire to have his brain for research for posterity, the SSKM Hospital in Kolkatta has got the entire body. The life he lived and created is more important than the body and even the brain. This is not to belittle his desire to donate his body for research and the scientists and humanity no doubt will be benefited by that. But his gigantic achievements as a leader of the working class movement of the country - the success in transforming the rural Bengal free from the exploitation, by redeeming the peasants from the clutches of feudalism, the model his party with him at the collective leadership in Kolkata could bring about in Indian Politics are all should attract more attention for those of us who are dedicated to understand and apply such a line to bring about people oriented changes in our Parliamentary System, Nation, and in our own areas of attention / specialization.
His life was fully dedicated to the service of People. Thus he became the embodiment of the hopes and aspirations, spirited commitment, the resolute activism and whatever achievements or failures the People could make. His life remained inseparable from the cause of the people of Bengal and the whole Country.
There are a number of notable achievements made by the People of West Bengal through the collective leadership of the working class party and rare quality and personality of Jyoti Batu. Of them the Glorious Path Bengal has trodden, in extra-parliamentary activities, of mass movements, of workers playing the leading role and in carrying with them the peasants, in the result making notable achievements for them and for the people in general. And this distinct path is incomplete without the usage of such strength of the working people, peasants and democratic segments in conducting repeated foray into parliamentary arena only to make use of that strength of `constitutional governance’ in the interest of the people and towards this to strengthen further the mass movement. The multiplier effect of this dialectical approach had laid the path forever to be a model. And Jyoti Basu became the quintessence of this distinct line.
It was not a Garden Path, and as all paths to eternity it was strewn with so much thorns, challenges, blockades, all of which were surmounted successfully by the People, for the People and thus Bengal became the advanced post of democracy of the People. Under Jyoti’s determined leadership, acting coolly the People faced all these challenges and shaped their lives: Whatever sacrifices the People of Bengal had undergone in this half a century of the crucible of mass struggles and mass empowerment, also contributed immensely to shaping such a line for the rest of the country. The fact that such a line could not be applied for several other states or for the Country as a whole, is not his failure, but of the collective, of which he was a decisive part, acting regionally making others to raise the alert, `EAST IS RED’ in the early seventies itself.
This in essence is the skill in combining the Extra Parliamentary Activity which is the main force, and in utilising the Parliamentary Opportunities. And facing the challenges and surmounting all the opposition against the People’s Interests, step by step and sometime by leaps and bounds. In Bengal the formation of UF Ministry of Bengal, with Ajoy Mukherji of Bengla Congress as CM, and Jyoti Basu as the Dy.CM and Home Minister in1967 was such a leap. It resulted in laying down the police policy, in unleashing the power of the working class struggles, both to shape their own lives, not to rest on the oars but to row faster to benefit Rural Bengal.
The challenges of 1969, 1971 facing which the Party doubled its strength each time the Ministry was dismissed and re-elected. A small step by Working People of Bengal but a Giant Leap for the entire country, achieved during this period of turmoil in Kolkata was the establishment of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, having come out from the mother organisation AITUC, unable to bear the self-defeating collaboration, and denial internal of democracy by then collaborative leadership of the premier working class organisation in the Country. Needless to say that CITU’s formation was resisted by then AITUC’s leadership by refusing to hold the 1970 session at Kolkata by then leader S.A.Dange openly refusing to hold the AITUC session at Kolkata saying that Jyoti Basu’s Police will forcibly take over AITUC. Dange knew that it was not the police but the delegates of Bengal and the rest of the country who would have taken over AITUC and saved it as a unified, democratic organisation acting in the interests of the working people and the country. The very policy of CITU was contained in its birth mark of UNITY and STRUGGLE coined by the founding fathers, BTR & PR. While BTR gave the resounding slogan of inner organisational democracy in that he declared that `the unions shall be the fortress of its members and not the fiefdom of its leaders”. Although, the immediate aim of making such a declaration was facing the challenge of then AITUC leadership which considered it as their fiefdom, and in denying the working people democratic rights to shape their own organisation. Thus it was such a line by the collective leadership of the working class party, which helped Jyoti to make such massive achievements.
The stakes during this period was facing the tremendous opposition, of the entire ruling class of the country. It was represented by the `progressive’ Iron Lady, acting with the help of a divided left opinion in the country, the CPI going whole hog with her, the naxalites wielding the open daggers behind the necks of thousands of CPI(M)’s cadres. And the ruling class of the Country created the Chatra Parishad of which the firebrand Mamta was the leader, (presently as Trinamool Chief) and the misguided left and Mamta’s chatra parishads, launched and sustained the physical attacks as Jyoti’s Police were prevented from attacking the People.
Even though in 1971 assembly elections held after Ajoy Mukherji Govt’s dismissal on the pretext of the CM himself sitting on protest against his own Ministry, CPI (M) won as the single largest party with 118 seats, they not only foisted PC Sen’s minority ministry making use of the Authoritarian action by Governor Dharma Veera, but unleashed such a terror on the working people by turning the police against them joined by hoodlums of the left and the right. And they consummated it in 1972 by `subverting parliamentary democracy’ in Bengal in 1972, after PC Sen’s Govt could not last long. They found an apt leader in Siddhartha Shankar Ray, another Barrister, as opposed to Jyoti Basu the Barrister of the People, who abandoned the robes and became the Tribune of the People. Ray not only led the opposition to the people but also brought together all the reactionary forces from Chatra Parishad to Naxalites and succeeded in weaning away the CPI with him. And thus the counter leap, or reactionaries success in subverting Parliamentary Democracy in 1972 was achieved. CPI(M) which had won 118 seats in 1971 elections, were declared to have been defeated in all the 118 seats, including Bara Bazar Jyoti’s Fortress like Constituency, in which, except in this Terror and subversion of parliamentary democracy, he was never defeated. The period thereafter was characterised by the Party as the period of Semi-Fascist Terror. For five years Bengal had an eclipse of Democracy and free run of terror. CPI(M) lost almost 2000 cadres to the knife wielding naxalites, chatra parishat hoodlums, aided and abetted by what was then called the right communists and the socialists had abandoned the left and joined the rightists in the Grand Alliance all over the country. Thus was completed mahajyot of the right and left of leftists, the left and right of the rightists, all to isolate, beat the Jyoti and his movement. They declared through the pronouncement of Ghani Khan Choudhry of Malda, the modern war lord from the erstwhile Navabdom of Bengal based then at Murshidabad, to throw out to them to `The Bay of Bengal’.
There were certain issues,which the party had to grapple with,then. It must be remembered that the National Sentiments expressed in the form of `Sonar Bengla’ which led to defeat of the West Pakistan’s forces at East Pakistan, the defeat of the Pak Army and surrender of Niazi with then General Manekshaw leading the Indian Army, the release of Bangabandhu from Pakistani Prison and his installation as the Prime Minister of Bengla Desh etc had been a synchronous happenings in the life of Bengal `National Resurgence’. While the ruling classes acted to help the Bengla Desh to liberate itself, these very forces continued to oppress the People of West Bengal. Naturally, the party considered the relevance of right to self determination of Nationalities, which was ingrained in the Party Programme of 1964.
It goes to the credit of Indian Marxists to have debated this very National Question at the 9th Congress of the Party held in 1972 to amend the Party Programme by declaring that the Right to Secession is inessential for a Marxist Programme, that Right to Secession is to be exercised only against an Empire, which free India is not, that the Indian People are not oppressed by any single nationality in India, that the ruling classes are from the entire Nation and no single Nationality is the oppressor and hence no single Nationality is the oppressed and therefore in essence Bengal cannot take the mite of the entire State Machinery on its people and any thought and deed in that direction would pave way for dismemberment of the Nation. Bengal Movement was thus held back from the brink of disaster, and Sonar Bengla remained a distant dream. Had it not been for unified and correct understanding of the Party,the later experience to counter the imperialist plot of `balkanisation of India’ could not have been effectively met by the unity of the people.If this had not been done the Assamese agitation, the Khalistan Movement, and present the separatist forces of J & K could not have been effectively neutralised. That Jyoti Basu was one of the nine PBMs, fondly referred to by CPI(M) Comrades as Nava Ratnas, a collective which acted in defence of the unity and diversity of our country. This no way relaxed their vigil in the interests of the People and they did not slip into chauvinism and surrendering the Rights of the People, as several others did.
The extension of semi fascist-terror in West Bengal, did not receive wider condemnation of Indian Democrats or Civil Rights activists, except Jayaprakash Narayan. Even C.Rajagopalachari who condemned the dismissal of EMS Ministry in 1957 was not effective this time. The Syndicate Congress, the Swatanthra Party, the Lok Dal of Charan Singh and Socialists came together, as also the Janasangh the forerunner of present day Bharatiya Janata Party. However they did not protest the butchery in West Bengal. Rather they were happy that their sworn enemies are being finished of by Indira whom they considered as a Renegade for their cause.
And the Nava Nirman Movement of Gujarat led by Indulal Yagnik, the Sampoorna Kranti of JP in Bengal etc coalsed into the JP Movement and helped the metamorphosis of Civil Rights Movement and effective resistance to Internal Emergency of 1975-77. The emergency, suspension of fundamental rights and the excesses at Turkmen gate, at forcible family planning operations by Sanjay Brigade together with the combined opposition of democratic forces, helped the grand alliance to turn into Janata Party and the temporary effacement of `Authoritarianism’ from the Nation. It must be remembered that it was the semi-fascist terror in Bengal by Mahajyot against Jyoti Basu led Bengal Movement, which finally turned into Authoritarianism in the Country. Just as the Mahajyot did not oppose subversion of Parliamentary Democracy in Bengal, although historically they were committed to restore democracy, it remained formal and the authoritarianism, rightly described by tenth congress of CPI(M) (Jalandhar April 1978) as the `arbitrary, legitimisation or legalisation of illegal actions against a people to suppress their struggles for existence and against exploitation in which they exercise the democratic rights: And the suppression cannot be done democratically. Hence, the basis of Authoritarianism will end only with the end of Bourgeoisie-Landlord System.’
CPI (M) and Jyoti had no illusion on the anti-authoritarian claim of then Janata Party, but he and the Bengal leadership was fully committed to the vague alliance of the Janata Party and the left to be maintained and flourished. This was very clear from the stand the Bengal Leadership took on the issue of facing the `July crisis’ of 1979. The July crisis is the name given by the Party to withdrawal of support to Janata Party mainly on then raging controversy of `dual membership by Veteran UP Socialist and Loiter Raj Narayan.
Jyoti Basu’s leadership earlier in 1977 had offered 50% of the assembly seats in Bengal for Janata Party, but upon their insistence for 75% seats, the Left Front went ahead to contest alone and won substantial majority in the West Bengal Assembly: This was a giant leap for Bengal, yet the opposition continued in various forms, in imposing Governors as overlords, of continuous denial of central state relations, of freight equalisation policy, and suffocating credit squeeze policy, coupled with encouraging flight of capital and de-industrialisation of Bengal. While all these were going on Jyoti’s Movement ensured that the crisis in the electricity system in Bengal is rapidly overcome, ensuring Bengal to be the surplus producer of electricity.The powerful movement under the leadership of the working class who went into the villages and organised the Bargadars, registering them, in providing leadership that the crops they cultivated were not harvested by landlords and rich peasants, the owners of the land, as also the occupation of surplus lands and distribution to the poor in the Land to the tiller, just as Lenin passed and got the `Decree on Land’ and `Decree on Peace’ implemented. Jyoti could not decree so, for he had no State Power, which was vested only at the Centre. He effectively carried out the mass struggles and implemented the Land Reforms. And in place of the `soviets’ visualised and implemented by Lenin, Jyoti got the Panchayat Raj (the Indian form of self governance as soviets were) implemented throughout Bengal. It is no wonder that a state like Karnataka tried a cut and paste of the Bengal Model in Panchayat Raj by Janata Party led by Ramakrishna Heggade and Naseersab. The cut and paste did not do the Bengal wonder, just as the Bengali white tiger cannot be bred here, and the tigers of Karnataka in the form of landlords and rich peasants, did control not the forests, but the entire lands, despite the well intentioned efforts of erstwhile congress led land reforms of Deva Raj Urs.
Jyoti ensured production and distribution of Electricity, in abundance. It transformed Rural Bengal to the extent to which it had developed today. This writer remember afresh when Jyoti ordered all the delegates attending the fourth CITU Conference at then Madras in 1979 to leave the conference and rush to then to Calcutta, to restore electricity immediately. Thus the working class was not only employed in the struggles, but also in organisation. Be it in organising the peasants for unleashing and sustaining the struggles of the peasantry, be it organising the Panchayat Raj or even in production and distribution of electricity successfully. It should be an effective role model for anyone wanting to usher prosperity to rural areas, to note that the Bengal Government of Jyoti never starved Rural Bengal of electricity. It thus became not only a surplus producer of electricity but a surplus producer of Rice, Potato and so on producing which provided food for millions. All this was achieved by ensuring the leadership of Working Class and firmly bonding the working class peasant unity. The success lay in combining the power of mass movement and transforming through self-governance and parliamentary democracy functioning only in the interests of the working people and even making use of the sections of ruling classes in the service of the people, through Joint Venture and building of the Industries etc.
Haldia Petrochemicals remains as a Jewel in the crown of Modern Bengal, effectively built by Joint Venture and People’s Participation. Needless to say several thousands donated their blood to build Haldia, when Indira’s regime refused any help.
Jyoti’s period was the period when the internecine wars between Indian Ruling Classes never willing to accommodate the aspirations of the people, stifled democracy, subverted it, them by union government’s policy led the de-industrialisation of Bengal. Jyoti alone could not have faced these challenges. He faced them bravely and confiding himself in the working people of Bengal, and appealing to the sections of democratically conscious people, not only in Bengal but throughout the Country and even the World Over. Thus, during his regime neither the working class could be satisfied for their demands for better living standards without rapid industrialisation, which was denied to him. He has stood firm upto the twenty first century, wading through the period of Liberalisation. He and his party, the CPI (M) made its policy clear, to take advantage of the liberalised economy but under their own terms in the National Interest.
By this time Jyoti and CPI (M)’s collective leadership faced the situation in clarifying their position at the 12th congress, Thus was started the undefeated stint of Jyoti Basu which continued till he retired voluntarily prior to the 2001 assembly elections after remaining as CM for five full term before completing the sixth term he put Budhadeb Bhattacharya into the saddle.
This was again portrayed by vested interests as Bengal adopting Liberalisation and inviting multinationals etc. They never went on to examine the details and had only a single minded commitment to somehow end the rule of the Left Front in West Bengal. Even as they were happy and praising the successor to Jyoti, and relished his industrial friendliness, attracting the veteran Monopoly house of Tatas with the one lakh rupee car project, the orchestrated efforts successfully thwarted the Bengal Government’s efforts effectively forcing Tata to shift to Gujarat.
Before we deal with the crisis in Nandigram, one crucial aspect of the working class party’s policy effectively implemented in Bengal through the single minded devotion of Jyoti Basu has to be restated. It is never to use police against the struggling people, whoever they may be, whatever the compulsions are. The bedrock of the police policy of the UF Government of 67-71, of Left Front Government from 1977 through to 2002 was that the Police is a civil militia which should act just to maintain law and order, not to misuse the `concept of law and order’ to suppress the people. Thus the concept of police being the civil / people’s militia, never to act against the people’s interests, truly intended an element of state machinery of the people, by the people, and for the people. Together with the twin concept of the Military being the force only to defend the borders, to defend and if necessary to wage war with the aggressors, the civil militia, the police and the professional military shall not be `politicised’ except in the interest of the people.
The Nandigram episode of 2006/07, of police firing against the `so called liberated zone’ with such notorious slogans like `aaj Nandigram, kal sare-gram’ could not be justified by the genuine Marxian concept of not employing the Police against the People. Even unintentional or mistaken violation of this principle evolved so painfully by Jyoti Basu, Bengal’s collective leadership of CPI (M) and Left Front, backed by the All India Leadership and the conscious elements of People all over the country, was the error for which the government of the day suffered a set back, apart from other reasons. Although it was done in the cause of the people, for industrialisation and meeting the challenge of the mahajyot against the orderly governance, for resettling the people who were driven away from their homes, . although it is true that, no Government could tolerate the `liberated zones’ being established challenging the writ of the government, perpetuating violence on the supporters of the Government, still the very use of police, though under compulsion was not sanctioned by the Party Policy. Any deviation is bound to be visited in the form of retribution. This statement is not made in anyway of facilitating the evil designs of Mahajyot from fundamentalists to communalists, in fact the entire spectrum of politics, minus the Left Front, in India. Even under such trying circumstances, under failing health Jyoti acted well in trying to restore confidence of the people and in the efficacy of the Party to resolve the issues.
A portrayal of this rare leader in Indian Politics, is incomplete without examining the pros and cons of his oft repeated statement of `Historic Blunder’ in the party rejecting the please of entire secular parties for Jyoti to take over the leadership of the Country in 1996. This was due to the fact even when the entire opposition had never supported Jyoti, in his efforts they could openly acknowledge the fact that he alone was poised to run a coalition in the interest of the People. The results of 1996 general elections produced a sort of a secular front, as against the trials of anti-congress VP Singh Government supported by left and BJP together. No doubt it fell when the BJP in their selfishness advanced the Rath Yatra and paved way to the later day demolition of Babri Masjid. VP Singh then had resigned after declaring that the broken hearts of the people can never be put together.
But in 1996 it was a different situation. Even Congress was lying low and would not have been in such a position as they later removed Deve Gowda by a no confidence motion. The situation would have been different if they had done so with Jyoti Basu who was projected to be the Prime Minister, and would have taken the challenge, but for the party’s collective decision to deny the offer.
Jyoti’s leadership, as it always had, the skill of combining the Extra Parliamentary Activates, in the main and utilising the Parliamentary opportunities in subsidiary interest. Thus this line could transform the Parliament even momentarily or for a brief period from reversing its role of being an instrument of oppression to an instrument to ensure that the constitutional guarantees are implemented in favour of the people. If only he and the possible secular united front could ensure that the Directive Principles of State Policy was effectively tried to be implemented, he and the government could not have survived but the process of struggle would have developed to the entire country: This is why he had consistently called it Historic Blunder. And the CPI (M) leadership had never rebuked him for this statement, though they could have easily found fault with him for having gone openly against the decisions of the Party. No doubt he did carry out the Party CC’s decision if refusing to be drawn further into the controversy and readily supported installing Deve Gowda as the Prime Minister.
However, he never thrust his ideals under the protection of the principles of voicing only the opinion of those who mustered the majority. The fact that the party had a clear line that unless there is substantial majority, it shall not share power in any ministry was literally applied. Even the fact that at 1967 the UF Ministry, in which Jyoti became the Dy.CM and Home Minister did not have substantial majority. It was built brick by brick through 1967, 69, 71 suffering the set back in 1972 and achieving the substance in all manner in 1977. This possibility was not considered and hence Jyoti went on calling it a historic blunder.
He considered, as some others including the General Secretary of the day, Com.Harkishen Singh Surjeet that it was a historic blunder. Yet the party sailed through all this period, his continuing as the CM and ushering in the twenty-first century. His Story is History, and the History is nothing but the History of Class Struggles. It is so clear even from this episode. Marx who conceived this truth, that the history of hitherto known society is history of class struggles, had also said that History never repeats, except in the form of farce. This he said with respect to his classic work of Class Struggle in France, which made the Democrats who beheaded the Emperor and Queens and Lords in the name of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality, crowning of Napoleon Bonaparte as the Emperor. And we had our own repetition of history as farce in 2009 set back of the Third Front, which was expected to make even CPI (M) to possibly participate in the Government.
More than all the transformation of the Bengal of 1947 being the most communally divided place in the country to which Gandhiji had to rush avoiding Independence Day Celeberation, has been turned into communally amiable place by Jyoti Basu and the Party. Even the self justifying statement of Rajiv Gandhi when Sikhs were killed in hundreds in Delhi and other places, as a retaliation to Indira Gandhi’s assassination, that when a Benyan Tress falls it destroys several other plants, etc. had become a misnomer under Jyoti Basu’s leadership. Not a single sikh was attacked or killed. Althrough the fall of Barimasjid and after the Gujarat Pogrom the crying man with folded hands found refuge at Calcutta goes to record Jyoti’s and Left credentials in this regard. Not that it has no problems, with the Bengla Deshi infiltration and so on, Jyoti managed the best the Secular credentials of any government.
Jyoti Basu and Karnataka
This tribute, from Karnataka to Comrade Jyoti Babu will be incomplete without referring to his role and foray into whatever little he could for our Karnataka.
Jyoti had been frequent visitor to the beck and call of the working class movement of Karnataka starting with the immediate post independence days. Com.N.L.Upadhyaya the leader of the party in Karnataka fondly referred as Upa by Jyoti and Kaka Abu (Muzafar Ahmed) had good working relationship. Jyoti Basu those days could get into the Haw rah-Madras Mail and catch the Bangalore Mail later with his hold all and reach Bangalore to help the railways workers movement as also textile workers movement.
Needless to say, that his role immediately after becoming the Chief Minister, continued through out 1978-1981, when he campaigned against the continued authoritarian regime in Karnataka. His visit to 3rd conference of CITU at Harihar, the visit to Mysore Kirloskar Plant, his appreciation of the work done by Kirloskars for self-reliance, having examined the gears produced by them, and having enquired into the relations they had with the CITU union and asking CITU leaders to ensure industrial peace as long as collective agreement is in force, his laying the foundation stone for Mysore Kirloskar Employees’ Association, which is the only foundation stone bearing his name in Karnataka, his addressing the Public Meeting there at Harihar, all paved way for the ongoing struggle of working class and peasantry in Karnataka. The Nargund Bangalore Jatha, which originated at Nargund and negotiated the entire stretch of NH4 through, Dharwad, Hubli, Haveri, Harihar, and Davangere and so on, had been facilitated by the developing working class movement of the area, and the great reception the Bangalore Working Class provided to them.
No doubt soon the monopoly of congress was broken and the Janata Party assumed power first in 1983, and then in 1985 and until 1988 it was a honey moon with Jyoti Basu’s Left Front Government. Their partial but successful emulation of withdrawing all police cases foisted by the Gundu Rao Government, then stint with the Policy Policy of non-interference in Industrial Dispute, as had been practised initially. The police refused to take action against unruly masses at Whitefield in 1984 was a case in point; unlike the Hejjala Firing by Janata Dal Government in 1977, the BPL episodes etc, which had by then reversed its roles and distanced by Bengal Model even as a policy perspective.
Jyoti’s guidance in initiating the Panchayat Raj in Karnataka has been already mentioned. As Karnataka had a pro labour Minister in the person of S.K.Kantha, who had been partisan to the cause of labour, and informed pro-labor opinion wanted him to understand the Bengal logic in matters relating to Labor, Jyoti called him had a free and frank discussion and later sent him to Soviet Union to study the Labor relations there.
Jyoti’s relations with Janata Party being so fine tuned, he found a good ally in then government to conduct his campaign on the role of Governor, the Centre State Relations conclaves etc which had united almost the entire opposition.
Thus while we really grapple with the loss of such great personality and our Bangalore NIMHANS wanting to study the nonagenarian’s brilliant brain, with all humility to the scientific community let us declare that it is not merely his brain, which no doubt is the embodiment of thousands or at least hundreds of years achievement of his lineage, his own environment of Freedom Movement, anti-imperialism, the great cultural traditions of Bengal and Kolkata, which according to BTR was the cradle of revolutionaries, and above all the extra-parliamentary struggles and combining with making use of the opportunities parliamentary democracy provided, by the collective wisdom and knowledge of the navaratna the nine member polit bureau, the contributions above all under the able leadership of Pramod Das Gupta, the Bengal Party, the working class under the leadership of Niren De, Kamal Sarkar, Krishnapada Ghosh, the fighting working class of railways led by Samar Mukherji, the Engineering workers of Howra under the leadership of Harisadhan Misra and Shanti Ghatak and above all the Durgapur workers among leaders still living legendary leaders of Jeeban Roy etc. had brought this result. Equally strong was the role of Hare Krishna Konar, his brothers Binoy Konar and host of Peasant leaders, who were guided by among others AK Gopalan, Har Kishan Singh Surjeet, Sundarayya and even EMS, who all were well entrenched as peasant leaders.
Just as Brain Research will benefit the People, the research in Philosophy, Economics and Politics will no doubt benefit all of us and the Humanity.
He was the last of the nine PBMs who founded CPI (M), the first to pass away was AK Gopalan on March 22nd, the day Indira was defeated, and through this period of 33 years, we lost all of them, P.Sundaraiah, B.T.Ranadive, Basavapunnaiah, PDG, Harkishan Singh Surjeet and after 33 years with Jyoti’s exit a void is created, which no doubt will be filled by the Jyoti he lit in thousands throughout the country. The coming days of turmoil is bound to face the leadership to collectively emulate Jyoti and the nine members of the first Polit Bureau.
Let us pay respects thus in emulating Jyoti Basu’s principles, commitment, dedication and achievements, though none can be parallel to him.