His stay in England made Basu a Communist
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 17, 2010, 17:51
  
New Delhi: Volatile international situation in 1930s inspired Jyoti Basu, then studying law in England, to turn a Communist while back in India, he donned several hats from a trade union leader to an excellent legislator to a democrat whose voice was respected across the political spectrum.

Basu did not belong to an active political family though his father Nishikanta Basu, an eminent homoeopath doctor, was supportive of the national struggle. While in school, Basu was inspired by the Chittagong armed rebellion led by Surya Sen in 1930.

It was his stay in England that made him a Communist.

In 1935, Basu went to England to study law and the volatile international situation then shaped his political thoughts. Basu gradually came into contact with leaders of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).

He began to participate in Marxist Study Circles and joined in the activities of the Communist Groups in London, Oxford, and Cambridge which later led to his decision to join the Communist Party in India when he returned from England.

He came in close contact with Harry Pollit, Rajni Palme Dutt, Ben Bradley and other leaders of CPGB and all these leaders had a great influencing role on him.

Basu returned to India in 1940 and immediately contacted the party leaders. Though he enrolled himself as a barrister in Calcutta High Court, he never practiced simply because he was determined to become a whole-timer of the party.

Basu became an active trade union leader in 1944. In that year, Bengal Assam Railroad Workers' Union was formed and Basu became its first secretary. Basu was elected to Bengal Provincial Assembly in 1946 from the Railway Workers constituency.

During the days of India-China border conflict, Basu, along with other leaders of the party, were accused of being "agents of China" and faced attacks from the ruling parties and the anti-Communist media.

In 1970, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at the Patna Railway Station allegedly by the Anandmargis. In 1971, Basu's car and public meeting were attacked allegedly by Congress workers.

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 President's Rule was imposed in Bengal.

In 1972, CPI(M) boycotted the polls and Basu famously declared the new Assembly as "assembly of the frauds".

PTI


First Published: Sunday, January 17, 2010, 17:51


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