At 43/1 Harrison Road (now Mahatma Gandhi Road) Calcutta, Jyotindra Kiran Basu, the third child of Dr. Nishikanta Basu and Smt. Hemlata Basu, was born on July 8, 1914. Jyotindra Kiran was affectionately called 'Gana'. Gana’s parents shifted to a rented apartment in Old Hindusthan Building (now Futnani Chamber) in 1917. They subsequently shifted to their own building at 55A, Hindusthan Road, Calcutta in 1920. Basu was brought up in joint family comprising his parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Basu was admitted to Loreto School (Dharmatala) in 1920 when he was a boy of six. At that time his father shortened his name and he became Jyoti Basu. He studied there for three years and one year more with girl students. In 1925, he was admitted to St. Xaviers School in the 2nd standard. After passing the Matriculation Exam he entered the Hindu College (now Presidency College) in English honours class. He preferred to sit in the back row with his friend Rahaman. After graduation in 1935 he set for UK for becoming a Barrister.
On completion of his studies 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 them about his future career plan e.g. to join Communist Party of India all were not astonished but became speechless. They, however, left no stone unturned to dissuaded him not to join politics but failed. On Jan 20, 1940, he married Smt. Basanti (Chabi) ghosh. On May 11, 1942, Mrs Basanti Basu breadth her last. Her death was a great shock to Basu’s mother who passed away a few months later. Basu married 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 chequer. 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 organising Indian students in U.K. 1936 was the turning point in Basu’s 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 organise students agitating for India’s independence. Accordingly, in 1938, when Pandit Jawharlal Nehru went to London Basu was given responsibility to make arrangement for a meeting with Pandit Nehru and to accord a grand reception to him.
After his victory in Tripuri Congress Subhas Chandra Bose went to London. On behalf of London Majlis Basu organised a meeting in London. Besides reception, he used to arrange meeting of Indian leaders with Labour Party and Socialist leaders. Basu established his contact with CPGB (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 CPGB, Basu organised 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. He, however, contacted the then leaders of CPI. They gave Basu 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, Basu was selected as a P.C.O. (Provincial Committee Organiser). In the fourth state conference of the party he was elected to the Provincial Committee. In 1946, during the communal riot Gandhiji came to Beliaghata. Basu accompanied by Bhupesh Gupta, met Gandhiji and sought his advice for formation of an all party peace committee and organising 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 31 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.

In 1944, Basu was entrusted with the responsibility of organising workers of Bengal – Assam Railway. He became the Secretary of the B.A. Railway workers union in 1941. Beside this he gained some experience in working with Port & Dock workers. 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.

When the CITU was formed he joined the organisation and was elected as one of its Vice-Presidents in the W.B. State Committee moreover he is also 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. Since then he was in the W.B. State Assembly in a row except for a small gap between 1972 – 77 when the election was rigged by congress. He retained his Barranagar Assembly seat upto 1971. In 1977, he changed his constituency and contested from Satgachia, South 24 Parganas. In 1967, he became Deputy Chief Minister of W.B. with Finance and Transport portfolios. For the first time he sat in the treasury bench since 1946. In the 2nd UF Ministry formed after election in 1969 he became Deputy Chief Minister in Charge of General Administration and Home Department including Police. After 1977 election, Basu headed the Left Front Ministry and remain there upto Nov. 03, 2000.

He was elected Secretary of Friends of Soviet Union (FSU) and Anti-Facist Writers and Artists Association. He travelled different parts of the World representing party or CITU. Some times he travelled specially the Western world in search of investment in West Bengal.

He penned 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 five volumes.

Basu believed and still believes that “it is man and man alone who creates history. Despite many crest and thrust people will finally emerge victorious and go in freedom in a classless society free from exploitation of any form.”
Jyoti Basu (Bengali: জ্যোতি বসু) (born July 8, 1914) is an Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from West Bengal, India. He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, making him India's longest-serving Chief Minister as of 2009[update]. He was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from the time of the party's founding in 1964 until 2008.[1][2]
Early Life
Jyoti Basu was born on 8 July, 1914 as Jyotindra Kiran Basu into an upper middle-class Bengali family in Calcutta. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor from the village of Bardi in Dhaka District, East Bengal (now in Bangladesh), while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife.[3] Basu’s schooling started at Loreto School at Dharmatala, Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1920. 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. Basu’s undergrad education took place at Hindu College (renamed as Presidency College in 1855) as he did honors in English from there.[4]

After getting done with this in 1935, Basu set for England for higher studies of Law. Its told Basu attended lectures of Harold Laski in late 1930s. It was England where Basu was introduced to the activities of politics through the Communist Party of Great Britain.There Shri[stands for Mr. in Bengali]Basu was inspired by noted Communist Philosopher and prolific writer Rajani Pam Dutt. In 1940 he completed his studies and qualified as a Barrister at the Middle Temple[5]. In the same year he returned to India. In 1944 Basu became involved in trade union activities when CPI delegated him to work amongst the railway labourers. When B.N. Railway Workers Union and B.D. Rail Road Workers Union merged, Basu became the general secretary of the union.

Political career

Entry into politics

Basu’s first track in politics was his efforts to organize the Indian students studying in United Kingdom, mostly for the cause of Indian Independence[citation needed]. While studying in England, Basu subsequently joined India League and London Majlis, both the organizations being communities of overseas Indian students. Basu was given the responsibility for arranging a meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru during Nehru's visit to London in 1938. The same was done after Subhas Chandra Bose went to England. As a member of London Majlis, Basu introduced the visiting Indian political figures to the leaders of Labour Party.

Basu was introduced to the Communist Party of Great Britain by another communist leader and Basu’s friend in England Bhupesh Gupta. It’s told Basu showed interest to join CPGB but the then Secretary General Harry Pollitt suggested him to not do so, possibly because CPGB was then banned in India and Pollitt speculated Basu could have difficulties in returning to India as a member of CPGB.

However Basu returned to India in 1940 after the completion of studies. He let his parents know about his future plan to join leftist politics which was vehemently dissuaded by them. Moreover the Communist Party of India which Basu intended to join was then banned by the British Government. Still Basu made contacts with the CPI leadership and made his way to join the party.[6]

Later Political Career

Basu was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1946, contesting the Railway constituency. 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 against the policies of the then State Govt. run by Dr. Roy. Jyoti Basu led one after another agitations against the State Govt. and earned enviable popularity as a politician particularly among the students and youth. Beside organising the movements of the Railway Labourers, he led a historical movement by the Teachers who were protesting against the meagre salary and demanded for the hike in salary. Thus Jyoti Basu took away the sleep of the State Govt. by one after another movements against the State Govt. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, Basu became one of the first nine members of the Politburo of the newly-formed Communist Party of India (Marxist).[2]

In 1967 and 1969, Basu became Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments. In 1967, after the defeat of the Congress Govt., Jyoti Basu was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister under the Chief Ministership of Mr. Ajay Mukhopadhay. When Congress returned to power in West Bengal in 1972 and Mr. Siddhartha Shankar Roy [ Grandson of DeshBandhy Chiita Ranjan Dash], Jyoti Basu was defeated from Baranagar Assembly Constituency and complained about unprecedented rigging. His Party CPI(M), decided to boycott the Assembly till the fresh election was conducted in 1977.

From June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, Basu served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the Left Front government. 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 government, a decision that Jyoti Basu later termed a historic blunder. H.D. Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal instead became Prime Minister. Basu resigned from the Chief Ministership of West Bengal in 2000 for health reasons, and was succeeded by fellow CPI(M) politician Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. As of 2009[update], Basu holds the record for being the longest-serving Chief Minister in Indian political history.

The 18th congress of CPI(M), held in Delhi in 2005, re-elected Basu to its Politburo, although he had asked to be allowed to retire from it. On September 13, 2006, Basu entreated the CPI(M) to allow his retirement due to his age, but was turned down. General Secretary Prakash Karat said that the party wanted Basu to continue until its 2008 congress, at which point it would reconsider.[7] At the 19th congress in early April 2008, Basu was not included on the Politburo, although he remained a member of the Central Committee and was designated as Special Invitee to the Politburo.[1][2]

On January 1, 2010, Basu was admitted to a Calcutta hospital after feeling unwell.[8][9] As of 9 January 2010 (2010 -01-09)[update], his health condition is critical and has signs of multiple organ "involvement". [10][11]


^ a b "Jyoti Basu will continue on Central Committee". The Hindu (Kolkata: The Hindu). April 4, 2008. http://www.hindu.com/2008/04/04/stories/2008040460771200.htm. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ a b c Chatterjee, Manini (April 3, 2008). "Nine to none, founders’ era ends in CPM". The Telegraph (Calcutta: The Telegraph). http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080404/jsp/frontpage/story_9094771.jsp. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ Basu, Jyoti. Jatadur Mone Pare: Rajnaitik Atmakathan. Calcutta: National Book Agency.
^ Biography of Jyoti Basu, Website of Jyoti Basu by the Government of West Bengal
^ Political biography : Jyoti Basu
^ Biography of Jyoti Basu, Website of Jyoti Basu by the Government of West Bengal
^ Bhaumik, Subir (September 11, 2006). "Left veteran just wants to retire". BBC News (Calcutta: BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5343190.stm. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ "Jyoti Basu admitted to hospital". NDTV (Kolkata: NDTV). January 1, 2010. http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/jyoti_basu_unwell.php. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ "Jyoti Basu put on ventilator, condition serious". Hindustan Times. Press Trust Of India (Kolkata: HT Media). January 06, 2010. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Jyoti-Basu-put-on-ventilator-condition-serious/H1-Article1-494282.aspx. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ "Former West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu on ventilator due to breathing trouble". The Times of India (Kolkata: Bennett, Coleman & Co). January 6, 2010,. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Former-West-Bengal-CM-Jyoti-Basu-on-ventilator-due-to-breathing-trouble/articleshow/5415413.cms. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ "Basu's on ventilator, condition 'very critical'". The Press Trust of India (Kolkata: The Press Trust of India). January 6, 2010. http://www.ptinews.com/news/455231_Basu-s-on-ventilator--condition--very-critical-. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
^ "Court notice to Jyoti Basu". The Hindu (New Delhi: The Hindu). January 24, 2006. http://www.hindu.com/2006/01/24/stories/2006012405351200.htm. Retrieved January 6, 2010.

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