Jyoti Basu's letter to Prime Minister before NIC meeting

Dear Shri Man Mohan Singhji,

Thank you for your letter of 7 October 2008 asking me to attend the next meeting of the National integration Council enclosing the agenda. I regret that it would not be possible for me, for reasons of disadvantageous physical conditions that I am in, to be personally present in the meeting. I shall take this opportunity to make a few suggestions on the agenda for discussion.

We have long been sending out concrete suggestions to the successive governments of India on the sensitive and important issue of national integration. We have failed to see yet the impact of propositions in matters of policy of the Government of India. There must be a change made from the present policy being pursued in order to make the issue of national integration a vibrant reality and to keep the nation from falling apart. For this political will is necessary.

The crux of the Constitution is the set of principles known as the directive principles of state policy.

These principles include adequate means of livelihood for every citizen and the right to work; an economic system, which does not result in the concentration of wealth; right to education and provision for free, and compulsory education for children; living wage for workers and equal work for equal pay for men and women.

None of these principles could be implemented thanks to the bias to the rich of the socio-economic system that prevails in the country. The gap between the virtuous intentions and the actuality of practice stares us in the face 58 years since the adoption of the Constitution.

The period since the independence has been marked by a continuing crisis because of the above-noted factors in the nation’s economy. This has served to stress and accelerate not only the problem but has harmed the national integration process itself. India has been principally an agrarian country with a superstructure of industries. After we gained freedom from British colonial rule, despite the land reforms act of the mid-1950s and scores of pious declarations and promises, the successive central governments led by the Congress and other parties refused to go in for land reforms. Concentration of land and rural inequalities, and a severe persecution of the peasant masses continue unabated. A central legislation on minimum wages in the rural stretches is yet to be implanted properly.

The policy of liberalisation and the imperialism-driven globalisation have opened up the economy to the marauding forays of multi-national corporations. The bureaucracy, the education system, the media, and the realm of culture are now subject to the unbridled penetration of foreign capital. No wonder regional imbalance has grown and national integration has stood to suffer.

The absence of nationwide implementation of redistributive land reforms and a lack of economic development have contributed to the plight of caste groups and has intensified caste divisions which is being utilised by the vested interests. Without political, social, and economic equality, the castes especially the scheduled castes and the dalits have fallen prey to the forces of casteism.

We need to recall that even communalisation has its roots in the economic and social backwardness. Mere reservations, necessary as they are, cannot prevent such a phenomenon from taking place without economic empowerment in particular. Because of what can be called the class-caste correspondence, those at the bottom of the economic structure are also thus at the bottom of the social structure.

The imposition of neoliberal economic policy, lack of public investment in agriculture, and the increasing debt burden of the peasantry have all contributed to the plight of the downtrodden. The factors have come together to accentuate regional imbalance and worsen the caste and identity divisions.

We have conducted a wide campaign on restructuring of the centre-state relationship a matter of crucial importance. As a result, the H S Sarkaria Commission was set up by Mrs Indira Gandhi. Its recommendations were not fully satisfactory. Nevertheless, its views with regard to certain financial relations have not been implemented.

To take but two of many examples, the credit-deposit ratio is weighed heavily against the states, and the tax share of the states have been reduced to less than 30% from the stipulated 50%. The centre-state relationships have been used as a political weapon depriving some states, and working to the advantage of others. Subversive forces and the forces of status quo have taken full advantage of the situation, weakening national integration as a whole.

The various reports on minority communities and their plights have been gathering dust. We must fight the communal menace through political will and administrative courage and commitment to secular values. There is widespread compromise with communalism for narrow electoral gains. Majoritarian communalism has in turn given rise to minority communalism and things are taking a more and more violent turn.

We have offered suggestions for the improvement of the state of the national integration, or the present weaknesses it faces, several times earlier. To strengthen the parliamentary democracy, electoral reforms are essential. A basic move to check money and muscle power must be put in place. The nine-member Constitution bench in 1994 said that secularism must be defined as the basic feature of the Constitution and this should find clear expression in the Constitution. The harmful direction of the centre-state relationship should be reversed.

The basic thrust of the political outlook must comprise land reforms, higher wages, more state intervention in agrarian, economic, and financial sectors, increased employment, defence of the public sector, turning away from the imperialist-run labialisation, the equality of women, the emancipation of the dalits and the adivasis, and finally a strong defence of the rights of the socially and economically oppressed, and the minorities. An important component of the move towards national integration would be a move away from a US-dominated foreign policy. For all this to be reality the central government must exert the correct political will in abundance or the nation’s existence itself will in the long run be imperilled.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

(Jyoti Basu)

12th October, 2008

Jyoti Basu reading Ganashakti sharad sankhya 2008

PIX: Shyamal Basu

CPI(M) central committee members meet Jyoti Basu

Kolkata, 13th October, 2008: Members of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who are here to attend the three-day meet of the body, took time off on the second day of deliberations and visited veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence on Monday.

Mr. Basu reportedly expressed happiness on seeing his party colleagues and spent some time with them.

The 94-year-old leader also had a photo session with those who called on him.

In response to requests made by him on grounds of health, the CPI(M) leadership had relieved Mr. Basu of his responsibilities in the Polit Bureau at the 19th Party Congress held earlier this year in Coimbatore. He, however, was made a special invitee to the body besides continuing to be a member of the party’s central committee.

Mr. Basu has not been able to participate in the ongoing central committee meeting for health reasons.

Among those who visited him were CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, party’s West Bengal State Committee secretary Biman Basu, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Brinda Karat — all Polit Bureau members.


Kolkata, 24th September, 2008: Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on wednesday called on veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, who is recovering at his Salt Lake residence after a head injury. Talking to reporters after the 30-minute meeting, Gowda described the CPI(M) patriarch as an "international politician" and said he had wished him speedy recovery.

Jyoti Basu appeals to Singur land-losers to accept package

KOLKATA, 19th September, 2008: Veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu on Friday appealed to Singur agitators to accept the compensation package prepared by the West Bengal government for the land-losers and allow resumption of work for the Tata Motors small car project.

"To enable the small car project to materialise, the state government recently announced a compensation package for the farmers who have given land. I appeal to all concerned to accept the package and allow the project to come up," Basu said in a statement from his Salt Lake residence after meeting party state secretary Biman Bose.

"I also appeal to those who are opposing the project to rise above politics and cooperate with the state government in allowing the project to come up in the interest of the people of the state," Basu said. The CPI(M) patriarch, who returned home on Tuesday after spending nine days at hospital following a head injury, could not attend the party state secretariat meeting earlier in the day at the party office. He was briefed about the meeting by Bose.

Describing the Tata Motors small car project as "very important" for development of the state, he said once the project came up, it would increase employment opportunities and bring about economic development. It would also attract more investments to the state. "The development of the state should be the desire of everybody irrespective of political affiliation," Basu said.


Kolkata, September 18, 2008 :
Accompanied by Biman Basu,
CPI(M) general secretary
Prakash Karat met ailing
veteran Marxist leader
Jyoti Basu at his
residence at Salt Lake.
PIX: Shyamal Basu

Jyoti Basu released from hospital

Kolkata,16 September,2008:Former West Bengal chief minister and veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, recovering from a head injury, was released from hospital Tuesday evening, hospital officials said.

‘Basu has been released from the hospital at 5.10 p.m. Tuesday. His health condition is stable,’ said AMRI Hospitals vice-president S. Upadhyay here.

Basu will be under domiciliary care under a team of doctors comprising of a neurologist, a cardiologist and a geriatrician, who will regularly supervise and monitor his health at his residence.

The 94-year-old leader suffered ‘internal haemorrhage in the head’ after he fell in the bathroom of his Salt Lake home early Sep 5.

He underwent a CT scan a day after his fall and was advised hospitalisation. He also received stitches on his forehead. A second CT scan was done on him earlier last week.

CT scan done on Basu, medical parameters normal

Kolkata, 14th September, 2008: Veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, being treated at a private hospital for head injuries, Sunday underwent a CT scan as doctors said that his medical parameters were normal. "A repeat CT scan was done (on Basu) today.

The report of the scan will be placed before the medical board on Monday to decide the further course of action," a bulletin issued by the AMRI hospital said today. It said that the team of doctors who were monitoring his condition examined Basu today and said his clinical parameters were found to be normal. "He had his usual normal diet," the bulletin said. Considering the age factor, doctors are yet to decide on any surgical intervention to remove the clot and is still continuing with medication.

A final decision on the brain surgery of veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, will be taken by the doctors of AMRI hospitals on Monday. For the moment the doctors have decided to continue with the medicines.

The 95 year old CPI (M) patriarch was admitted to the AMRI hospital on September 7, two days after he had fallen at his Salt Lake residence. A blood clot was detected on the left side of his brain. According to the latest bulletin released by the hospital authorities, Mr Basu condition is stable and is having normal diet.

Among those who visited Basu in the hospital on Sunday were the Left Front Chairman and CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Basu and party polit bureau member Brinda Karat. West Bengal transport minister Subash Chakraborty and his wife Ramala Chakraborty has been the regular visitor to the hospital.

Mr. Basu served as the chief minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000.

Jyoti Basu responding to treatment

KOLKATA, 9th September, 2008: Former chief minister and CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu's condition remained stable on Monday. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, finance minister Asim Dasgupta and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty and his wife Ramala went to visit Basu today. Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who went to visit him, said he was in good form.

A CT scan was done later on Monday night to assess the condition of blood clots. "He is in very good form and responding very well to the treatment being provided here. He talked about international and national matters. His sense of good humour remains," Gandhi said after coming out of the hospital. He wouldn't clarify whether Basu raised the Singur issue during their meet.

S Upadhyay, senior vicepresident, AMRI Hospitals, said Basu had slept well. "His other parameters are under control," Upadhyay said. A 10-member medical board has been formed to evaluate his condition. On Tuesday morning, members of the board will meet to evaluate the nonagenarian's condition.

JYOTI BASU admitted to hospital

KOLKATA, 8th September, 2008: Veteren CPI(M) leader, Former chief minister Jyoti Basu was admitted to a private hospital today with a blood clot in the brain caused by a fall at home on Friday night.

“He is fully conscious, stable and is having normal nutrition. He is presently kept under observation,” a medical bulletin issued by AMRI Hospitals, near Dhakuria Bridge, said. A 10-member medical board, headed by neurosurgeon R.N. Bhattacharya, has been set up.

“There is a blood clot on the left side of the brain surface. But there is no plan for immediate surgery,” said a doctor treating him. “He takes blood-thinning medicines, so it is not possible to perform a surgery immediately. Those medicines have been stopped in case there is need for surgery.”

Hospital officials said a number of pathological tests were done and the results were normal. “More tests will be done tomorrow and the medical board will once again review the progress on Tuesday,” the bulletin said.

Basu, 95, was admitted to the hospital at 11.35am and is in a special suite on the second floor of the hospital’s new building. Doctors said he was likely to be kept under observation for a week.On Friday night, the CPI(M) leader had bumped against a bathroom wall while trying to locate a light switch. A CT scan revealed a blood clot.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra visited Basu in hospital. “He is perfectly all right and talking normally,” Mishra said.