By Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
JYOTI BASU is the real emblem of the country’s Left movement. I have seen him as a party leader. He was the dearest leader of the working class and the middle class employees. He was also dearly loved by the peasants and farmers of the state. His administrative ability, too, was above all disputes. It was he who had formulated the present industrial policy that we are currently following in the state. He never ever did hesitate to take the right decision at the right time. Apart from this, I have seen Jyoti Basu as a person who had abundance of human courage. The moment I try to reminisce about him, a host of fond memories flashes before my eyes. Many incidents flicker before my eyes and I can still visualise the gutsy and courageous “Jyoti Babu.”
Right now I can recollect a particular days’ experience. Jyoti Babu was going to Birati and I was accompanying him. It was for a party meeting. It was the year 1971. To prevent us from going there and to jeopardise our meeting, bombs were being hurled from all sides. A high intensity commotion ensued. The driver of our car was unnerved by the commotion. But Jyoti Babu told us not to stop but to move forward. Our car advanced. It was amid bombs and rioting that we made our way through. The meeting was ultimately held. Many other people too were witness to similar incidents. I, myself, have memories of many such incidents. But how easily could Jyoti Basu express himself in such situations! How lucid was the way he spoke!
I still remember 1972 --- An era not experienced by this generation. Large scale rioting and arson was going on in the state. A state of instability was there everywhere. One day Mrinal Sen told me that he wanted to meet with Jyoti Basu. I conveyed his wish to Jyoti Basu and he readily agreed. Mrinal Sen came and questioned him, “What is happening? I cannot fathom anything about it.” Jyoti Babu told, ‘How can you understand’? Even I myself cannot understand what is happening.”
We deeply condole the demise of our respected Comrade Jyoti Basu. In politics, he was referred to as a Living Legend. He had earned a special place of respect in the foreign and national circles alike. It was in the 1940s, seven decades back, that he associated himself with the communist movement. He was an object of love and good wishes of the common people. He has also left a glorifying mark in consolidating the Left and democratic movement in the country. The role that he played in constituting the Left Front government is widely known. On a consecutive basis for five times at a stretch, he had led the Left front government. He was also our guardian. For a long period, he had associated himself with the workers’ movement. On the other hand, peasants and other village people too used to love him intensely. As a communist leader, Jyoti Basu could easily captivate the minds of the people in a whisker.
With his death, the party, the Left Front movement and the country have suffered from a huge loss. The country has lost a great leader. The country’s Left and democratic movement has suffered from a huge loss. He was especially needed for the country and the state during the present times. His glorious role will remain permanently sketched in the history of India.