Pledge taken in Kolkata Condolence Meeting
KOLKATA, 24th January, 2010: THE last journey of Comrade Jyoti Basu was marked by an unprecedented gathering of mourners, literally flooding the Kolkata streets. The respect and love for this stalwart of Left movement was once again proved when thousands of people assembled at the Shahid Minar on Sunday, 24 January 2010, just five days after the last journey, for the condolence meeting. In any account, more than one lakh people participated in the meeting, organised rather hurriedly by the Left Front.
Leaders from a wide spectrum of political parties, including the Left parties, Congress, RJD, BSP, SUCI and representatives from Nepal and Bangladesh paid their rich tributes to Comrade Jyoti Basu . The entire area of the meeting was decorated with posters, cut-outs and photos of Comrade Jyoti Basu. Some large photos of his were erected where the people paid their floral tributes in long queues. The backdrop of the stage was decorated with a famous quote of Basu: “It is the people who make history”. Biman Basu presided over the meeting and read out the condolence resolution.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, in his speech said, of the many leaders who have contributed and made sacrifices for the Communist movement in India, Jyoti Basu was exemplary and one of the most distinguished. Karat said, “ Basu was the leader of the entire Left and democratic movement of the country. He was the voice of the toiling people and contributed immensely in establishing their rights.” Karat urged the people to continue in the path shown by Comrade Jyoti Basu to build stronger movements of the toiling masses.
West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said, “While it is said of Communists that they are opposed to democracy, Jyoti Basu, in his life, fulfilled the duty of establishing democracy not just in West Bengal, but also in the country…Although he was sent to prison, he never sent his political opponents to jail; even if a law was unjust he never took the law into his own hands and he never took action against a newspaper for criticising him,” Bhattacharya said. Jyoti Basu’s first act as chief minister was to free all political prisoners, irrespective of party affiliation. West Bengal was also the first state to have a human rights commission. Comrade Jyoti Basu continuously endeavoured to establish and strengthen the system of parliamentary democracy in the state and in the country, Bhattacharya said. Comrade Jyoti Basu was exemplary in firmly establishing secularism. He brought the toiling people in the centre stage of politics. That will continue to be our path, he added.
Biman Basu outlined the political life of Comrade Jyoti Basu and said, “He correctly coordinated the struggle outside the legislature with the struggle within it.” One of Comrade Jyoti Basu’s major contributions was to bring into focus the question of centre-state relations, Biman Basu added.
Describing Basu as “the Communist voice of South Asia,” Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) leader Jhala Nath Khanal said Communists in Nepal, representing 60 per cent of the population, needed to emulate the example set by him in bringing different parties together.
Remembering the support extended to the people of Bangladesh by Basu during the 1971 independence struggle, Rashed Khan Menon, from Bangladesh Workers’ Party, spoke on the significant role played by him in forging India-Bangladesh ties. Sajjad Zahir Chandan of the Bangladesh Communist Party and Moinuddin Khan Badal of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal echoed his sentiments.
Ashok Ghosh (Forward Block), Manjukumar Majumdar (CPI), Khiti Goswami (RSP) , Pravash Ghosh (SUCI), Kartik Paul (CPI-ML), Brijesh Pathak (BSP) paid their tributes .
Subrata Mukherjee, working president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee said, “I have no hesitation in saying that he was perhaps the most important of the mass leaders who have achieved this stature.”
CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury, Mohammed Amin, Nirupam Sen and other senior leaders were present.
Condolence meetings are now being held in the districts.