January 26, 2010

GANASHAKTI Completes Forty Four Years

THE Ganashakti was set up as an ‘eveninger’ way back in 1967, on 3 January. The occasion is utilised by the Bengal unit of the CPI (M) every year to take a political message to the people. This year was no exception. Biman Basu, state secretary of the CPI (M) and chairman of the Bengal Left Front addressed a packed gathering at downtown Durgapur.

There he explained in detail the present situation prevailing in Bengal. It is a situation dominated by the focus of the rainbow opposition plus the lumpen elements, backed by the ruling classes and the corporate media, seeking in their joint and several efforts to bring in political instability in the run up to the civic and assembly elections in 2010 and 2011.

The opposition as the speaker pointed out were out to frustrate the democratic process, taking free recourse to violence. They are also on to create as insurmountable as possible obstacles on the path of development and growth, in every social and economic sector. The poor people are attacked and attempts essayed to create a rift and a cleavage in their ranks. Forces of casteism and communalism are put to ‘proper’ use in the unholy drive.

Everyday one notes the dastardly murder of CPI (M) workers as well as of poor kisans, daily wage earners, and even of teachers and headmasters. A lie campaign is indulged in with ferocity against the communists. The media is a willing mouthpiece, the bourgeois media that is. The democratic rights of the people are under severe strain. The largest section of poor people being butchered especially in the red clay zones belong to the SC and STs.
Some of the attempts by the bourgeois media and of the bourgeois opposition, tagged along by left sectarians, has no limits to the lies being fulminated aplenty. It is even being touted in the big media that the Left Front government is disturbingly eager to take over land parcels owned by the minority communities.

The 11 lakh acres of land distributed by the state government as a part of its redistributive land reforms that have won laurels here and abroad, 70 per cent has gone to the minority communities, SC, and ST poor. 1.5 lakh acres of khas land remain in limbo because of court cases and thus, the parcels cannot be redistributed despite all the goodwill of the state LF government and the LF. Would the bourgeois media take note before launching on yet another self-righteous attack on the CPI (M)?

The opposition has put a series of obstacles on the path of development-oriented, employment generating programmes. These ill-gotten efforts have effectively robbed the youth of the paths of job openings. These attempts will be protested with fervour, and not taken lying down by the people of the state. The developmental programmes of the state government must move smoothly forward.

The series of shilanyas programmes of the railway minister came in for a dose of strong criticism. The speaker described the series of such programmes as a festival of stone-laying ceremony. What the people must realise is that paving the state with commemorative stones would not serve to create jobs. The speaker gave call to the people to hold aloft the Red Flag and carry forth a widening struggle against the forces of anarchy, counter-development, and terror. The Ganashakti as usual shall play an important role in this regard, the speaker had no doubt.

Earlier in a programme held on the same occasion in Kolkata, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was pungent in his critiquing of the union home minister who had earlier in the week said that the developments in Bengal were productive only of despair. The speaker said that the home minister should remember the state of hopeless confusion that has been created out of the Telangana imbroglio before levelling criticism at the Bengal LF government. The chief minister has also written, as he disclosed, a short letter to the home minister starting his case. Buddhadeb reiterated that the killers of the ‘Maoists’ received close tactical and logistical support of the Trinamul Congress and its lackeys.

Narayan Dutta, editor of Ganashakti addressed both the Kolkata and Durgapur programmes. Biman Basu presided over the Kolkata meeting.

January 21, 2010

Jyoti Basu, 95, Leader of Communists in India, Dies

January 18, 2010
By JIM YARDLEY, New York Times

NEW DELHI — Jyoti Basu, a powerful leftist leader who dominated politics in the state of West Bengal for more than two decades and nearly became India’s first Communist prime minister, died in Calcutta on Sunday. He was 95.

Mr. Basu’s stature in West Bengal was evident in a huge public outpouring of concern in recent days as his health steadily deteriorated. Anxious crowds gathered outside his Calcutta hospital, local newspapers carried front page updates on his condition and a litany of leading Indian politicians, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, made calls to him. He died of multiple organ failure, according to Indian news reports.

Mr. Basu was known as a savvy political survivor, skilled at building coalitions and forging consensus, whose biggest policy initiatives were sweeping land reforms in West Bengal. The initiatives distributed land to more than two million landless families and, in turn, established a leftist coalition known as the Left Front that dominated state politics for three decades until showing recent signs of weakening.

Mr. Singh praised Mr. Basu as a pragmatic, visionary politician whose death “marks the end of an era in the annals of Indian politics.” Citing his land initiatives as visionary, the prime minister also described Mr. Basu as “one of the most able administrators and politicians of independent India.”

Born July 8, 1914, in Calcutta, Mr. Basu was raised as a doctor’s son in an aristocratic family. He later studied law in London, where he embraced Marxism before returning to Calcutta in 1940. He then joined the Communist Party of India and began organizing railroad workers in the last years of the British raj.

After India’s independence in 1947, Mr. Basu was elected several times to the local assembly. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, he was among the founders of the more radical Communist Party of India (Marxist). He became chief minister in 1977 as the leader of a Left Front coalition and held that position, the most powerful in the state, until 2000.

He nearly became India’s prime minister in 1996 as the head of a national coalition. But hard-liners in his own party rejected his selection, arguing that leading a coalition government would betray Marxist principles and would not allow him to carry out Marxist policies. Mr. Basu would later call this decision a “historic blunder.”

His land initiatives won national praise, but West Bengal’s industrial policies were criticized during his tenure. Today, the popularity of his CPI-Marxist party has suffered severely amid concerns about corruption and bad governance.
Hari Kumar contributed reporting.