Thus, when the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) celebrated, on August 5, the 115th birth anniversary of one of the pioneers of the communist movement in India, Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, it was an occasion to recall the time past and take a fresh look at the time present.
Speaking on the occasion at the overcrowded central hall Sabha held at the Mahajati Sadan in central Kolkata, state secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M), Anil Biswas said that by recalling the memories of the departed leader, one was able to have a better perspective on present-day developments. The process of comparison and the probe into the past served the purpose of imparting clarity of thought in understanding and implementing the political-ideological drive while further strengthening the roots of the Party organisation, said Biswas.
Muzaffar Ahmad, popularly known as Kakababu, said Biswas, was a true internationalist. Biswas went on to cite the letter that Subodh Roy of the CPI(M) state centre could unearth from a pile of unorganised material at the National Archives some time back. In that letter, Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad had written to the Communist International on behalf of the Bharat Samyatantra Samity (or, the Indian Socialist Association) conveying the resolve that the Society “is formed with the object of spreading socialism in Bharatvarsha, or India, as it was called by the English.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), said Biswas, could carry out a wide political-ideological struggle since the time of Comrade Kakababu in the 1920s and thus could undergo a continuous stream of growth even after the communist movement in India had split into two in the year 1964. Comrade Kakababu, added Biswas, had also stressed on building up the organisational strength of the Party. Following that dictum rigorously, the Party in Bengal could grow from 17,000 Party members in 1964 to 2,60,000 in 2003.
Biswas also noted how more and more people came forward to vote for the CPI(M) over the years. Thirty CPI(M) members of parliament represent the state, said Biswas. The CPI(M), along with the Left Front constituents, controls 15 Zilla Parishads. The Party and the Left Front have recently won no less than 5,754 Panchayat Samities and 30,000 Gram Panchayats. The vote percentage has gone up by 4 per cent since the 2001 assembly polls. The success came in the wake of a widening and strengthening of mass movements, said Anil Biswas.
The poor look to the CPI(M) for “we represent their interests in full,” stated Biswas and he added to say that “we look after the interests of the poor by carrying along with us the bulk of low-income and middle-income groups of people.” Biswas called for a relentless struggle in the days ahead for further strengthening of the political-ideological and organisational base of the Party and said, “That would be a fitting tribute to the memory of the communist pioneer, Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad.”
In his address, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), Jyoti Basu said that the task before the Party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election was to ensure a big defeat for the BJP and its cohorts. He said that the democratically-elected and popular Left Front government could continue with fervour in Bengal because it was involved with the upkeep of the people’s interests and because it never strayed away from the path of mass struggles and mass movements. The task now was to ensure that the strength of the Party and of the Left in Bengal was suitably reflected nationwide, and waging struggles and more struggles alone could bring this about.
Sharply critical of the BJP-led union government as ever, Jyoti Basu spoke about building up big mass movements nationwide before which the BJP would be swept aside like straws in the wind, as he put it. Dubbing the BJP as an outfit of religious fundamentalists, Basu charged the union government of servility to US imperialism. He said it was organising a sell out of the nation’s economic and political sovereignty and making no bones about this shameless act of theirs. Such a government said Basu, had no right to clamp down its regime on India, and must be forced to go. Comrade Kakababu’s birth anniversary should be an ideal occasion to take a pledge in this direction, concluded Basu.
On the occasion, veteran CPI(M) leader, Samar Mukherjee declared that the Muzaffar Ahmad memorial prize for English would go to the illustrious historian, Dr Romila Thapar for her magisterial work, Early India while that for Bengali would be awarded to the well-known Bengali poet, and a junior contemporary of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, Golam Kuddus for his book of essays, Yuga-sandhikshan (or, Confluence of the Ages). Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee introduced the books to the audience. Biman Basu, a Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), presided over the occasion.
Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad birth anniversary was observed throughout the state through conventions and rallies on the day.-----B Prasant