BIRTHDAY OF KAKABABU: A Symbol of Ideological Struggle: ANIL BISWAS

SINCE 1963, we are observing birth anniversary of Kakababu. The importance of this birth day is not limited merely in its observation only. Rather we observe this programme as symbol of an ideological struggle of high magnitude.

Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed, called affectionately as Kakababu, was attracted towards Marxism under the influence of Russian Revolution. Following the basic principles of the November Revolution, he took initiative to build the Communist Party in this country. Kakababu did not have an iota of doubt about the class base for formation of the party.

The necessity of the working class leadership in the Communist Party and revolutionary role of this class has been emphasised in his various speeches and articles. Practically, when he was in the process of building Communist party in different provinces of the then undivided Bengal, he carried out the party work with an aim to attract the Tram workers, Jute workers, porters, sweepers and other conservancy workers.

Kakababu was an extremely thoughtful person. He had deep knowledge in various subjects, particularly he had an intense attraction towards classical literature. He used to study for about 7 to 8 hours every day. We have seen him engrossed in reading whenever he was alone in our Secretariat room at Alimuddin Street office. He had huge collection of books. Even he used to get books from abroad. The lions share of the collection in Muzaffar Ahmad Pathagar (library) at CPI(M) state committee office belongs to him. While writing articles he used to give due importance on the correctness of the facts and information on the related subject. When Kakababu started writing on the history of building of the party, the facility to utilise the archives, was not there to that extent, as is available now. He collected those documents with great deal of efforts. He collected authentic documents from different parts of the world through correspondences. He had to spend long time and effort for searching such documents.


The special feature of Kakababu’s behaviour was to know personally party comrades and to collect information about the well being of their families. It was a great task for a party organiser to choose proper party workers which he used to keep in his mind always. He used to tell very often that many people will come around the Communist Party, would love the party and would also work for the party. By identifying the real party workers amongst them, the party leadership will have to take responsibility to mould them as a Communist. Which work will be done properly by whom , if any party worker becomes inactive in a particular work, the party leadership should take the responsibility to make him active by assigning him proper work. He used to supervise this matter personally. I learnt from him that after the party split, the work of leading party worker who were connected with State, Centre and with various mass fronts were evaluated in the party Secretariat. Further distribution of work was done on the basis of such evaluation. Till the fag end of his life, he emphasised on the subject of choosing party workers.
Punctuality and regularity were essential parts of Kakababu’s life. Now a days dearth of such matters are distinctly visible. These are salient features to learn from Kakababu’s life. He never liked delay while attending meetings. Kakababu breathed his last on 18th December, 1973. Just one day before, on 17th at about 9.00 p.m. I visited him at Kimber Nursing Home. When I was about to depart, Kakababu told me "You should come tomorrow at 7.00 A.M., I have something to talk with you". Before I felt asleep, I prepared mentally to visit the Nursing Home in the morning at 7.00 A.M. sharp because Kakababu will be offended if I reach there even at 7.15 A.M. But Kakababu never saw the next morning. He passed away in the early morning at 4-00 A.M.


Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad was not only a top Communist leader but was also highly regarded as a top class intellectual during that time. He had intimate connection with the contemporary famous litterateur and intellectuals. But his real identity was as a Communist. A true Communist like easy and simple living was his special character. He was an internationalist in real sense. He used to believe firmly that one cannot be a real Communist unless he believes in internationalism and real patriotism. That's why he always tried to examine closely whether those who are taken as primary members of the party were anti -imperialist or not.
From correspondences of Kakababu it is learnt that he had connection with anti-imperialist forces in various corners of our country. When we observe political programmes, we mostly forget to organise anti-imperialist movement. To remember Kakababu, we must be conscious about the danger of imperialism and the obligatory role of the party in anti-imperialist movement.

During the inception of building Communist Party in India, the British imperialists were out to destroy it in the nip of the bud. The Kanpur and Meerut conspiratory litigations were a few examples. In Meerut conspiratory trial Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad made a strong statement standing in the dock, exposing the character of British imperialists there in and he never hesitated to express the reasons why he was organising the Communist Party. At that time though there was no Party Programme, yet his statement was considered as the document of the Party Programme for long time.

On the occasion of birth day of Kakababu, there is a necessity to remember the threat posed by imperialists today. The Indian government which at one time was in the leadership of non-aligned movement (NAM), the same government during the regime of BJP led coalition has become a mere appendage of American imperialists. In the international arena instead of fostering joint action jointly with the third world countries, it is adopting brazenly pro-American stance. On the question of Palestine, giving up the principled stand it has adopted an outrightly pro-Israel policy. It has openly corroborated with the National Missile Defence System (NMD) of Bush Administration even as Russia and China and many of the US allies themselves are opposing it. These are few examples in support of above.

Not only the shift towards pro-American policy but also BJP led coalition government is dragging India inside the circle of American defence strategy. Vajpayee government is trying to make India a minor partner in world-wide military-diplomatic design of American imperialism. During his visit to India, Henry Shalton, the Military Head of United States reached an understanding with the Indian Defence establishment, which has dangerous consequences for Indian Defence.
In the name of Indo-American military co-operation, the whole Indian military forces have been thrown open for surveillance by United States.

The involvement of America in the recent Indo-Pak summit became very obvious when the dates for the Summit were announced globally by America. What could be the matter of more shame for a sovereign State! The people at large have to be mobilised for a strong movement against such increasing interference by America in the field of Indian politics, economy & military matters. We got to take this oath on the occasion of birth day of Kakababu.


Kakababu very often used to tell us to chalk out the programme of movement based on the given situation. In ‘Langal’ & ‘Ganabani’ he repeatedly wrote that the problems of farmers should be taken up foremost as majority of our people are dependent on agriculture and without their upliftment, welfare of the country as a whole would not be possible. He wrote against centralisation of land.

All Bengal Provincial Krishak Sabha was formed through a conference held at Patrasayer of Bankura district on 27th & 28th March, 1937. In that conference, Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad read out a speech which was adopted as political-organisational document of Krishak Sabha.
As Kakababu had pointed out in early 20’s itself the main problem of our country was the plight of peasantry, the same is the principal problem even to-day. From this we can realise his farsightedness. To-day due to the liberalisation policy followed by BJP led coalition government, we have to keep a close watch on the crisis which has developed in the life of peasants. Due to the pressure from WTO, even the rich farmers are also not safe. The farm houses of cotton, tobacco, coffee, sugar, edible oil etc are in deep crisis. Sugar cane growers are being compelled to burn their produce. Many years ago Kakababu raised the slogan against centralisation of land. To-day, after such long years, that problem has not been smoothened except in the states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.


The contribution of Kakababu for the building of party organisation is undeniable. He used to always remind that Communist Party is the Party of poor people. That is why he emphasised all the time to bring working people, landless labourers together in the Party. He gave due importance to the role of intellectuals. The famous intellectuals of Kolkata -- Dr. Bhupendranath Datta, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Radharaman Mitra were very much close to him. Yet, his main aim was to attract the poor and middle class people into the Party. Kakababu was having unfathomable faith on ‘Communist International’. He believed that one should follow, word by word the principles of Communist International. He used to tell repeatedly, "Communist Party is a different Party." The principles of democratic centralism is the main foundation of a communist organisation. To infringe upon such principles means hitting and weakening the very foundation of the Party. If it continues, Communist Party will be turned into a mere political group. There will be no separate identity of the Party.

On the question of maintaining discipline in the Party he was firm and unyielding. He used to tell that without a disciplined workers group, no Communist Party can forge ahead. Maintenance of tough discipline was one of his main weapons in building the Party. During 1967-68, when naxalites left the Party, Kakababu’s many intimate friends were in its leadership. Yet, Kakababu strongly wrote an article where he mentioned "Party is greater than friends". He wrote there that allegiance to an individual can not be larger than that of Party. Every communist should be firm to the ideology. Problems do exist in our Party till to-day. In many cases, it is found, that attachment towards relatives and friends surpasses the firmness to the Party ideology. This idea, on class consideration, is against our ideology. Individual allegiance can never be higher. For the follower of ideology , it itself is his great friend. This is the great education which we have got from Kakababu.

He himself was not only firm on ideology but also specifically acted to bring back in right path, those, who deviated from ideology. When poet Nazrul Islam became to some extent confused after his first marriage, Kakababu stood by his side as guardian and made efforts to bring back Nazrul in the circle of ideology. He succeeded in that and the same Nazrul, after being rectified, propagated the message of equality. Nazrul has mentioned time and again the role of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad in his life. To raise the human values, the life of Kakababu, as an example is uncomparable.

Kakababu never tolerated the nourishment of the concept of factionalism in the Party organisation. He always maintained that Party is larger than the faction and to save the party, every communist should fight tooth and nail against factionalism. Deviation from communist ethics was an unpardonable offense to him. He used to say that immoral acts are not only anti-communist but also against humanity itself. The person who is having intelligence, consciousness, sense of justice and morality, he will never resort to any immoral act. As per the version of Kakababu, communists are the most clean man in the society. Because, without clean men, how can a clean society emerge? So a real Communist Party should be the party of most clean people of the society.

Please come up, let us promise to build our Party, a real Communist Party on Kakababu’s birth day.

Peoples’ Democracy, September 02, 2001


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee speaking at the meeting;
Benoy Konar, Biman Basu and Jyoti Basu on the dais.

THE 119th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, commonly known to communists in India as ‘Kakababu’, was commemorated with appropriate dignity at the Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata on August 5. The meeting was attended by the almost entire state CPI(M) leadership and had central committee member of the CPI(M) Benoy Konar in the chair. This year’s Muzaffar Ahmad book awards went to historians K N Panikkar and Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyay.

In his address, senior CPI(M) leader and former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu said that Comrade ‘Kakababu’ and his compatriots in the Communist Party were forced to negotiate tough hurdles on the way to Party building. The Communist Party was repeatedly banned. Its top leadership incarcerated and made to face a series of false charges; they were implicated, again falsely, in ‘conspiracy cases’ and were identified as ‘anti-national.’


The communist leaders and workers were subjected to brutal police torture in and outside of jails. They were beaten up, shot down, and had long jail sentences slapped on them. Yet, the work of Party building and widening mass contact went on. The Communist Party became stronger through class and mass struggles. Comrade Muzaffar had written extensively on the formative years of the Communist Party in India and these are essential readings for younger generations of CPI(M) leaders and workers.

Reminiscing Jyoti Basu said that he had met Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad when he came back from England in 1940. Comrade Muzaffar’s reputation had preceded him, said Jyoti Basu, for ‘Kakababu’ was already in touch with the Third International and with British Communist leaders like Harry Polit and Rajani Palme Dutt. Jyoti Basu said that he had many things to gain knowledge of and learn from Comrade ‘Kakababu.’

Jyoti Basu pointed out that in 1940, the Bengal unit of the Communist Party had but four thousand members. The total membership in 2007 exceeds three lakh. The CPI(M) is dedicated to the task of building up of a classless, exploitation-free society, something about which Comrade Muzaffar had dreamed.


The CPI(M) is proud that there exist in India now three Left Front governments — in Kerala, Tripura, and in Bengal. The first communist government in Kerala in 1959 was not allowed to function and was undemocratically toppled. In 1977, the CPI(M), too, had not been very sure that the LF government would be allowed to run here. Jyoti Basu iterated something he had been emphasising for some time now. It is important to realise, that many people yet continue to vote against the CPI(M) and the Left Front and some of them are poor people. All-out efforts should be made to draw them into the ambit of the CPI(M) and the Left Front. They must be approached, their critique listened to with quiet dignity, and they must be told the achievement and the failures of the Left Front government, and the reasons why.

Jyoti Basu expressed his happiness at the manner in which the present Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb was free and frank in discussing before the people the attainments and the non-starters of the Bengal Left Front government: this is how it should be for a government where the Communist Party plays such a crucial role. This will make the Party invincible for the enemies. Jyoti Basu said that the CPI(M)’s organisational expansion in the north of the country was lagging behind than in the southern states. The Party conferences coming up must be utilised to make the Party base wider and stronger, he concluded, and noted that in this manner the best tribute would be paid to the memory of the communist pioneer Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad.


State secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) Biman Basu started on a critical note by saying that 100 per cent of the membership of the Bengal CPI(M) was fully and comprehensively equipped ideologically, though their level of political consciousness needed to be raised all the time, in the developing reality of class and mass struggles.

Biman Basu pointed out sharply that the process of Party conferences must be used as a touchstone to enrich the Party further, and make mass contact deeper. Party has a definitive role to play in stopping and correcting those persons who would utilise the Party for small, narrow even sectarian personal interests. This is to be done through political-ideological training and implementation of the programmatic understanding at the ground level.

People must be made aware by the Party of the myriad of attacks that were coming down on the CPI(M) from indigenous and foreign sources. There is a conspiracy afoot to weaken the Left Front itself. In widening mass contact, the lesson of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad’s style of functioning must be adopted faithfully: Comrade Kakababu would give a patient hearing to everyone, never lose his temper, and would put through his arguments with logic and conviction. Sometimes, these traits are lacking amongst Party members of today.

Biman Basu said that although the Party organisation was not equally strong and deeply rooted everywhere in the country, it was spreading its wings over wider territories. Biman Basu concluded by noting the menace of imperialism threatening the sovereignty of the country, and forces of religious fundamentalism on the move to upset the national unity and integrity. These forces must be opposed, as Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad had pointed out many, many years back.


Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the over the past three decades the Bengal Left Front government functioned in a pro-people, especially pro-poor manner. The CPI(M) is a Party of the kisans and mazdoors. The Left Front government makes progress through further strengthening of the mazdoor-kisan unity. The enemies have targeted this and they are organising violence. The chief minister recalled that the agricultural successes achieved under the Left Front government was no static affair and that efforts are on all the way to enhance and diversify agricultural production. However, agricultural success alone would not have the desired impact on development and for this, especially for employment generation, one needed industrialisation.

The Left Front government was fully aware of the pain that could be generated when the transition would be made from agriculture to industry and that is why progress in this direction was made in a deliberate and slow manner. Leftism meant the protection of the interests of the working masses. Leftism meant land reforms, employment generation through industrialisation, protection of the rights and interests of the workers, securing the interests of the unorganised workers, make the women self-dependent in economic terms through self-help groups.

Buddhadeb pointed to the experience of Latin America, China, Vietnam, and South Africa and said that in Bengal, there was no model to follow. The path being followed in Bengal under the Left Front government, said Buddhadeb, was an untroddden, alternative path of development in a country where capitalism was very much a forceful presence. Buddhadeb also paid effusive tributes to Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad and described him as a communist pioneer in the true sense of the term.----B Prasant

Peoples' Democracy, August 12, 2007


THE 118th birth anniversary of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, known to all as Kakababu (revered uncle), was observed in Bengal with a pledge that the Communist pioneer’s dream of establishing a classless society would be relentlessly worked towards, and fulfilled. The central programme as usual was held at the capacious Mahajati Sadan auditorium in downtown Kolkata during the evening of August 5, 2006. Central committee member of the CPI(M) Benoy Konar presided.

Following the garlanding by the senior leaders of the Bengal CPI(M) of Comrade Kakababu’s phtograph placed on the dais, veteran Communist leader Samar Mukherjee announced that the Muzaffar Ahmad Award for English this year would go to Professor Irfan Habib for his Indian Economy 1858-1914 in the People’s History of India series.

Jitendranath Roy received the award for his Bengali book Banglar Kol-karkhana O’ Karigori Bidyar Itihas (a history of factories and production units, and of technology in Bengal). Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee introduced both the books in brief.


In his address to the packed gathering (even the area surrounding was filled with people eager to listen to the Bengal CPI(M) leadership in this day), Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) Jyoti Basu, once again in a mood of deep reminiscences of his younger days as a student activist in England, recalled his association with Comrade Muzaffar.

‘The Communist pioneer,’ recalled Jyoti Basu, ‘was not then known personally to me and yet, the instructions he would send me and other Indian students of the Communist persuasion studying in England proved of great use.’ What were the instructions? Comrade Muzaffar would ask the Indian Communists not to come to the fore while mingling with the British Communists but to set up various democratic fora and act as backroom boys to the Communist activities there.

Jyoti Basu then narrated the period of time in India when as members of the then united CPI, he would work with Comrade Kakababu and said how the leader would emphasise Party education, a deep contact with the masses, and introduce the Communist party to the people. ‘I learnt very many a thing from him,’ was Jyoti Basu’s simple declaratory statement.

Analysing briefly, what he called the ‘immensity of the complex national situation now where we have to support the Congress-led UPA government to keep the communal BJP away from office,’ Jyoti Basu declared that the crucial document here was the Common Minimum Programme.

The CPI(M) and the Left must struggle against the UPA governance whenever and wherever the union government would choose to either ignore the CMP or go against its spirit, or do both. The anti-people stand must be vigorously protested, and all attempts at slackening of the political will of the government of India to maintain an independent foreign policy, leaning more and more towards the US must be strenuously opposed through struggles and movements all over the country.

Dwelling briefly on the successes of the pro-people Left Front government in Bengal, Jyoti Basu said that the best tribute the Party could pay to the memory of the departed Communist pioneer was through widening the mass base of the Party further across India, and strengthening the mass organisations, striving for the ultimate tasks ahead.


Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, said the state secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) Biman Basu, studied Marxism-Leninism and made the tenets a guideline and a lodestar. Comrade Muzaffar was deeply involved in the class and mass struggle, and was an uncompromising soldier of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism. He taught the succeeding generations of Communists that Marxism-Leninism was to be studied and learnt through practice with widening contact among the toiling masses in particular.

Attacking the ruthless killings indulged in by the US and Israel in such places as Palestine and Lebanon, and expressing anger at the Qana massacre, Biman Basu said that unless the UPA government was willing to decrease its dependence on the US and firm away from a foreign policy that played the country into the US worldview, this large and populous nation’s economic and political sovereignty would be put on the line.

Struggles must be launched and continued with to force the UPA government to change its anti-people ways. Lack of protest will weaken the anti-imperialist struggle and signing of such instruments as the nuclear agreement with the US would serve to weaken India’s independent position in terms of free will. A non-aligned movement may not be a full viability now but that would hardly detract from the need for the UPA government to go in for an independent foreign policy.

Biman Basu concluded with call for augmentation of the Party, further enhancement of mass contact, deepening of Party education, forging an ever strong mazdoor-kisan unity, and strengthening of the mass organisations for the task ahead. The CPI(M) leader also narrated briefly the ten point programme that comprised the nationwide August campaign-movement of the CPI(M).


In his address, senior CPI(M) leader Benoy Konar explained the task of Communists, sharply criticised the attack from the right and far Left that the CPI(M), the Left Front, and the Left Front government had had to face of late, and called for the relentless absorption of the precepts of Marxism-Leninism into the daily struggles of the Communists.

Benoy Konar also compared Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad’s image as a Communist to a mirror on which one’s own reflection as a Communist was to be seen and appropriate corrective measures initiated whenever found necessary.--- B. Prasant


SOCIALISM is the only means to fight the reactionary and disruptive forces operating in the State. The purity of Marxism-Leninism will have to be preserved in the face of heightened aggression from the ultra-leftists. CPI(M) to follow the path shown by Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed in order to usher in socialism in India. This was the clear cut message that emanated from the meeting organised to commemorate the 117th birth anniversary of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed. The meeting was addressed by veteran communist leader and Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) Jyoti Basu and CPI(M) State Secretary and Polit Bureau member Anil Biswas and was presided over by Biman Basu, Left Front Chairman and Polit Bureau member.

On this occasion, author Debkumar Basu and Bangladeshi writer Baharanuddin Khan Jahangir were awarded Muzaffar Ahmed Memorial Award. They were introduced by Central Committee Member and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen by giving a brief account of their work. A document titled ‘Communist Movement in Bengal and its Relevance today’ was also released by Polit Bureau member and Chief Minister Buddadeb Bhattacharya.

Jyoti Basu speaking on the occasion said Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed was a tireless worker, who played an important role in building the communist movement in India. In the days of British occupation, he braved the British repression and selflessly worked to build up the party irrespective of tremendous hardship that he has to face. He said that he will always be an inspiration and guiding force for all of us in the communist party and the he asked the young party members who have joined recently to read his books in order to gain a better insight into the development of the communist movement in Bengal.

Anil Biswas said, the slogan, raised by Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed, 85 years ago are still relevant to build a communist movement in India. The communist movement and the CPI(M) in particular must play a leading role in the fight against imperialism and communalism. He said the defeat of the communal BJP and the installation of the UPA Government at the Centre was decisive first step in the fight against communalism. The Left with 61 MPs in the Lok Sabha is in a position to influence policy making of the Central Government. The more progressive role the Left plays at the Centre and influences the national discourse, the greater will be the internal contradictions in the reactionary forces like the RSS. This contradiction accentuated with the dislodging of the BJP led NDA Government at the Centre in the last elections. With the decisive rejection of the communal combination, the Sangh fraternity’s slogan of Hindu Rashtra appears inconsistent with Indian ethos which is and will remain secular.

Still there is no scope for complacency. As their internal contradictions intensify, it takes the form of disruptive activities and incitement of communal passions. The coming to power by engineering communal riot in Gujarat and the recent disruption of the Parliament procedures by boycotting the entire budget session bears testimony to this. He said we must be careful and vigilant to thwart all such attempts in undermining democracy and secularism.

Commenting on the UPA Government, he said that it is only due to the consistent opposition of the Left, the UPA Government has not been able to implement many of the anti-people policies which the NDA Government implemented. This is a positive development and the Left will always strongly oppose all such policies which go against the common people.

He lambasted the bourgeois media for concocting stories of differences in the CPI(M) as regards the recent defence agreements with the US. He said that there is a difference between the foreign policy followed by the UPA and the NDA government. The UPA foreign policy is still independent and did not go to the extent of sacrificing our sovereignty to be in the good books of the US. He said that Left has strong reservation as regards the strategic military tie-up, the defence framework, global fight against terrorism and spreading democracy in US terms, because this means subjugating our independent and sovereign foreign policy to serve the US interest and aiding them in their imperialist expansionism designs.

He welcomed the Governments initiative to improve relationship with China and Russia and said that India should work towards strategic relation with these two countries.

Anil Biswas gave a clarion call to integrate the fight against communalism and imperialism with the fight for emancipation of the impoverished masses. It is here that Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed’s works become relevant. We must draw inspiration from him to fight both communalism and imperialism and at the same time preserve the purity of Marxism-Leninism against the Maoist marauder’s, who in the name Marxism-Leninism has unleashed terror in rural Bengal by killing innocent people.----Vineet Menon


VETERAN CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu and Polit Bureau member Anil Biswas both declared that the Left would continue to develop a policy of coordination and struggle with the UPA-led union government. Based on this outlook, the CPI(M) would have to emote its responsibility in the appropriate political manner. The aim of coordination would be to ensure that the stability of the UPA-led government was not endangered. Struggle meant compelling the UPA-led government at the centre to retract and do away with all anti-people policies.

The meeting that Basu and Biswas addressed was held in the evening of August 5 at the Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata to commemorate the 116th birth anniversary of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, popularly known as Kakababu. The venue was full and so were the adjoining roads and streets. Biman Basu, Left Front chairman and senior CPI(M) leader, presided over the meeting. The programme saw the Muzaffar Ahmad memorial prizes going to the CPI(M) and AIDWA leader, Kanak Mukherjee, and to noted economist, Amiya Bagchi. Samar Mukherjee gave away the prizes. Nirupam Sen read the citations. The occasion also saw the formal publication of the third volume of the documents of the Communist movement in Bengal.

Jyoti Basu said that a reciprocal trust between the Left and the UPA government was needed to see the implementation of the CMP. The UPA could not but do without the Left and the CPI(M). The CPI(M) must at the same time undertake a drive to increase the size of both the Party and the mass organisations. It must also be noted carefully as to how far the Congress-led UPA government was able in the short and long run to fight the menace that was communalism. The union government must be vocal against imperialism. It must not abide blindly by what the IMF, the WTO, and the World Bank declares as policies and must move according to the best interests of the country and the people.

Basu also pointed out that a section of the electorates, although representing the poor and the middle class, continued to vote for the opposition. These sections must be brought within the fold of the CPI(M). People make mistakes. They also learn later from their mistakes and swing back to the correct path. The people had ensured victories for the two UF governments in the late 1960s. They have voted in the LF government for 27 long years.

Basu said that the Party and the mass organisations must further step up the efforts to help the state Left Front government in the task of implementing pro-people, especially pro-poor programmes. The Party organisation must be made more strong and wide. The rectification campaign must progress apace to rid the Party of the small number of bad elements that have crept in.

Anil Biswas explained the present situation and said that for the past decade or so, the CPI(M) “has conducted joint programmes continuously to ensure that democracy is not endangered, fascism does not strike roots, and secularism remains intact.” As a result, the political developments in India have reached a crossroads and in ensuring this, the CPI(M) has played a stellar role.

Biswas said that the CPI(M) and the Left must mount pressure on the UPA government to implement those aspects of the CMP that were pro-people and progressive. The CPI(M) must have a clear view of the class character of the UPA government for it has the Congress party at its head and the Congress represents the interests of the monopoly capitalists and big landlords. It is due to pressure from the CPI(M) and the Left that the UPA government would agree to incorporate in the CMP and later on implement pro-people programmes.

“We want the UPA government to run its full course of five years but if the union government took steps that are anti-people and undertakes programmes runs against the grain of the interests of the common man, we shall certainly protest and wage struggle against all such endeavours,” said Anil Biswas. The CPI(M) leader also said that progress must be made through coordination and struggle in the days to come. During the British period, the Communist Party waged struggle against imperialism. Later on, during the 1960s and the 1970s, the CPI(M) waged struggle against the authoritarian policies of the Congress. In view of the features of the present situation, it is necessary to adopt the new tactics of coordination and struggle to save democracy. The CPI(M) shall move forward by drawing the correct lessons from the past and face the challenge of the present times.

Anil Biswas recalled how the pioneers of the Communist movement in the country including Comrade Kakababu had built up a Party of the poor and of the toiling masses. Over the past 82 years, the Communist Party had progressed along the same lines. Mass bases of the CPI(M) have been built up in very many states of the country. The CPI(M) has continued to work for the poor kisans and workers. Big mass bases have been set up in states like Kerala, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Bengal. The CPI(M) has maintained uniquely a strong existence in other states of the country as well.

In Bengal, the Let Front government was in existence for 27 years. The principal aim of the LF government is to look to the interests of the poor and to bring about improvements in their lives. By waging relentless struggle against the forces of imperialism and by looking to the interests of the poor, and the middle class, the CPI(M) has become the second largest Communist Party in the capitalist world after the Japanese Communist Party in terms of Party Members. “We have remained within the parliamentary democratic set up and have utilised the set up in the interest of the poor and the common people,” said Biswas.

Biswas said that as the strength of the CPI(M) grew so should its ideological training sharpen. The CPI(M) has earned the trust and love of the masses in exchange of the many sacrifices it has made and the struggles it has waged in their interest. The Communists work for the interest, not of self, but of the people. The media has joined hands with the opposition to ridicule and attack the CPI(M) from a wide array of angles and outlooks. Sometimes it is said that Communists have become rich by remaining in office. Sometimes, again, it is written that the Communists suffer from abject poverty. The attacks would continue. But the base of the CPI(M) amongst the poor and the commoner shall remain intact since the CPI(M) works for the masses, concluded Anil Biswas.

Biman Basu said that the CPI(M) continued to progress along the path that was laid by the Communist pioneers like Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad. The CPI(M) moves ahead through a variety of crossroads with the help, affection, and support of the masses. Basu spoke about the importance of struggles and movements to ensure that the pro-people programmes contained in the CMP could be successfully implemented. Without the struggles and movements, the policy outlook of the UPA government could never be changed. Basu asked of the members of the CPI(M) to equip themselves with Communist values. In this connection, Biman Basu recalled Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad’s saying that the Party was greater than one’s friends and acquaintances.

Earlier in the day, the CPI(M) leadership garlanded Comrade Kakababu’s busts at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, the Ganashakti printers, and at the Muzaffar Ahmad Pathagar. The last resting place of the Communist pioneer at Gobrah in the eastern part of the City was covered with wreaths of flowers. A special number of the Anushilan periodical, containing articles by and on Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad was published.

Shyamal Chakraborti addressed a meeting at the office of the National Book Agency, one of Comrade Kakababu’s creations. Chakraborti who described Comrade Kakababu as the very symbol of the Party at the time the Communist movement had been torn asunder in two, declared the need for the CPI(M) to further strengthen the struggles and movements of the poor kisans and the unorganised workers in the days to come. He also called for further sharpening of the ideological struggle against the forces of reaction.-----B Prasant

2003:115th birth anniversary

A COMMUNIST Party does not celebrate the birth anniversary of a departed leader merely as a pleasant ritual. The occasion when a leader is remembered is utilised to look back on the stream of political-ideological developments that had taken place since while drawing the correct lessons from the experience. The notion of history is innately associated with the process of remembrance of things past.

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

2002:114th birth anniversary

The 114th birth anniversary of comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, one of the pioneers of the Communist movement in India was observed with due solemnity at the Mahajati Sadan hall in central Kolkata on August 5. The occasion saw a massive turn out with a packed hall forcing people to occupy a large stretch of the Chittaranjan Avenue that runs by the hall. The bandh call given by the Trinamul Congress would not deter the thousands of people who converged on the venue quite some time before the programme would commence.

Addressing the assemblage, secretary of the state unit of the CPI (M), Anil Biswas travelled along the path of history in situating the role emoted by comrade “Kakababu” (as comrade Muzaffar Ahmad is usually referred to in Bengal) in the development and growth of the Communist movement in the country.

Anil Biswas began right from the point in time when on October 17 1920, the Communist Party of India was set up in faraway in Tashkent in the former Soviet Union. Biswas dwelt in some detail on the “de-colonisation” debate where comrade Muzaffar had supported V I Lenin’s thesis on the political-ideological situation prevailing in India, and had chosen to stand firmly opposed to M N Roy’s thesis about the “erosion, complete and total,” of the bourgeoisie in the sub-continent.

Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, Biswas recalled, had also been in the van of the struggle of the “splittists” who had sought to bifurcate the working class movement in India in the subsequent years. “Kakababu” had also fought valiantly later on against both right and Left deviationism. The point to remember, said Anil Biswas, was that the past was important as a beacon of lighting up the present situation and helping the Communist Party to set up the correct political strategy towards the tasks that lay ahead.

Sharply critical of the BJP-led NDA government in Delhi, Biswas also said that comrade Muzaffar’s birth anniversary was a suitable occasion to cast one’s eye on the national scenario. A stifling economic growth, a pro-US foreign policy, and a move to foment both communalism and provincialism have put on the line the political unity, integrity, and indeed, the sovereignty of the nation. Casteist politics are being indulged in with impunity. The hidden agenda of the RSS is continually superseding the political programme of the NDA which itself is thoroughly anti-people.

Biswas also accused the NDA government of seeking all the time to try to centralise administrative powers, especially financial and economic powers, in order to render the states weaker and poorer. This strategy, said the CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, was well suited to the RSS agendum of a super strong union government lording it over state governments that were put to a state of crippling weakness.

In moving towards the goal of building up a classless society, Biswas concluded, the challenge of the political tasks would have to be faced boldly and the CPI (M) must establish ever deeper and wider contact amongst the mass of the people of the country. A pledge in this direction must be renewed on the birth anniversary of a Communist pioneer, concluded Anil Biswas.

CPI (M) Polit Bureau member and former Bengal chief minister, Jyoti Basu paid fulsome tributes to the memory of comrade Muzaffar Ahmad. “I had known him from 1940,” said Basu, “and it had been my privilege to work with him and to share his rich experiences for all of three decades.”

Dwelling briefly on the travails of a Communist pioneer like comrade Muzaffar, Basu explained how “Kakababu” had made bold to defy the British rule in India to propagate the revolutionary content of the November Revolution and of socialism as a philosophy of action.

Communist leaders like comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, Basu recalled, “would always speak of a socialist future for India.” “And yet,” lamented Basu, “the drawbacks that plagued the Communist movement in India has seen the advent of an uncivilised regime like that of the BJP and its communal cohorts even after more than half-a-century has passed since the nation gained its political independence.”

There was, however, Basu stressed, no occasion for despair of any kind. “We must guard against our weaknesses, further strengthen the Party organisation, and we must further enhance the Party’s mass contact.” “We must also,” said the CPI (M) leader, “guard the Red bastion in Bengal which serves as a beacon hope to the teeming multitude of the working people all over the country.”

There was need, said Basu, for a vigorous drive towards providing political-ideological education to the Party members in a systematic manner through party classes, and this would then enable them to work much more effectively amongst the masses and to continuously strive towards raising the level of their political consciousness. They must also, concluded Jyoti Basu, learn well the glorious annals of history of the Communist movement and of the Communist Party in India, a history in which the role of comrade Muzaffar Ahmad would continue to provide an important source of inspiration.

Presided over by Polit Bureau member of the CPI (M) Biman Basu, the occasion also saw the annual Muzaffar Ahmad book award going to Dr Shirin Ratnagar for her research work, Understanding the Harappa Civilisation in the Greater Indus Valley, and to Paritosh Dutta for his Uttarbanger Sanskritik Uttaridhikar (the cultural heritage of north Bengal).

The evening also witnessed the release of the second volume of Jyoti Basu’s selected writings, and of Sahitya, Sankrtiti, and Rajniti (literature, culture, and politics) written by the veteran AIDWA leader, Kanak Mukherjee. -----B Prasant