Monday, January 18, 2010

End of a Saga

The State of West Bengal is mourning the death of the eldest statesman of the country--Comrade Jyoti Basu who led the state for 23 years, and paved for the state to be ruled for continuous 32 years by the Communist Party. This is the only state in the world where communists have ruled over 100 million people through a democratically elected process. There is so much said and read about this man. Hated, feared, revered and loved. I thought of picking somethings that had been said about him today's newspapers, and present it for the view of my readers:

Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the former Governor of West Bengal: "Over my last two visits to him, when he received me in his bedroom, I noticed that on a dressing table at the far end of the room, stood three framed pictures. One was of Kamaldi, one of his grandchildren and the third one, smaller than the other two, of Venkateswara, the deity worshipped in Tirupati. I did not ask about it and assumed that it had been placed there by some devout person and that Jyotibabu had not interfered with that gesture. I do not know about its provenance, but it said a great deal to me, that little picture there.

For Jyoti Basu to be ideologically committed was not the same thing as being intellectually closed, to be doctrinally connected was not the same as becoming an island of received wisdoms. Consistency was not coextensive with conceptual stagnation, nor loyalty the same as mental slavery. He knew in the core of his being that vitally important as an ideology is, there is such a thing as the web of Life which has its dividing lines but also interconnections. When he strove it was for the success of his beliefs, not for the defeat of others’.

On the militant trade unionism that led to the closure of thousands of companies in the state, The Telegraph newspaper published from Kolkata writes: "Chief minister Jyoti Basu clucked his tongue over these incidents but did little to restrain the marauding mobs. With their top managers beaten, intimidated and humiliated, companies that had established their headquarters in Bengal would have no choice but to scurry out of the state.

This is the most enduring bit of Basu’s chequered legacy: by failing to rein in the belligerent trade union leaders early in his reign, he found that he couldn’t exercise control over the anarchy that inevitably followed. Bengal soon sank into a morass, turning into an industrial wasteland of lost opportunities with an ever-shrinking pool of jobs. It coloured perceptions about Bengal and created deep-seated prejudices against the state that it is still fighting against."

Finally, the mortal remains of the leader will be donated to a medical college for research after homage is paid to him on 19 January 2010. Jyoti Basu RIP.


A-rob said...

Yeah it was a weird day in Kolkata. Streets were closed off and the red flag flew everywhere.

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