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Jyoti Basu: a True Communist

  • Date Submitted: 03/30/2010 03:14 PM
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Jyoti Basu was born on 8 July 1914 as Jyotirindra Basu into an upper middle-class Bengali family in Kolkata West Bengal, India. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife. Educated at St Xavier's School and College, the Presidency College of the University of Calcutta.   Further Basu studied in England, where he qualified as a barrister at the Middle Temple. During his stay in England Basu became actively associated with the India League and the Federation of Indian Students in England. He was the Secretary of London Majlis and made contacts with the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Basu returned to Calcutta in 1940 and became a leader of the Eastern Bengal Railroad Workers' Union. He was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1946. After partition, he remained member of the Assembly but was arrested when the Communist Party of India was banned following its call for open revolt. He was released upon the orders of the High Court and remained a Legislative Assembly Member between 1952 and 1972.

In the 1950s Basu, with Parmode Das Gupta, became the joint leader of the West Bengal Communists. He became state party secretary and led the parliamentary tactics of the CPI in Bengal against the Congress. The anti-Congress nature of Bengal Communism led Basu to align with the Communist Party of India (CPI (M)) following the division of the Communist Party of India in 1964.

In 1967 Basu became Deputy Chief Minister in a coalition United Front government in Bengal in which the CPI (M) was one of the leading parties. This coalition collapsed after eight months. Fresh elections were held in February 1969 in which the CPI (M) emerged as the largest party. Basu was again Deputy Chief Minister in a United Front government that lasted until 1971.

In 1977 Basu was elected to the Parliament from Satgachia. The CPI (M) also won a majority in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. Basu became Chief Minister of West Bengal and...

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