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Jyoti Basu: Behind the Scenes of a 23-Year Reign


Jyoti Basu, a prominent Indian communist leader, was born on July 8, 1914, in Kolkata. He served as West Bengal’s Chief Minister for 23 years from 1977 to 2000 and played a crucial role in shaping the policies of the Communist Party of India, of which he was a founding member. Basu remained an active member of the party’s politburo for over four decades, from its formation in 1964 until 2008.

Credit: Twitter Image/@CPIM_WESTBENGAL

Class of ISC in 1973 poses for the camera at the then Jubilee House at Dr. Graham’s Homes in Kalimpong. The Homes were established as a vocational training school where abandoned children were relocated to British colonies such as New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, where they could establish themselves with the job skills, learned in Kalimpong.

Basu grew up in a family of intellectuals, where his father, Nishikanta Basu, worked as a physician in Barudi, Dhaka, and his mother, Hemlata Basu, was a homemaker. He received his education in Kolkata, attended lectures by political theorist and economist Harold Laski, who had a profound impact on his anti-fascist views. 

In the early 1940s, Basu organized a workers union for the Bengal Assam Railway and founded and led the Bengal Nagpur Railway Workers Union. He also became the secretary of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation for his notable contributions to the trade union movement. 

In 1946, Basu became the Communist Party’s candidate for the Railway Employee’s constituency in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. He gained popularity for his speech on the food crisis in Bengal and orchestrated a railway strike to secure the release of political prisoners. Basu was elected as a Central Committee member in 1954. He fearlessly fought against oppressive systems and policies, even when it meant putting himself in harm’s way. In 1954, he escaped custody during a teachers’ agitation and found refuge in the West Bengal Legislature.

Source: Wikipedia

A historic moment that resonates with revolutionary fervor! Jyoti Basu, the stalwart leader, delivers a powerful address at the inaugural session of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Delhi. His impassioned words ignite the spirit of socialism, laying the foundation for progressive ideologies and guiding the party towards a brighter future.

The statement made by Mr. Basu in a 1980 interview with India Today reflects the vision of a great political leader. He said, “Our term will not end before another couple of years. Nothing has happened that can call for elections now. Why should we be bothered?” 

Jyoti Basu, a steadfast proponent of state unity, opposed the division of West Bengal on linguistic grounds and supported Mohit Mitra’s candidacy during by-elections. On 17th January 2010, he passed away, leaving behind an enduring legacy. His Barudi home was transformed into a library after his death, preserving his memory for future generations.

Source: Wikipedia

A solemn moment of grief and solidarity! Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, and Sitaram Yechury, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), express their condolences during a somber occasion. Their compassionate words offer solace and support, a reminder of the power of unity and empathy in times of mourning.

Jyoti Basu, the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, had a strong connection with Kalimpong city. He visited several times during the 1980s and attended various public events, including the inauguration of a new building for the West Bengal State Electricity Board in 1985. Basu also actively participated in initiatives aimed at promoting tourism and boosting the local economy in the region, highlighting his commitment to the development and progress of all areas of West Bengal. 

Source: Facebook / @CafeKalimpong

In the enchanting town of Kalimpong, raindrops dance upon the emerald leaves, unveiling a serene symphony of nature’s embrace. Mist enshrouds the majestic hills, painting a picture of ethereal beauty. Every cobblestone street gleams with fresh showers, as the aroma of wet earth weaves through the vibrant gardens, creating a dreamy sanctuary in the rain.

Kalimpong is a peaceful town located in the northeastern region of India, near the Teesta River and adjacent to the state of Sikkim. Its quiet atmosphere is heightened by the presence of monasteries and churches across the town. However, Kalimpong also has bustling bazaars and traditional handicrafts to offer. It is famous for its orchids and nurseries, producing 80% of the total gladioli produced in India. Travelers can visit some important nurseries across the town and look at their collection of flowers, orchids and cacti. The town also offers panoramic views of the great Himalayan ranges that lie beyond it. There are numerous places of tourist interest in Kalimpong including the Tharpa Choeling Gompa, Tongsa Gompa, and Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa monasteries.