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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 27, June 25, 2011

CPM, Jyoti Basu, M.N. Roy

Tuesday 28 June 2011


I congratulate you on your two editorials: one, Mamata propels historic change in West Bengal, and the other in a later issue on the debacle of the CPM in the West Bengal elections.

In this context I wish to refer to two incidents—one, when I travelled with your late illustrious father, Nikhil Chakravartty, who, according to me, was the topmost Communist intellectual of his time. While travelling together I said that Jyoti Basu will help Bangladesh on the water issue and added a few good words about Jyoti Basu. Your father immediately said: “You are a baby, you don’t know Jyoti Basu. He will never help Bangladesh.” Then he added that Jyoti Basu became popular in Bangladesh because he annihilated the Naxalites (CP-ML activists). He directed the CPM cadres to catch hold of all CP-ML activists in Kolkata and butcher them. It is thus that he made the CPM a goonda party. Although you don’t use this expression for the CPM you seem to have in mind the evil deeds of the CPM that are reflected in your two editorials. Nikhil Chakravartty concluded by saying: ‘You will one day see the result of this.’ Yes, we have seen the result in the last elections when Mamata almost wiped out the CPM from West Bengal.

I would like to refer to another incident. Some years ago my wife and I were invited by our friend S. Basu (brother-in-law of Jyoti Basu) to have lunch at his place with Jyoti Basu. We went there. There were a few Indian Bengalis and a few from East Pakistan. One of them in his misguided enthusiasm said: ‘Mr Basu, Dr Pal had stayed with M.N. Roy for a few years.’ Jyoti Basu said: ‘Roy did not do anything for the country.’ One of the East Pakistani Bengalis commented: ‘Sir, how can you say that? The only Indian, M.N. Roy, occupied almost all the high positions in the Communist International.’ One Indian Bengali added: ‘Sir, if there were no M.N. Roy, Jyoti Basus and Muzaffar Ahmads could not have become leaders of the communist movement in India.’

It is most unfortunate that the CPM does not recognise the contributions of M.N. Roy who was recognised as a great Marxist theoretician. His book, India in Transition, is even now treated by the Communists in general as a bible.
Thane, Mumbai R.M. Pal

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