If anyone questions an Indian to name a communist leader of India, nine out of ten would give the name of Jyoti Basu. The longest serving Chief Minister of West Bengal became the longest serving for any state who reigned for 23 continuous years. The leader who has now left the world at the age of 96 can be called the most respected of the country too.
When he assumed power in the year 1977 for the state of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu brought in reforms to the pivotal state of India. He brought in land reforms and showed to the people of the state what they ought to have. He has inculcated in the minds of the people what their rights are. And in the process, the de-industrilisation of West Bengal set in. The very policies which were lauded a decade ago became burdensome a decade later. The people of West Bengal who suddenly woke up to a backward state which could not create employment for its people. And with growing old age and growing pressure to change the course of the state which he set up, Jyoti Basu handed over the stewardship of the state to Buddadeb Bhattacharya and led a retired life.
But the personal charm of Jyoti Basu was missed by the Bengalis big time when the Singur crisis and Nandigram crisis fell onto them. May be Basuda would have resolved the crisis for the betterment of the state felt the Bengalis and the silently echoed the hearts of rest of Indians. Such is the charm of the departed Basu. No other leader of the country commanded that much respect, if not love, among their subjects.
May be the critics of Basu’s administration hamper on the fact that Bengal was relegated from the forefront of development in the country, but the stability in Governance and the political stability brought in the policies of Basu are unquestionable. Basu led the career of a party-man. He put his party, CPI(M) before his own political career. The testimony to this fact was the year 1996 when his party denied him to become the Prime Minister of the country. “It is a historic blunder,” termed Basuda at that point but he never grew angst against the party. If his party did not do that blunder, may be Basu would have had a great chance to steer the country in a different direction. But India never had that opportunity.
Jyoti Basu was revered as a politician and administrator even by his opponents. None dared to criticise him openly. He was a man of unquestionable character. He epitomized the Communist like no other leader in India. And his popularity echoed in far-off distant lands. The evidence came in after his death on 17th of January. Thousands bode farewell to their loved leader in the streets of Kolkata on 19th of January.
May Comrade Jyotindra Basu rest in peace,