The power and charisma of Jyoti Basu as a political leader is unquestionable. His 23 years of rule as the Chief Minister of West Bengal itself proves that. He was the co-founder of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the longest serving Chief Minister of Independent India. He belonged to CPI (M), but he was respected all across the political spectrum. In 1960s and 1970s violence was at its peak in West Bengal. He was the one to bring about peace and tried his best to control the violence caused by Leftists and Naxalites. His secular ideas helped the state to escape from a lot of religious clashes that could have taken place; as that was the time when the whole country was facing Hindu-Muslim riots. Jyoti Basu, ruled from 1977 to 2000.
Jyoti Basu who was initially named Jyotindra Basu was born to Nishikanta Basu and Hemalata Basu. He was their third child and belonged to an upper middle-class family, in Calcutta, West Bengal. It was in school where his name was shortened to Jyoti Basu. At the age of six, he started his schooling from Loreto School. Later, he moved to St. Xavier’s School. He completed his bachelor’s degree in English from Presidency College, University Of Calcutta. Soon after this, he went to London to pursue high studies in law. In 1940, he became a barrister at the Middle Temple.
Basu’s first steps towards politics were in London where he joined India League and London Majlis. He stood for the cause of Indian Independence. Basu, registered himself as a barrister in Calcutta High Court but never really practiced it, rather, he started participating actively in politics. In 1944, he first involved himself in trade union activities where he was appointed to work against CPI. Jyoti Basu became the General Secretary of the union when B.N. Railway Workers Union and B.D. Rail Road Workers Union merged. His major turning point was in 1946 when the Bengal Provincial Assembly elections were held and he was selected from the Railway Workers constituency. There was no turning back after that; he became one of the most influential leaders India had ever seen. Basu, actively participated in Tebhaga movement in West Bengal. In 1951, he was selected in the central committee of CPI. From 1953-1961, he worked as the secretary of the West Bengal Provincial Committee. In 1964, when the CPI (Marxist) was formed he was elected to its Central Committee and Politburo. In 1967 and 1969, he became the Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front Government. In 1971, CPI (M) became the largest party to win in the assembly elections. They however refused to form a ministry and president’s party came into power. In 1972, Basu lost the elections from Baranagar Assembly constituency.
In 1977, Jyoti Basu became the Chief Minister of the Left Front government and created a history in India by ruling it for 23 long years. He could have been first communist head of the country. In 1996, he was almost on the verge of becoming the Prime Minister of India but was rejected due to a mutual decision from his party. Basu retired as the Chief Minister of West Bengal on 6th November, 2000 due his declining health.
In 1940, Jyoti Basu was married to Basanti (Chabi) Ghosh. However, she passed away two years later. In 1948, he married for the second time to Kamala Basu. They had a girl child, but the child suffered from diarrhea and dehydration. She died few days later. A year later, their next child was born. He was known as Khoka, or Chandan.
Illness and Death
Basu was suffering from pneumonia and was therefore admitted to AMRI hospital on 1st January, 2010. His condition worsened on 16th January due to multiple organ failure. On 17th January, 2010, India lost a great leader like him. Public mourning was followed by his death. As the body of the Marxist veteran was driven through the streets of Calcutta, draped in national flag, sea of people poured into the streets from all corners of the city to pay their last respect.
Pratibha Patel: the nation has lost a veteran and eminent public figure
Manmohan Singh: He was a powerful regional voice in the national political scene and helped to strengthen Indian federalism... He was a man of great integrity with a deep commitment to secular values. I have personally had a very long association with Basu. On many occasions in my career, I turned to him for his sagacious advice on all matters, whether they related to West Bengal or to issues of national importance.
Hamid Ansari: His sagacity and leadership at both the state and the national level have been a source of inspiration and guidance
Atal Bihari Vajpayee: ended a chapter in the country's politics.
Arum Jaitley: He was devoted to his ideology and played the longest innings in Indian politics
P. Chidambaram: He was a colossus who straddled India's political scene for many decades. Not only the leader of West Bengal, but of India. He was a great patriot, great democrat, great parliamentarian and great source of inspiration. He served the people of India to the best.
(FOLLOWER OF Mr. JYOTI BASU)
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