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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 52, New Delhi, December 12, 2020

Nitai Basu, last ‘comrade’ of Kakdwip battle, is no more | Subhankar Gupta

Friday 11 December 2020


by Subhankar Gupta

Nitai Basu (real name Nityagopal Basu), the last activist of historic peasant struggle of Kakdwip led by the All India Krishak Sabha in West Bengal within a year after India achieved independence passed away on December 6, 2020. AIKS was the peasant front of undivided Communist Party of India. He was 90.

After the Tebhaga movement was called off by the WB unit of AIKS and state CPI leadership under compelling circumstances, a large number of peasants landless and marginal peasants, plunged into a battle in all districts of West Bengal excepting Burdwan and West Bengal with the same demands as Tebhaga struggle which was most widespread in Dinajpur, Rangpur and Jalpaiguri districts in pre-partition Bengal. In West Bengal, the thrust of the movement was most intensive in undivided 24 Parganas district. A new history was scripted by intrepid peasants at Kakdwip, Dubir Bheri and Chandanpiri. The legendary Kangsari Halder a k a Madhu and Ashoke Bose a k a Nikunja emerged therefrom. Netai Basu who became a member of CPI in 1948 and plunged into the battle whie he was a student. He served as a crucial courier too risking his life. He went underground and was imprisoned too.

Basu later became a leading functionary of All India Student Federation, another mass front of CPI. Thereafter, he entered academia as a lecturer in economics. He was the head of the department of economics at City College under the University of Calcutta.

He recorded his political life in his memoirs in Bengali, Oshitipar Chokhe Firey Dekha

Communist Jiban ( An octogenarian looks back into his as a communist There he made bones of his disapproval of undivided CPI and excesses of party leadership of Left sectarian days ( 1948-51, when B. T. Ranadive was the general secretary of the party.

He worked at the St Xaviers’ Institute, Ranchi, where he worked among the Adivasis and their life. Based on this, he wrote a book, ‘Forests and Tribals’. Back in Calcutta, he took the initiative –Forum for People’s Initiative which attracted luminaries like the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chittatosh Mukherjee, ex-chief justice of Bombay High Court and Jolly Mohan Kaul, a prominent leader of undivided CPI. Mainstream carried several articles, written by him.

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