Among the present chief Ministers in the different regions of India, Jyoti Basu happens to be holding the reins of power in a region for the longest period at a stretch. He is unparalleled in many ways. His life history indicates how being committed to destroy a system one can still become an upholder of that system. Right now Jyoti Basu has become the 'great mediator' of our national politics.
However, the purpose of this book is not to indulge in unalloyed adulation or biased panegyrics born out of an overwhelming infatuation but to present in a highly readable and thought-provoking manner a balanced and level-headed, impartial and thoroughgoing evaluation of his regime for the last 14 years, highlighting both the positive and negative contours of this long period with the help of a massive amount of carefully collected data: historical, economic, political and statistical. In various chapters the author has wielded his pen almost like a sword and made a shrewd and sardonic, insightful and intriguing and also perhaps a heretical and iconoclastic analysis of the jig-saw puzzle which is known as leftist politics in West Bengal or for that matter, India, at the present moment.
Surajit Kumar Dasgupta (b. 1938), son of a swashbucking airlines officer who in the first phase of his life had a colourful career in the Norwegian Navy during the second world war days, was initially a Scholarship-winning student of Science, he Ultimately passed his B.A. (Hons.) in Economics & Political Science from Calcutta's Presidency College and later took an M.A. degree in Political Science from Calcutta University. In his college days in the fifties he was widely reputed as an romantic poet of West Bengal whose surrealistic love-poems attracted the admiring notice of the intelligentsia. For more than 20 years he had been connected in different capacities with Hindusthan Standard, Free Press Journal, Industrial Times, and Amrita Bazar Petrike.
The complex and convoluted mosaic of Indian politics has always befuddled both the native and foreign observers. This comment applies with equal force to West Bengal's regional politics as well. Experience indicates that every politican in all the ages and all the countries of the world must be prepared to receive not only bouquets but also brickbats.
Among the present Chief Ministers in the different regions of India, Jyoti Basu happens to be holding the reins of power in a region for the longest period at a stretch. Since 1977 till now many great upheavals have taken place in our national politics as a result of which all the other regions have been influenced in varying degrees. The only exception seems to be West Bengal and its Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. Jyoti Basu is reputed not simply because he had been continuing for fourteen years at a stretch but because he had been operating in the arena of parliamentary politics for half a century despite being a communist leader. He is unparalleled in many ways. His life history indicates how being committed to destroy a system one can still become an upholder of that system. Looked at from this point of view he has succeeded in bringing about a synthesis between two contrary roles.
Jyoti Basu has a special image not only in the eyes of the Government of this country but the foreign Governments also look upon him as slightly different from other communists. There is little doubt that he has all along received a status which is not usually available to the other communist leaders both at home and abroad. All the parties like Congress, Janata Dal and BJP kept their doors open for Jyoti Basu and it was difficult to find out a more competent person for high-level confidential discussions. Right now Jyoti Basu has become the great mediator of our national politics.
However, the purpose of this book is not to indulge in unalloyed adulation or biased panegyrics born out of over- whelming infatuation but to present a balanced evaluation of his regime for the last 14 years, highlighting both the positive and negative contours of this long period with the help of a massive amount of carefully collected motley data, historical, economic, political and statistical.
My gratitude to my wife Gayatri and two sisters Sunanda and Sumitra are unbounded because without their active and unstinted co-operation and unfailing encouragement and inspiration at every step, this book could never have been written at all. Thanks are also due to my publisher Gian Publishing House but for whose kind-hearted invitation I could never think of undertaking this difficult and painstaking study involving such a controversial political figure as Jyoti Basu.
Jyoti Basu was born on 8th July in the year 1914 in Calcutta. His father, Doctor Nishikanta Basu was a homoeopatbic physician and his mother's name was Hemlata Devi. Nishikanta was a close friend of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy as well as Nalini Ranjan Sarkar. It was Nalini Ranjan who appointed Nishikanta in the position of a Medical Officer in the Hindusthan Insurance Company. The Basus originally hailed from the village Barodi which is included in the Dacca District. But from the very beginning Nishikanta Basu and his family had been residents of Calcutta. In 1924, Nishikanta purchased a plot of land in Hindusthan Park and erected a mansion. Formerly, they used to stay in rented premises in different areas of Calcutta. The building at Hindusthan Park is now the residence of Jyoti Basu and his family.
Nishikanta was the father of two sons and one daughter. The names of the two sons are Sourindrakiran and Jyotikiran. It is this Jyotikiron who is presently known as Jyoti Basu. Nishikanta's daughter's name was Sudha under whose affectionate care, Jyoti Basu grew up. Sudha Devi was married to Doctor Snehamoy Datta who was the Principal of Calcutta's Presidency College. Their son Amal Datta is a Bar-at-Law, and an erstwhile CPI(M) member in the 9th Lok Sabha. Jyoti Basu took his education first of all in the Loreto school at Dharmatala from where he went to St. Xavier's school. He passed his Senior Cambridge from that institution and got admitted into Presidency College. After graduating from that college with Honours in English he went to England in 1935 for higher education. At first he was much interested in passing the ICS and in 1936 he did appear in that examination, but as ill luck would have it, he was unsuccessful.
Subsequently at the age of 21 he got himself enrolled in Middle Temple and ultimately became a barrister. Jyoti Basu returned to India in 1939. At this time his father arranged his marriage with a damsel named Chhabi who happened to be the grand daughter of Ishan Chandra Ghosh. But this conjugal life was of a very short duration because with the conclusion of the year 1942 Chhabi breathed her last. Even the legendary physician Bidhan Chandra Roy who was in charge of her treatment could not save her from the jaws of death. From an account of Snehangshu Acharya, it is known that at her death Jyoti Basu caught hold of her hand and wept bitterly.
It was in 1948 that Jyoti Basu married for the second time. The name of his second wife is Kamal Basu. The first child begotten by them was a daughter who however expired nine days after her birth. Thereafter the son Chandan was born in the month of September in the year 1952. Chandan is now the father of three daughters. But he has no connection with the world of politics. He is a business man whose biscuit factory is situated at Durgapur.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAQ468 Author: Surajit Kumar Dasgupta Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 1992 Publisher: Gian Publishing House Language: English Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch Pages: 268 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.4 Kg