Red Salute to Comrade Tapan Chakraborty

It was March 15, 2002. Comrades in Siliguri, as elsewhere, took out a procession condemning the Shila Pujan in Ayodhya and calling for communal amity. Leading them was comrade Tapan Chakraborty, Party’s Darjeeling district secretary. On his way home after the procession comrade Tapan––or Sonada, as he was popularly called––met with a fatal road accident. The best possible medical treatment by a panel of senior doctors failed to save him. He breathed his last on March 19. 

Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya rushed to Siliguri and so did comrades from all over West Bengal. The next day floral tributes were paid to the veteran comrade by the General Secretary, State Secretary and politbureau member Kartick Pal and numerous other comrades including Comrade Gouri, his wife and member of the party’s Darjeeling district committee, by district leaders of CPI (M) and other left parties and communist revolutionary organisations, representatives of various democratic organisations including the APDR and the Muslim Progressive Society. Led by the General Secretary and State Secretary a funeral rocession was taken out and his mortal remains consigned to flames.

Born in 1945, comrade Tapan joined left politics during his student days. He was elected the Hooghly district secretary of the Bengal Provincial Student’s Federation, the CPI(M)’s student wing, and a member of its Tribeni-Mogra Zonal Committee in mid-sixties. Responding to the spring thunder of Naxalbari, he joined the revolutionary stream and started working in the Durgapur-Asansol industrial area. In the early and mid-seventies he played a vanguard role in the reorganisation of CPI (M-L) and became a member of the WB state committee and an alternate member of the central committee. Next year he took up political work among the peasantry and tea garden workers in Darjeeling district. He was accompanying comrade Vinod Mishra and other comrades when they were encircled by the police at Barpathu Jote village near Siliguri on January 1-2, 1979. As the responsible comrade of the area, comrade Tapan paid the greatest attention to ensuring the safety of other comrades, but in the process he himself got arrested. 
In the period of over-ground party work, apart from orgainsing peasants in Darjeeling district, Comrade Tapan made a breakthrough in the tough task of developing our trade union in tea gardens. He was the founder and working president of the “Tarai Struggling Tea Workers’ Union.” He was re-elected to the party’s West Bengal State Committee in the state conference held in November 2001.

From militant student movement to organising industrial labour to armed peasant movement to the overall responsibilities of over-ground party organisation––comrade Tapan went through a long, eventful journey for the cause of Indian revolution. His illustrious political career was remembered with great emotion and admiration in a memorial meeting held in Siliguri on April 3. In addition to comrade Kartick Pal and other state leaders, leaders of several other organisations including comrade RB Rai of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxism (CPRM) spoke on the occasion.

The untimely departure of comrade Tapan Chakraborty (he was only 56) is a great loss to the Party. His fine qualities––his simple, warm behaviour, his high sense of responsibility and consistant stress on ideological-political consolidation of the Party––will forever inspire us to march forward. Liberation pays tributes to the departed leader and shares the grief with all comrades, friends and relatives. Long live comrade Sonada!