The Hero of Naxalbari Peasant Upsurge Com. Manilal Singha is No More
Com. Manilal Singha, veteran of the Naxalbari Movement, passed away at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital on 10 February 2011, after sustaining a massive heart attack at his native village Telengagachh in Darjeeling district. He was 86. He is survived by his two sons.
Comrade Manilal was born in 1924 in a middle peasant family. He had his primary school education in Tetulia Primary School in the then undivided Bengal. But he could only continue till Std. IV. When he came of age, he joined the Jayprakash Narayan-led Socialist Party in 1947. He later came in contact with Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal and became a member of the undivided Communist Party of India in 1952. Inspired by the first three documents of Charu Mazumdar he along with Dipak Biswas, Shanti Pal, and Kadam Mallick set off an intensive campaign among the landless peasants of Darjeeling district since 1965. On 7 May 1967, he presided over the historic Kisan Sammelan held at Rambhola Jote, Khoribari that witnessed the first clarion call for protracted armed struggle.
He was one of the proud members of the third delegation (along with Shanti Pal, Souren Basu, Kadam Mallick, Dulal Chanda, Anil Mukherjee, Sukumar Roy and Pabitra Sengupta) to China that had to brave the tortuous road to Beijing, in a journey that began from Naxalbari on 22 November 1967.
In his long and courageous political career he had to suffer intermittent imprisonments. While remaining behind bars for years together, Com. Manilal underwent a fast-unto- death in 1967 for months to earn the status of political prisoners, led a heroic jail break in 1971 and was convicted for life imprisonment in 1974 in a fake murder case. He was later released in 1977 from Behrampur Jail.
After a long stint of absence from active politics for more than two decades, he finally joined CPI(ML) Liberation in 1998. Despite his old age and his prolonged period of illness, he remained a staunch soldier of the people’s cause till his last breath.
The Darjeeling District Committee of the party organized a memorial meeting at his native village on 18 March 2011 to pay revolutionary tribute to the deceased leader. It was attended by a large number of villagers and the state and district leadership of the party.
Com. Manilal Singha’s revolutionary grit will continue to inspire us in the struggles ahead.
Long Live Comrade Manilal Singha !
Adieu to Writer and Cultural Activist Comrade Anil Sinha
The entire progressive cultural movement and our own party suffered a heavy loss with the sudden passing of Jan Sanskriti Manch activist Comrade Anil Sinha on 25 February at Patna. Comrade Anil Sinha suffered a massive brain haemorrhage during a train journey from Delhi to Patna on 22 February after which he remained in a deep coma till he breathed his last.
Born on 11 January 1942 in Jehanabad district of Bihar, Anilji completed his post-graduation from Patna University. However he left his PhD research incomplete, refusing to make adjustments with the politicking and culture of currying favours in the university.
Right from the start, he resolved to work with progressive movements for social change, and joined the CPI(ML) early on, when the party was still underground. Never-failingly mild-mannered, he commanded a wide range of talents behind his disarming humility. Short-story writer, literary critic, journalist, art critic, and cultural activist, he was an integral and inseparable part of the radical cultural stream and his writing spanned over half a century. Till his last breath, he never wavered in his staunch commitment to the party and to people’s struggles.
He was one of the founding members of the Jan Sanskriti Manch. As the first secretary of the Uttar Pradesh unit of JSM, he played an unforgettable part. Right till the end, he remained active as a leading activist in JSM’s National Executive. A year ago, he had suffered his first stroke, but remained active in all JSM’s activities with his customary enthusiasm. Even in the past year when he was recuperating from the stroke, he would take on a variety of tasks as required by JSM. Exactly a month before his fatal stroke, he had participated actively in the Shamsher Birth Centenary event at Delhi – when many comrades and friends met him for the last time.
His first short stories began to appear around 1956 in the Allahabad-based publication ‘Kahani.’ As a journalist, Anilji had worked in a variety of papers and magazines including Amrit Prabhat and Nav Bharat Times. He penned a column called ‘Sarjana’ in the Rashtriya Sahara at Lucknow. In the 1970s, he contributed to the Little Magazine movement, bringing out a literary magazine called Vinimay. His short-story collection ‘Matth’ and his book on Hindi journalism, ‘Hindi Patrakarita – Itihas, Swaroop evam Sambhavnayen’ were especially notable. In recent times, the book ‘Samrajyavad ka virosh aur jatiyon ka unmoolan’ (anti-imperialism and annihilation of caste) was published.
His creative writing spanned the wide range of literary art criticism, memoirs, travel writing and journalism, as well as writings on art and cinema.
We share the shock and grief felt by his family (especially his wife, his daughters and his son), cultural activists and writers, and the very large number of people who had had occasion to experience the warmth of his personality. His sudden demise is an irreparable loss, but his gentle and generous spirit will remain with us.
Red Salute to Comrade Gopaldhar Yadav
Comrade Gopaldhar Yadav, Bastar district secretary and member of the Chhattisgarh state leading team passed away untimely on 8 April 2011 in a hospital in Raipur, where he had been admitted due to a liver abscess and severe jaundice. He was 55. Comrade Gopaldhar is survived by four sisters.
He had studied till his matriculation. He had been active in left politics since his student days, in the Communist Party of India (CPI). He made a break with the CPI after a period of ideological debates and joined CPI(ML) in 2000.
While in the CPI itself he had been active in the struggles of cement and mines workers. He laid the foundation of our party’s work in Bastar. He taught himself to speak the language of the adivasis in order to integrate with their struggles. He was elected a delegate to the 8th Party Congress at Kolkata. At a time when Bastar and Chhattisgarh are being racked by Green Hunt, state repression and Salwa Judum, he held aloft the CPI(ML) flag boldly.
On Comrade Gopaldhar’s demise, the party observed a day of mourning on 9 April all over the state. Condolence meetings were held at Raipur, Bilaspur and Bhilai. Contract workers in the Bhilai Steel Plant and Bhilai municipality sanitation workers attended the condolence meeting in Bhilai, which was addressed by Central Committee member Comrade Rajaram, Comrades J P Nayar, Shiv Kumar Prasad, R P Gajendra, Prasad Rao as well as Comrade Brijendra Tiwari, convener of the State leading team. Comrade Brijendra Tiwari also attended the condolence meeting at Jagdalpur on 17 April. The Jagdalpur and Bastar comrades felt Comrade Gopaldhar’s loss keenly, but vowed to carry forward his work of establishing the party and intensifying people’s struggles in the region.