(Veteran Trade Union leader and indefatigable Communist Comrade Yogeshwar Gope passed away on 25 October 2007. Swapan Mukherjee, All-India General Secretary of AICCTU, pays tribute to him.)
Comrade Yogeshwar Gope was born in Kankol village of district Begusarai, Bihar, in 1925 in a poor peasant family. He was a brilliant student studying on government scholarship but left school to participate in 1942 Quit India Movement. But the idea of condemnation of violence during this movement disillusioned him and he gradually shifted towards the communist ideology and got membership of Communist Party of India in 1944. While he involved himself actively in student movement, he studies for his graduation in Patna, simultaneously, toiling hard doing tuitions for sustenance.
He joined state govt. as lower division clerk (LDC) in Patna and got elected as General Secretary of Secretariat Employees in 1957-58. His commitment was such that in 1956 Vidhan Sabha elections he took leave from duty to campaign for CPI candidate Chandrashekhar Singh from North Begusarai. The Congress candidate was defeated in the election for the first time. For this, Comrade Gope was victimised as he faced suspension from service and he could resume his job only after long months of struggle.
Bihar Non-Gazetted Employees’ Maha Sangh was formed in 1958 comprising ten organisations, and Comrade Gope was elected its General Secretary in 1966 in Chhapra Conference. And after that it was a glorious history of struggles which expanded the organisation throughout the state covering employees from Secretariat to districts and block level offices. Some of the major strike struggles under his leadership were, in 1968 for 15 days, 1972-73 for 37 days, and a 9-day struggle in 1981. Through these actions, the Maha Sangh succeeded in expanding its organisation further among teachers and semi-govt. employees on the one hand while Comrade Gope emerged as the undisputed and tallest leader of state govt. employees in Bihar and gained admirations throughout the country for his able leadership and commitment for the cause as well. After his retirement in 1983, he continued with the state govt. employees’ organisation and also became the President of CITU, Bihar.
The ongoing powerful militant mass movement of the peasantry in the rural belts of Bihar attracted this veteran honest communist leader towards the CPI(ML). And in 1989 he finally joined the Party along with most of the leaders, cadres, mass base of state employees for the development of revolutionary working class movement. He was elected Vice President of AICCTU in 1989 at its Chennai Conference, and President in the Kolkata Conference held in 1992. He continued with this assignment till his last. He was elected MLA in 1992 Bihar Assembly elections from Masaurhi (Patna). Though he was one of the tallest leaders of employees and workers in Hindi heart land and beyond, his unassuming character and down-to-earth nature made him immensely popular among the general masses. Irrespective of old age and serious health problems he personally led the historic strike of 2004-05 which many people feel acted as the catalyst to the defeat of Laloo Govt. Despite his failing health, he attended the Burdhaman Cadre Convention and all other major Party programmes till he was admitted in SGPGI, Lucknow, where he breathed his last on 25 October 2007.
His body was brought to Patna and kept at CPI(ML) office where thousands of employees, workers and other toiling people paid homage to the departed leader. Comrade UN Mishra, Secretary of CPI, Bihar State Committee, Com. Chandi Prasad, President CITU, Bihar, leaders from SUCI and other left and democratic organisations paid homage to Comrade Yogeshwar Gope, besides a number of journalists, intellectuals, and people from various walks of life from Patna. His body was taken to Vidhan Sabha and Patna Secretariat where hundreds of employees paid homage to their beloved leader. The funeral procession was led by CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya along with Politburo members Nand Kishore Prasad and Ramjatan Sharma, besides AICCTU General Secretary Swapan Mukharjee, Central Committee members Ramji Rai, KD Yadav, BB Pandey, Saroj Chaube, Kunal, Amar, AIPWA leader Mina Tiwari, AIALA President Rameshwar Prasad, AIALA Bihar President Pawan Sharma, AIKSS leader Rajaram Singh and many other TU leaders and many members of Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Comrade Yogeshwar Gope led a long struggling life, always from the forefront, and upheld the communist values throughout the sixty five years of his active political life. He remained active for the cause of the working people and consistently fought for the fulfilment of their dreams till his last breath.
We pledge to fulfil his unfinished mission. Red Salute to Comrade Yogeshwar Gope