Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tribute Jyoti Basu

Remembering Jyoti Basu

Immortalized in death

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Jyoti Basu is no more. After a fortnight of struggle with life he finally succumbed. It is inevitable and none can stop it whether one is a believer or non believer. What is more important is the work that person does and the legacy he leave behind. At the end, it is important what you do. Jyoti Basu lived upto his convictions, a truly Marxist, an atheist and a firm believer in science. He donated his eyes and his body will be used by medical science student for research purposes. What a contrast when you see the cremation of political class and I do not want to say just upper castes but of every religion. Jyoti Basu has debunked all those who feel that India can not be a country of non believers. Even when millions of believers are coming to Kumbha fair and destroying the Ganges, the conviction of Jyoti Basu need to be applauded.

That is why this obituary is being written from a different angle. I have been a critique of left front government in West Bengal and Kerala. Not because it did not work but because I felt it was always a bhadralok representative government and communism was never a matter as what matter more was Bengali Bhadralok identity. The Bengali bhadralok come in street in large number to say Lal Salaam to Jyoti Babu in his last journey, one need to understand that not all of them would like to emulate what Jyoti babu did in his death. Yes, the dark reality is that despite 30 years of left front rule, West Bengal remains one of the most rigid states in India where superstition is perhaps more than any other state and caste consciousness is equally high if not visible in the form of physical violence. No doubt, it is a state where any creative person would love to visit, where we can discuss on Mao to Marx, where the people are conscious of their rights and can take up to the street, but at the same point of time, it is a state where class consciousness is very high. Respect for Jyoti Babu does not come from his being communist but because he belong to their class, a bhadralok class. One can see the tributes in our daily newspapers. Right from capitalist Times of India to Marxist’s faithful The Hindu, the tribute is similar. The moaning is simple because he belongs to a particular class and community. It would not have been the same if he did not belong to an aristocratic family or upper caste bhadralok. We know the ‘capitalist’ newspaper condemning Marx and communists yet they all are moaning on the death of the ‘king of communists’. They condemn CPM in West Bengal but then why they loved Basu. It comes from the caste back ground. Yes, Jyoti Babu was truly tight lipped, British educated Bhadralok and a fair number of our journalists still worship that nature of Indian society. Ofcourse, one can find Jyoti Babu much better than his follower Buddha Dev, who went to woe all the capitalists and did not feel shy of talking to Advani about ‘problems in Madarasas’. After Buddha Dev’s ascendency, left became equal to ‘right’ in that state as Muslims became isolated and Dalits frustrated. The big MNCs got license to loot as left became the biggest supporter of them in a state where people were looking for basic amenities.

However, writing this can not take away the credit of the left front government rule in past thirty years. When I see things favorable for Mamata Benerjee in West Bengal, I start sympathizing left front government. One must appreciate them for being democratic and better than many other parties who needed internal democracy more than CPM. Of course, in democracy we need to change the government and any one party ruling one state is bound to develop fascist tendencies. We are talking about West Bengal in last thirty years, what about Narendra Modi’s Gujarat in 15 years, or Madhya Pradesh or YSR’s Andhra Pradesh where leaders became larger then life. Jyoti Babu actually is a role model in a sense that he was never loud mouthed. He was calm and never started any populist move as many chief ministers do. I wonder, how come a chief minister over such a long period of time, could not be corrupted when one see the change in the life styles of the political leaders who become minister for even one or two years. One just becoming a member of parliament for one or two year or an assembly member for one year, give you license to cheat the nation, it is remarkable that Jyoti Babu remain clean and those who are clean in heart and action can not be goody goody all the time.

Yes, the main challenge to us was the cleanliness of the left front leaders. I have written a lot about the upper caste politics of CPM and their misrule in West Bengal but as far as the individual integrity is concern, none can question them, at least the top leadership of the party. Whether it was Jyoti Babu or Indrajeet Gupta, in personal life they remain thoroughly simple enjoying simple living and high thinking, a slogan completely forgotten by our leaders whether they belong to social justice variety or swadeshi variety. Even today, their leaders are well read in their subject and can take on any one in a TV debate or on the issue of public concern.

The left front government has been in power for last 30 years and a lot go to Jyoti Basu for his able leadership. Though land reform was just in the beginning, the most important part of the change in West Bengal was through Panchayats. One of the most important thing and refreshingly new from any other state was to go to writer’s building and meet any minister without any fuss. In Delhi, UP and Bihar we are habitual of passing through many hurdles apart from meeting overzealous chamchas but Jyoti Babu did not create any of them in his 60 years old political life. It could have been easier for him. He never spoke unnecessarily.

I know during his regime the governance in the state became a party issue. The state administration became a party but that happened after 30 years but have not we seen it in UP, Gujarat and elsewhere how the bureaucrats just crawl to obey the powerful leaders and misguide them.

I have no love for left front’s rule as for me the pains of the Dalits in West Bengal were more important to understand. How can one ignore the inhuman demolition at Belilius Park where over 7000 families were still looking for a dignified rehabilitation? Nothing happened and I do not know whether Basu knew about it. The condition of the the Dalits in West Bengal remain a matter of grave concern apart from the condition of Muslims which CPM always flaunt. One may appreciate that west Bengal did not see the violence in the aftermath of the Babari demolition but if one go through the condition of Muslims in the state, the CPM’s government can not feel proud of its record.

Yet, what has gladdened my heart is Jyoti Babu’s last wish. As a radical humanist, what matter to us is to see the death of superstition and exploitative customs which have been imposed on our birth and deaths by the priestly class. The poor people have to follow this trend even at the cost of being bankrupt but the political class does not care as it has enough money. It wants to validate its religious identity at the end to get the electoral benefit. And if CPM or Jyoti Babu’s family has decided to fulfill his last wish, it is time to celebrate. We hope more and more people will do that in future. Unfortuantely, we have seen double standard in the personal life of our political class. Claiming to die for the masses, we have seen our political class like to be cremated among weeping people and amidst the chant of Vaidik Mantras by aristocratic Brahmins. The Kumbha fair is here and we in north India are habitual of the religious pontiffs preaching us greatness of Ganga Snan and performing religious rituals so that you get Moksha. The cremation of a political leader is again an opportunity for greedy priestly class to pontificate us on greatness of religious virtues for the purpose of spreading their virus. Politicians and their chamchas i.e. followers, use this opportunity to declare their undenying faith in God as well as on priestly class. Most of the politicians in India have succumbed to this as they might have been atheists in their personal lives but their family never let it be so. At the end despite their being atheists of non believers, they family opted for a religious cremation for various political purposes.

And that way, Jyoti Babu has become my role model. The more I think of this, I feel how politicians in India are full of double standards in public life. They earn for family, claim loud things and at the end want to be cremated by the religious pontiffs. Jyoti Babu has created an example. He has proved that a true Marxist remain true to Marxist philosophy of not succumbing to any religious rituals. India is a country where organ donation is difficult and has lot of religious connotations. It is believed that if you contribute your organs to any one, you will have to pass through worst conditions in next birth. The racist brahmanical philosophy has preached us that donating your eyes and body is dangerous. Jyoti Basu has saved environment. He has saved us from priestly pontification. He has put our faith in science. As a humanist, I feel overjoyed with this journey of Jyoti Basu. I might not have faith in the closed CPM minds in West Bengal but I respect his last wish. The wish to promote science and in another way call a grand rebuff to those who believe in theory of creativity and religious jargons. At least, we are saved from this pontification. Organ donation is an important issue and the more people understand about it, the better for our future. In the interest of humanity, we must follow our heart and donate our bodies for the betterment of human life. We will not only save precious wood particularly sandalwood, but also precious Ghee, and other important food items we offer to dead body. In the villages, people offer their income to Brahmins in hope the dead person would get it. If we have to make the brahmanical priestly class redundant, we must follow what Jyoti Babu did, by donating our bodies and shunning the rituals, we are so fond of, in the name of our culture. One hope, our political class will learn a lesson from this that life is meant to serve the people and it end here, there is no point in getting yourself purified by the priestly class which has cheated the people for centuries in the name death and birth. By donating his body for the purpose of science, Jyoti Babu has immortalized himself and has become much larger than his life as a Marxist. It is time our politicians who want to be remembered should worry more about human cause rather then ‘securing a place in heaven’. By donating their organs and bodies for the purpose of human kind they will not only attack the superstition nature of our society but also give lie to a few human beings and more to the research of science which will benefit human kind. At least, the people who suffered during their life time will not suffer in their death. It is time, we must understand the gravity of the situation and promote organ donation. Jyoti Basu has put an example, one hope our political class would be courageous enough to do so and immortalized iself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you want to pay 'TRIBUTE'' to a departed leader do it.If you want to comment on a govt for its performance do it ...No problem..But dont mingle with each other...Your article so lost taste in its form.