31st of August, 1959! Lakhs of the poorest people in the state had walked to Calcutta, towards the Writer’s Building, the seat of power of the anti-people and oppressive Congress govt. The peaceful, democratic yet determined march of the toiling hungry masses, were met by Chief Minister, Bidhan Chandra Ray’s police with tear gas and a brutal lathi charge. Eighty people died.
This day, commemorated by the Left Front as the ‘Martyrs Day’, saw people all over the state mourning the deaths of innocents and to offer respect to the 160 killed since 2011 and over 2500 killed over the years of left movements at the hands of the reactionary and imperialist forces. CPI (M) Polit Bureau member and WB State Secretary, Biman Basu reminded the audience at Promode Dasgupta Bhavan of that fateful day. Those miserable times, when the cries of the hungry millions who migrated to the city for a bit of rice or came alive during his speech. He reminded everybody about the barbaric role played by CM, BC Ray and Home Minister, Kalipada Mukherjee. Jyoti Basu, in an address to the Bengal Assembly then, had exposed the role played by the duo, which were in the Police Control Room, personally ordering the murderous assault on the people. The protests by the students the following day was summarily fired upon. Speaker after speaker from the Left Front, RSP, Forward Bloc, CPI recalled that inhuman and unprecedented attack on unarmed democratic protestors and vowed to lead the people to fight the current danger.
CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, Buddhadev Bhattacharya called upon the people to take a ‘vow’ on this day to rise in the fight against growing imperialism, which in the quest for super normal profits sends millions hungry to bed. He said that we all were ’indebted’ to the sacrifice of the people on this day. 1947, he said was when people of India got freedom from foreign subjugation but not from hunger. He focussed on the current Mamata Banerjee govt in Bengal, which has, in just 3 years brought down a food surplus state to a deficient one. Farmers were committing suicide again; Lakhs of acres of cultivable land remained untilled.
Buddhadev Bhattacharya also used the occasion to remind the people of the danger of the fascist and communal BJP govt at the center. He slammed the efforts of the popular media to whitewash the agenda of ex-RSS pracharak PM, Modi as ‘development’ focussed. ‘Development’, he said was a mask. Whatever economic policies this govt has outlined was for the large corporations, domestic and foreign. They were being allowed loot of the most profitable of sectors, financial, defence, Railways, etc. The common toiling masses and the middle-class would have wait for the ‘Good Days’ and be happy with the ‘bitter pill’ served by the PM. He was scathing about the industrial wasteland that Bengal was turning into under Mamata, ‘extortion’ being the only policy and asked as to what would happen to the bright boys and girls graduating out of colleges. He reminded all that their future was our responsibility. He reminded the audience about the dangers of the current phase of imperialism, which is not only looting the world of all resources and the working people of the most basic levels of sustenance, but also sparking off barbaric wars on innocent people across the world.
They both called upon the people to rise in a democratic manner against the twin dangers of the Trinamul and the BJP govt. Tomorrow, the 1st of September, the day Hitler’s Panzer division had crossed the border into Poland, which the Left parties designate as the ‘anti-imperialism’ day, will see lakhs of people walk in protest. Both Biman Basu and Buddhadev Bhattacharya gave an impassioned call to the people to rise in a ‘face-to-face’ fight against these anti-people govts. Enough was enough. This oppression and injustice cannot be accepted any more.