A memorial meeting for CPI(M) Central Committee member and Tripura Left Front chairman Khagen Das was organised at Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhavan in Agartala on January 24. Das died in the early hours of January 20 in Kolkata where he had participated in the meeting of the Central Committee. He was aged 80 years. Left Front leaders paid glowing tributes to Das and recalled his huge contributions to the left and democratic movement in Tripura.
Addressing the gathering, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar recapitulated his almost-half-a-century long relation with the departed leader, starting from the phase when democratic movements were a far more upstream drive in Tripura than at present. With the Communist movement firmly rooted at that time in only the tribal populace of the state, among the pioneers of making such movement take a firm root among the students, teachers and employees were such erstwhile progressive teachers of non-government educational institutions as Anil Sarkar, Khagen Das and even the headmaster of Ranirbazar Vidya Mandir, Ananta Krishna Dhar. They were even on the verge of death in the hands of agents of the then despotic ruling class and vested interests, due to their progressive outlook. These events had an impact upon the non-tribal people of the state. A section of such teachers was retrenched by the revengeful ruling class, and later on the court of law ordered their reinstatement with full pay since their dismissal. But the victim teachers such as Anil Sarkar, Khagen Das and Shrish Bhattacharjee, out of a highly principled standpoint, outright rejected to accept the arrear pay and allowance. This morality could be achieved only through the commitment to Marxism-Leninism as well as with irresistible aim at a classless and exploitation-free society. Slowly but steadily, Khagen Das totally involved himself in the democratic mass movements including those of the peasants, and he never budged an inch from such a thorough self-identification with the interests of the people and the burning problems of the day until he died.
Just days before his sudden demise, Das had given a clarion call to the people of Tripura to form the 8TH Left Front government in the state with an overwhelmingly majority, by defeating the communal and divisive forces. It was his steely sense of commitment to the cause of the countrymen in general and the people of Tripura in particular, that debarred him from setting store by his own aging and ailing condition, at a time when the BJP-led Centre has brought the entire country on the brink of anarchy and insecurity in all respects through its deceptive, divisive and devastative anti-people policies. Manik Sarkar gave in the meeting a clarion call to the people of Tripura to tirelessly engage themselves in the task of not only forming the Left Front government in Tripura, but also uniting as much people and groups as possible with the immediately next goal of dislodging the BJP from the Centre next year. As the country has reached a point of no return in this case, the best way to pay homage to Khagen Das is to achieve this goal even at the cost of the profuse bloodshed of numerous martyrs, he said.
CPI(M) state secretary and newly-selected Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar read out the condolence resolution. Others who addressed the meeting were Khagen Das’s daughter Bula Das and the state secretaries of the CPI, Forward Bloc and the RSP Ranjit Majumder, Shymal Roy and Sudarshan Bhattacharjee respectively. CPI(M) State Secretariat member Niranjan Debbarma presided over the meeting.