July 19, 2015

Seminar on Life & Philosophy of Commandante Che Guevara

Suman Putatunda

ON July 10, Friends of Latin America – India, organised a seminar at State Youth Centre, Moulali in Kolkata titled “Celebrating the Life and Philosophy of Commandante Che Guevara” on the occasion of Che Guevara’s 87th birth anniversary. Secretary of Friends of America – India, Suman Putatunda, started the programme by mentioning the prominent thinker and intellectual Jean-Paul Satre’s famous comment on Che that he is not only a great revolutionary but also the most complete human being. While stressing upon peace, justice, cooperation, and people’s movement as the basis of their organisation, he also highlighted the multi-faceted life of Che Guevara. The official communiqué received from Cuban Embassy as the message of solidarity was read.

 The seminar started by paying homage to social activist Late Jasodhara Bagchi, one of the chief architects of FOLA India, by observing silence for a minute.

Prof. Amiya Bagchi, president of the organisation chaired the seminar and started the discussion. He not only highlighted Che’s life but also explained the socio economic aspects of Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s so that the comparatively younger audience can fathom the trying times before and after the Cuban revolution. Bagchi also tried to draw symmetry of Latin American conditions with that of India’s demographic and political situations and the success of the Left. He recalled Commandante Fidel Castro’s comments on the need for a strong Left movement and governments in other Latin American countries for the sustenance of Cuban revolution and the socialist government of the country. 

Prof. Sovanlal Duttagupta, said that Che Guevera’s concept of humanism was not based upon the general capitalist notion of liberal democracy but is essentially based upon justice in favour of the oppressed, dignity for the underprivileged sections of the society, freedom, and last but not the least, on internationalism. He spoke about the intellectual, political and philosophical ideas of Che Guevera.

Professor Malini Bhattacharyya reminded the audience that the failed revolution in Bolivia and consequent assassination of Che was not an end for the Left but was a watershed moment from which the Left drew lessons. She also reminded the audience that Fidel always regarded the unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks as an important event towards the success of the July 26 Movement and the Cuban Revolution.

Though eminent lawyer and intellectual Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, one of the speakers, was unable to attend the seminar due to some emergency, he sent his short speech in writing, highlighting the multi-dimensional life of Ernesto Che Guevara that started from being a doctor, poet, adventure lover, intellectual and writer, to a revolutionary. Reporter Santanu Dey said that Che believed from the core of his heart that socialist countries should help others in organising revolution. Che also believed that for Cuban revolution to succeed, other Latin American countries must also become free from the clutches of imperialism, embrace democracy, and stride on the Left path.   

The discussion was followed by a film show, Hasta la Victorio Siempre by Santiago Alvarej, followed by an animated question-answer session in which a large section of young audience asked incisive questions on Che and Cuban revolution and Prof. Bagchi and other speakers did their best to elucidate the issues involved.