SFI Golden Jubilee Celebrations Begin
IT WAS a rainy afternoon. Two student rallies withstanding heavy rain, culminated at Dumdum, the very locality where the seeds of SFI were sown, in August 1970 through the formation a preparatory committee. SFI president, V P Sanu hoisted the white flag of Independence, Democracy and Socialism, marking the beginning of the golden jubilee celebrations of SFI. The founder general secretary, Biman Basu garlanded the martyr’s column, followed by former general secretaries and presidents of the organization. SFI incumbent general secretary, Mayukh Biswas along with present CEC members too garlanded martyrs’ column amidst thousands of ‘red salutes’ reverberating in the Dumdum Rabindra Bhawan.
In his speech in the programme, veteran communist leader and West Bengal Left Front chairman, Biman Basu, urged the activists to put up a relentless fight for ideology. He urged to motivate oneself for the work of society, to look around and learn lessons rather than taking ‘selfies’. Admitting that the post liberalisation period has brought in more challenges, like the rampant commercialisation of education, than in the past decades students’ movements. He pointed out that ideology is the only weapon by which these conditions can be countered; he advised the present-day activists to be good friends with all the students of their school, college or university. He said that according to him not all people who look like humans are really human. Even those who are taking part in lynchings, also look like human beings, but are they really human, he questioned, and said that the activists should thrive to be exemplary human beings.
In their speech at the start of the programme SFI general secretary, Mayukh Biswas and president, V P Sanu remembered the martyrs from Ranjan Goswami to Tilak Tudu, Abhimanyu(Kerala), Niranjan Talukdar, Sudipta Gupta to Ananda Hait, Abhijit Mahata(Assam) and said that the organisation carries forward the rich legacy of martyrs from Khudiram Bose, famous Indian revolutionary, and is the keeper of student consciousness and the legacy of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The whole auditorium was moved to thunderous applause when Mayukh swore that “our bodies can be ripped apart but we won’t let our country to be ripped apart”. He also asserted that on its 50th year, SFI will enrol 50 lakh members. “Each one plant one”, call will percolate deeper and that 50 lakh saplings will be planted in the next one year, making SFI one of the largest environmentally conscious students’ organisation in the country.
In his speech, V P Sanu remembered martyr Comrade E K Balans’ mother “Ganga Maa” , and her famous quote, “Every year SFI gives lakhs of sons for us, though we have lost only one son” and declared that “Our struggle will only end if our objective is meted with.” He also announced that the culminating programme of the SFI-50 year celebration will take place in Thiruvananthapuram on December 30, 2020.
The event also saw segregating the former top leadership of SFI according to their era of operation, while they answered the questions of the present day activists, which SFI had sought through online platforms in the last few days. The presenter on the stage was SFI West Bengal state secretary, Srijan Bhattacharya.
Former leaders of the organisation recounted anecdotes as well as advised ways to move forward in today’s tough time. Former general secretary, Nepaldeb Bhattacharya and president M A Baby recounted the initial days of the organisation, when the organisation used to operate from the veranda of the bungalow, where EMS Namboodiripad resided, and SFI got its first office room in New Delhi when former SFI leader Saifuddin Chowdhury became an MP and was allotted a house. M A Baby recounted the martyrdom of SFI Punjab state president, Purmet Singh by Khalistani terrorists along with scores of SFI activists. He also highlighted the two SFI martyrs near Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, who were killed for taking anti-casteist stand on the behalf of dalits; were martyred for trying to construct a ‘pucca road’ up to their village by involving all the communities.
Former SFI general secretary, Nilotpal Basu and Sujan Chakraborty recollected the global situation of their student days , the fall of Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc and thrust of the organisation to counter the anti-Left propaganda with ideology . Nilotpal Basu highlighted that from “Mandal to kamandal”, from casteism to communalism thrust, all happened post dissolution of USSR. Sujan Chakraborty opined that if USSR would have been intact, these issues of communalism wouldn’t have thrived.
In his take, K N Balagopal opined on the five martyrs of Kumbakonam while Rupen still remained paralysed, who was shot by bullet in the neck . Shamik Lahiri highlighted that the fight against the three-C’s, communalism, commercialisation, and corruption, were the highlight of their time. Former SFI general secretary, Kallol Roy highlighted that presentation of an alternative ‘model education bill’ after drafting it through SFI activists in legal fraternity, students of economics and other activists, proved that the organisation is not only demanding all these times, but also providing the alternative to the existing system.
A beautiful and heart rendering cultural performance was presented at the beginning of the programme. Ramala Chakraborty, former SFI leader, congratulated SFI on behalf of democratic movement of North 24 Parganas. Golden jubilee mementos were presented to all former leaders, alongside the family members of martyr Julfikar Ali, and martyr Saifuddin Mollah.