December 10, 2023

Tripura: Birth Centenary of Comrade Baidyanath Majumder

Haripada Das

THE enduring legacy of Comrade Baidyanath Majumder, an outstanding communist leader in the state, was commemorated on his birth centenary on December 5, 2023, across Tripura. In numerous party SDC offices, Party leaders and workers gathered in the morning to observe the day, offering floral tributes to the legendary leader. They reflected on his steadfast commitment to socialist ideology, his tireless dedication for the cause of the working people, his unique ability to guide the Party in the right direction even in challenging moments, his humble lifestyle, simplicity, and, above all, his remarkable ability to inspire everyone he came across.

During these commemorations, Party leaders and followers also recalled his significant contributions to building the Party organisation and strengthening the Left movement, particularly during the challenging socio-political and geographically adverse period of his time. Throughout his life, Comrade Majumder made substantial efforts to organise the working class and uplift the downtrodden. In Kailashahar, his birthplace and the main area of his work, homage was paid to him in all local committee offices of the sub-division, as well as in numerous tea estates where tea garden workers revered him as their emancipator from social oppression and economic exploitation by estate owners.

Daily Desher Katha released a special issue dedicated to commemorating the life and contributions of Baidyanath Majumder. The issue featured articles written by various Party leaders, including Manik Sarkar, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member; Jitendra Chowdhury, Rama Das, and Tapan Chakraborty, CPI(M) Central Committee members.

As part of the birth centenary celebrations, a well-attended hall meeting took place at Agartala Town Hall. Aghore Debbarma, CPI(M) Central Committee member, presided over the meeting, which was addressed by Manik Sarkar, Jitendra Chowdhury, and Tapan Chakraborty, a long-time colleague of Baidyanath Majumder and a Central Committee member.

Paying homage to Baidyanath Majumder, Manik Sarkar shared that he joined the undivided CPI in 1943 when there was no Party unit in Tripura. At that time, Comrade Biren Datta, Baidyanath Majumder, and others operated under the Comilla (now Bangladesh) district unit of the Party. Sarkar reflected on the challenging path that led him to become a mass leader – the path was far from smooth and rather filled with thorns. In those days, a significant portion of the hilly areas lacked road and telecommunication infrastructure, making communication with the masses difficult. Party leaders, including Sarkar, had to trek through vast distances, navigating hills one after another. The journey was fraught with challenges, including the constant threat of wild animal encounters and the danger of snake bites.

Recalling a specific incident during the emergency period, Manik Sarkar reminisced about undertaking a two-day journey to reach Kailashahar. His purpose was to convey important information about a Party state committee meeting to Baidyanath Majumder, both of whom were operating underground at the time.

At that time, Kailashahar sub-division encompassed the present Unakoti district and Longthorai Valley sub-division, with a population predominantly composed of tribals and tea garden workers. Baidyanath Majumder directed his efforts towards the tea workers and tribals of the Sub-Division. Leading numerous movements and strikes among the tea workers, he subsequently established the state-level Tea Workers Organisation. Majumder was a genuine friend of the tribals, actively participating in their festivals and supporting them during crises. He resided in tribal paras and tea worker slums for continuous weeks.

Baidyanath Majumder faced electoral defeats four times, but remained resilient and undeterred. While he secured consecutive victories in elections for five terms, parliamentary vices could not take him over. It is crucial not to overlook his significant contributions as the minister for public works department (PWD) from 1978, working diligently to eliminate remoteness by constructing a comprehensive road network across various parts of the state. Majumder exhibited commendable competence in guiding the Party since 1998 as the state secretary, as highlighted by Manik Sarkar.

Addressing the current state of affairs, Manik Sarkar emphasized that the pressing concern is the assault on democracy and the need to preserve the longstanding fraternal relations among tribals, non-tribals, and Muslims. In the face of attempts by the ruling regime to sow division among the people, Sarkar stressed the imperative to safeguard their unity.

In our pursuit of a radical transformation of the society, there is much to learn and adopt from the life and contributions of Baidyanath Majumder. By harmonising present experiences with the lessons learned from Majumder's legacy, we must commit ourselves to fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to us.

In his address, Jitendra Chaudhury emphasized that Baidyanath Majumder served as the torchbearer, guiding the Party through critical junctures. He dedicated his entire life to working for the causes of the downtrodden, both in the plains and hills. Reflecting on the recent election outcomes in five states, Chaudhury remarked that despite the ruling BJP's celebration, the opposition's vote shares reveal that the BJP has no substantial reason for jubilation. The election results present us with a significant challenge and an increased responsibility in the days ahead.

Tapan Chakraborty fondly recollected his long association with Baidyanath Majumder, right from his entry into the Party.

The hall meeting concluded with the resonant chorus of the International.