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Foundation Stone Laid in Kolkata for Social Sciences Centre Honoring Late Communist Leader Jyoti Basu

About Rs 3.5 crores have been collected through public donations to start the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research.

social science

Kolkata: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research (JBCSSR), a proposed Centre for Excellence in Social Studies and called for the ousting of the Modi Government from the Centre to save the Constitution. 

Before the stone-laying ceremony, Yechury addressed a seminar titled ‘Challenges to Safeguard Secular Democratic Republic’ as the main speaker.

Hundreds of Left activists, followers of Jyoti Basu and many dignitaries attended the seminar in Rajarhat, where the Centre is destined to come up on about five acres of land. About Rs 3.5 crores have been collected through public donations for starting the Centre, and donations received get tax rebates under the 80g section of the Income Tax Act. 

On the day of the programme, about Rs 4.5 lakhs were received as donations for starting the Centre.

Besides Yechury, CPI(M) state secretary MD Salim also spoke at the seminar. It was presided over by JBCSSR Chairman and Left Front Chairman Biman Basu. At the start of the programme, progressive artist Kaji Kamal Nasser presented his song commemorating the life and work of Jyoti Basu. Members of the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) and Bengali band singers Riya and Rahul also presented songs at the programme’s beginning.

The Left leaders, including Sitaram Yechury, MD Salim, Biman Basu, Suryakanta Mishra. and Ramchandra Dom, participated in the tree plantation programme on the JBCSSR premises.

Senior Journalist P Sainath, Nobel laureate Economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Kumar Yadav also gave messages to the organisers, remembering the tireless devotion of Jyoti Basu in protecting the communal fabric of the country.

Speaking in the seminar, Yechury traced the contribution of Jyoti Basu and the leaders of the generation who had cemented the country’s Constitution by keeping secular federal characteristics alive, even when under threat. He mentioned that during the 1920s decade, three major paths erupted in the national political scenario about the course that free India would chart.

“A section of freedom struggle participants wanted it to remain a secular democratic republic, while another section wanted it to be a secular democratic republic with a socialistic future. Another group wanted India’s administration to be divided on religious lines. The group headed by Jinnah wanted an Islamic republic, which they finally managed to have during the partition by causing widespread riots in the country. Another group wanted India to be guided by Hindutva principles, just like the opposite of Pakistan,” he said.

Yechury emphasised the imperative duty of every Indian to ensure that the force of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Narendra Modi goes out of the seat of power, as they are attempting to tamper with the four pillars of Indian democracy: secularism, economic sovereignty, federalism, and social justice.

In his speech, CPI(M) state secretary Md. Salim highlighted that in an age when people change their political affiliations quite easily, Jyoti Basu never changed his political views in his lifetime. The state power, which had imprisoned him multiple times, bid him farewell as the army took the responsibility of carrying his cortege, giving him a ceremonial gun salute on behalf of the people of India. This rare honor reflects his steadfast commitment to his ideology of a secular democracy for a lifetime.

As a trustee of JBCSSR, Salim outlined the work of JBCSSR as a unit of excellence. He stressed that while bourgeois political parties outsource their thought leadership to corporate organisations, the Communist Party won’t do so. JBCSSR is expected to provide leadership in that direction and conduct important research on contemporary developments in West Bengal under the present regime, he said, quoting from former President Zakir Hussain’s speech on the inauguration of Jamia Millia University.

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