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Kolkata Remembers Left Doyen ‘Kakababu’ Through Exhibitions, Meetings, Prizes

The Muzaffar Ahmad prize ceremony held on his 134th birth anniversary on Thursday saw a packed auditorium.
Kolkata Remembers Left Doyen ‘Kakababu’ Through Exhibitions, Meetings, Prizes

Kolkata: The 134th birth anniversary of ‘Kakababu  Muzaffar Ahmad  was observed in the state with a variety of  programmes being held in Kolkata  and at various districts .  

The central event was held in the evening at Kolkata’s Mahajati Sadan in a packed auditorium, where the Muzaffar Ahmad memorial  prize was handed over to this year’s recipients , including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen (who was not there in person to receive it) for his book,  Home in the World , A memoir , and to Nehal Ahmad, Sampa Sen and Koushik Mukhopadhya for their books.  Dr Manabi Majumdar, Director of Pratichi Trust, received the award on behalf of Sen.

In his acceptance message, Sen hailed ‘Kakababu’ as a pioneer figure of the Left movement of the country and traced his family association with Muzaffar Ahmad through his  cousin brother Jyotirindra Sengupta  alias Sidhuda, who was jailed along with Sen for taking part in the freedom struggle. 

In Dhaka jail, Sengupta turned into a communist after coming in touch with Muzaffar Ahmad  and till his last breath, his connection with Kakababu was intact.  Sen also thanked the award committee for bestowing the award on his book.

The programme began with Left Front chairman Biman Basu garlanding a huge portrait of Kakababu .

Salim Calls for Widening Left Movement

Later, speaking in a public rally, CPI(M) West Bengal state secretary Mohd Salim called for increasing the periphery of the Left movement of the state, to include all democratic forces within its ambit  to fight the danger of fascism.

Attacking the BJP-led Central government, he said at a time when a sizeable portion of India's population was going to sleep without food, the imposition of Goods and Services Tax had made the situation grimmer.

Corruption ‘Institutionalised’

Regarding the recent  teacher recruitment scam in the state, Salim  attacked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had asked the Opposition to seal their mouth, adding that it was  Chief Minister whose mouth is sealed after the SSC scam was unearthed, with bundles and bundles cash found from the house of a close confidante of her senior minister.

Salim cited an article in the journal, Economic and Political Weekly by  Sunetra Ghatak that showed how in all these 12 years, corruption had been institutionalised  in West Bengal under the Trinamool Congress (TMC) regime .

“The Constitution is being tampered with in the state and the Modi government through its policies has pushed the lives of adivasis, dalits and minority sections into doldrums,” he said.

He spoke of the works of Muzaffar Ahmad  against communalism  and quoted from his writings in 1926 that “stand true even for today”.  

Read Also: Kolkata: Amartya Sen’s ‘Home in the World: A Memoir’ to Receive Muzaffar Ahmad Prize Today

Dalits subjected to Social engineering process

Addressing the rally, CPI(M) polit bureau member Ramchandra Dom highlighted the depressing condition of the  Schedule Caste and Tribe people in the state “who are being subjected to social engineering” by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak forces.

“The Constitution written by Babasaheb  Bhimrao Ambedkar is being tampered with and they are trying to replace it with Manu Sanghita,” he said.

He said tribal rights over land, water and forests are being taken away by diluting the Forest Conservation Act, calling upon an “amalgam of social and class movements that can fight against these evils.”

CPI (M) leader Surjyakanta Mishra hailed the huge victory that led to the repeal of the three farm laws.

He pointed out that along with fascism raising its head, there are places, especially in Latin America, where Leftist forces are fighting back and clinching important victories.

Mishra said under the BJP/RSS’s so-called Hindutva project, the country’s economic and political sovereignty was being compromised. In the name of the Agnipath scheme, Savarkar’s motto to ‘Hinduise the military and militarise the Hindu’ is being attempted. He called for assimilation of all secular forces under one roof to fight this.

The rally was preceded by progressive songs by Indian People’s Theatre Association artiste Kankan Bhattacharya and his group.

It may be recalled that Muzaffar Ahmad, fondly referred to as Kakababu, was a pioneering figure in the Left movement and had helped the Communist Party of India (Marxist) grow, especially in West Bengal, and helped it tide over many crises until his death 1973. 

Pre-Independence, when the united Communist Party of India was declared illegal on and off by the British imperialists, Kakababu was imprisoned for a large number of years. Till his death, he was steadfast in his commitment to the progressive movement and later to the communist movement. He was also imprisoned in the Meerut Conspiracy Case.

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