Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I voted against Jyoti Basu's candidature as PM: Manik Sarkar

TNN Jul 31, 2013, 03.45AM IST

AGARTALA: After 17 years, Tripura chief minister and CPM politburo member Manik Sarkar on Tuesday said he had voted against the move of making Jyoti Basu the Prime Minister in 1996.

Sarkar said this during a condolence meeting of CPM leader Samar Mukherjee who died Kolkata on July 18.

"The CPM central committee had decided not to take part in the central government with Jyoti Basu as prime minister through voting in 1996 and I had also voted against participation in the central government," said Sarkar.

"I voted against the party's participation in the government but did not disclose it to others because several veterans, including former Tripura CM Dasarath Debbarma, was also a CPM central committee member," he added.

It shows that he was not dared to disclose the decision because his political mentor and former Tripura CM Nripen Chakraborty was expelled from the party in 1995 for criticizing the CPM leadership, including Basu.

In 1996, Basu might have become the PM of a United Front government but the CPM didn't allow him to accept the high office that paved the way for HD Deve Gowda of Janata Dal to become PM for 10 months. 

I voted against Jyoti Basu's candidature as PM: Manik Sarkar

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tussauds-like wax tribute in Asansol

In Asansol’s Mahishila Colony, believe it or not, you can meet Jyoti Basu, Maradona, Mithun Chakraborty and Uttam Kumar in one room.

Of course, not alive and kicking, but as life-like wax models, all made by Sushanta Roy.

A better reference point to what Roy has done would be the wax statues in Madame Tussauds in London, where many a Bollywood star has found place.

On July 8, Sushanta celebrated Jyoti Basu’s birth centenary. He made offerings of food and flowers, as if to a god — which perhaps would have displeased the communist leader.

Roy, 50, has been making the wax sculptures for decades. He had been an admirer of Basu and had the privilege — if it can be termed so — to take his measurements at Indira Bhavan for the statue.

The Basu statue had been at Indira Bhavan from 2003 to 2011 — a gift on the then chief minister’s 89th birthday. But after the leader’s death, Roy was requested to take it back to Asansol. The statue, he said, was “melting for lack of care”.

Now in an air-conditioned room, Jyoti Basu has found a place beside Manna De, who plays a harmonium — the singer is in wax, not the harmonium, by the way.

Roy said he had been visiting Indira Bhavan since 2003 and would “congratulate Jyotibabu always on his birthdays”.

“The last time too I had gone to attend his birthday celebration organised by Pather Panchali,” Roy said.

Pather Panchali, an NGO run by Ramola Chakraborty, widow of former transport minister Subhash Chakraborty, had decided to set up a museum like the one of Madam Tussauds in London and had asked Roy, who trained in sculpture in Calcutta, to make 100 wax idols of well-known personalities — for the proposed museum in Salt Lake.

The proposal came to naught after Subhash Chakraborty’s death.

Roy, a former employee of the Indian Museum, completed 18 wax idols. “among them are Basu, Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Kazi Nazrul, Kishore Kumar, Manna De, Uttam Kumar, Sourav Ganguly, Amitabh Bachchan, Maradona, Kapil Dev, M. Karunanidhi and Sachin Tendulkar,” he said.

He took care to include props to signify what each celebrity did. So, Sachin is seen holding aloft a bat and Sailen Manna, though old and bald, kicking a football. Mithun has a mike in his hand.

Amitabh Bachchan’s wax model was the first one that Roy made. It was commissioned by a fan club.

For some of the stars and politicians, Roy got a chance to take measurements. Madame Tussauds, too, takes measurements of celebrities which become much-photographed events leading to the opening of the statue at the museum.

For those whom Roy could not meet, “I had to make to with pictures,” he said.

Asked about the quantity of wax he need for each statue, Roy gave an example: “It took around 50kg of wax to make Subhash Chakraborty.”

Roy said the idea of making life-size wax models was prompted by a popular Nazrul song Momer putul (doll of wax).

Roy said he first makes the stuffing. “For that several kilos of cotton and paper are required. The wax is used after that.”

Also, all the statues are foldable to allow transporting convenience.

A finished sculpture could cost anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh. Some of the statues he made were sold to clubs of Bollywood fans.

Roy himself takes care of the statues, cleaning them every day in the air-conditioned room where they have to be kept. He runs a school near his house where he teaches children to sculpt wax idols.

After Basu’s death, the leader’s aide Joy Krishna Ghosh had called up Roy and requested him to take the statue back.

Roy got the statue back to his Asansol home in September 2011.

“I discussed the matter with Bimanbabu (Left Front chairman Biman Bose) and called up Sushanta Roy who had gifted the idol to our beloved Jyotibabu. I requested him to take it back for its better preservation,” Ghosh told Metro over phone.

On Basu’s birth anniversary on July 8, around 20 to 25 friends and neighbours of Roy gathered on the ground floor of his house to celebrate.

A two-pound cake was cut and lunch was served to the statue. “Basu’s favourites — pabda and tengra machher jhaal, flavoured rice, muger dal and payesh were served,” Roy said. There was also raj bhog, mihidana and sitabhog, all traditional sweets of Burdwan, to round up the feast.

What will happen to this collection after Roy? The wax sculptor thinks his grandchildren “Arnab and Sanjib, two toddlers who take great interest when I work”, would keep the collection in shape. 

Tussauds-like wax tribute in Asansol

Jyoti Basu Birth Centenary Observances Begin in Maharashtra

By Mahendra Singh

MUMBAI: ON July 8, 2013, the Mumbai committees of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) flagged off the Jyoti Basu birth centenary celebrations with a joint public commemorative meeting in Venmali Hall in Dadar (West). The hall was fully packed on the occasion. A photo of late Comrade Jyoti Basu adorned the dais, along with a photo of late Comrade Ahilyatai Rangnekar, a beloved party leader, whose birthday also falls on July 8. Mahendra Singh, the CPI (M)’s Mumbai committee secretary presided. Seated on the dais were CPI (M) Central Committee member and state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale, Central Committee member K L Bajaj, and all-India vice president of the CITU, CPI(M) state committee member and the CITU’s all-India working committee member Sayeed Ahmed, CPI(M) state secretariat member Professor Krishna Theckedath, state committee members Dr S K Rege and Shailendra Kamble, and CITU Mumbai secretary Dr Vivek Monterio. Dr Ashok Dhawale and K L Bajaj garlanded the photo of Jyoti Basu and Ahilyatai Rangnekar respectively. While Dr Dhawale, K L Bajaj, Sayeed Ahmed and Vivek Monterio highlighted Comrade Jyoti Basu’s outstanding contribution, they also dwelt on the purpose of the meeting. Shailendra Kamble conducted the proceedings.

The CPI (M) state committee’s organ, Jeevan Marg (Marathi weekly), had published a special issue to commemorate the Jyoti Birth centenary. K L Bajaj released the new issue at the meeting.

In his introductory remarks, Sayeed Ahmed praised the invaluable contribution of Jyoti Basu to the Indian working class movement and to the work done by the Left Front government of West Bengal in the interest of the toiling masses and common people including the workers, peasants and agricultural workers, under his chief ministerial tenure. K L Bajaj dwelt on the important role played by Jyoti Basu in founding and building the CITU. He also highlighted the stellar contribution of Jyoti Basu in the Indian working class and communist movements. Addressing the audience, Dr Vivek Monterio pointed to the 50 years long membership of Jyoti Basu of the West Bengal legislative assembly; he said Comrade Basu’s ideal style of functioning in it as a communist is a guide for communists for all the time to come. Dr Ashoke Dhawale, in his detailed speech, threw light on various aspects of the outstanding personality of Comrade Jyoti Basu and his invaluable contribution in the Indian communist movement and in building of the CPI(M). He referred to the police lathi blows faced by Jyoti Basu as a school student while participating in a public meeting addressed by Netaji Subhash Chandra; his participation in the activities of India League and London Majlis while studying in London; his stellar performance as a legislator, opposition leader, deputy chief minister, home minister and chief minister; the pro-people activities of the first Left led government of West Bengal under his stewardship; his immense contribution in strengthening the Left politics in India and raising the issue of restructuring of centre-state relations; his unique party loyalty and adherence to party discipline; his firm belief in Marxism-Leninism; his daily visit to the party’s state committee office even when he was discharging onerous responsibilities as the chief minister; his unshakeable faith in the toiling masses; and his exhortation to the party members to increasingly strengthen contacts with the masses. In his speech Mahendra Singh urged upon the audience to plan various programmes during the year long observance to take the message of Comrade Jyoti Basu to the wider masses and to take pledge to advance the cause for which Jyoti Basu worked for almost seven decades.

All the speakers also paid tributes to Comrade Ahilyatai Rangnekar.

The meeting ended with slogans like “Jyoti Basu Lal Salaam,” “Comrade Jyoti Basu Amar Rahe” and “Long Live Marxism-Leninism!”