The salt-smeared soil of the Sunderbans has been repeatedly bathed with the blood of martyrs- as many as 192 of those leading the innumerable mass movements, peasants’ movements and revolutionary struggles. Numerous mothers and sisters had their dignity and modesty outraged in the hands of goons serving the ruling party or the police. It is difficult to take a stock of the vast number of families who had their houses burnt down, their crops destroyed, ponds poisoned and thus rendered destitute. Yet could they be compelled to leave the path of truth? No, not at all. The people there with their indomitable struggling spirit and revolutionary consciousness would never ever be cowed or made to bow down! Enshrined in the pages of the book titled “Endless Struggle of Peasants and Workers” is the history of this glorious struggle. The programme to release this historic publication of this book was inaugurated by Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar, veteran Polit Bureau member and South 24 Parganas District Secretary, SUCI(C), at a memorable programme organized in memory of the brave soldiers of revolution at Shibnath Shastri Hall in the historical township of Jaynagar in South 24 Parganas 31 August on the occasion of observance of Martyrs’ Day. First Copy of the book was handed over to Comrade Rabin Mandal, the legendary leader of the “Tebhaga” (three divisions of the crop) movement of early 1950s. A copy was also handed over to Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), at Shibpur Party Centre.
It bears recall that on 31 August 1959, a historic food movement was organized under joint left leadership against the then Congress government in West Bengal. While the rally of the protesting people reached near the Governor’s house, Kolkata, the police pounced upon them, charging batons and firing bullets indiscriminately. 80 precious lives fell down to police brutality. Since then, 31 August is observed as Martyrs’ Day. In 1990, a movement had surged force against price rise and hefty hike in transport fare. Our Party was at forefront of that movement. When a procession was taken out in Kolkata as a part of observance of Martyrs’ Day on 31 August in support of the demand, the police of the then CPI (M) government opened fire and Madhai Halder, a blooming revolutionary teenaged worker of our Party from South 24 Parganas succumbed to police bullet on the spot. So, 31 August 1990 saw another martyr of democratic movement.
Adhering to Covid norms, the gathering at the Jaynagar programme had to be kept restricted in number. Yet the surge of emotion among people at all corners of the district had welled up and even enthused the gathering at the venue. The hall with its limited bounds could not accommodate the sea of people gathered there. Several thousand sat in the outer courtyard and on the chairs placed on the road outside. With eyes fixed on the dais, where a giant screen showed the programme, they braved the harsh autumn sun to witness the historic moments. Others had their eyes glued to their phones to watch the live broadcast of the programme.
Comrade Debaprasad Sarkar inaugurated the programme hoisting the red flag in front of a Martyrs’ Column erected on the occasion. Floral tributes were offered to the martyrs by Comrade Sarkar, Comrade Rabin Mandal, Comrade Nalini Pramanik and other central and state leaders.
On the dais were Polit Bureau members Comrade Saumen Basu and Chandidas Bhattacharya, other central and state leaders and Comrade Manas Nandi, central leader of Bangladesh Socialist Party (Marxist).Comrade Provash Ghosh who had a close association with the countless battles and sacrifices on the soil, then delivered his speech on-line (published here separately).
Comrades Saumen Basu and Chandidas Bhattacharya also delivered valuable emotional speeches recalling how Comrade Shibdas Ghosh with a handful of his revolutionary compatriots founded the Party at Jaynagar with a firm resolve to build up proletarian revolutionary movement in the country under a correct revolutionary leadership. They also dwelt upon the struggles of the martyrs and other revered Party leaders of the soil.
The programme which ended with the Internationale created a solemn atmosphere befitting to the occasion and resplendent with the pledge to strengthen the SUCI(C) and intensify class and mass struggles. This history of struggle on the salty soil of the Sundarbans will inspire people to remain unwavering in their determination to reach the goal.