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Biswas - thinker, strategist and Marxist to the core

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Mar 26 (UNI) A modern day protagonist of Marxism, a sagacious leader and a balancing force between the reformers and hardliners, CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee Secretary and Polit Bureau member Anil Biswas was an icon in the rank and file of the party.

A protege of late Promode Dasgupta, the architect of the Marxist forte in Bengal, Mr Biswas hailed from a remote village in Nadia District and later ascended the top echelon of the party with his strong sense of reality, deftness in strategy and the ability to combine theory with practice.

Born on March one in 1944 in Nadia, he graduated with Political Science Honours from Krishnanagore Government College in 1964 and secured the post-graduation also in Political Science from the University of Calcutta in 1966.

Attracted by Marxism from his childhood, Mr Biswas got involved in Left students' movement in 1962. He became a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1965, a year after the undivided Communist party split into two over ideological issues.

The same year, he was arrested and imprisoned for eleven months for participating in anti-government movement. He turned a wholetime member of the party in 1969.

Mr Biswas went underground on several occasions between 1975 and 1976 in the face of state repression. He had also been imprisoned for his political activities.

Being a member of the State Committee of the CPI (M) since 1978, Mr Biswas became the member of the party's State Secretariat in 1982 and the very next year, he was catapulted to the helm of affairs of the ''Ganashakti'', where he remained the Editor till 1998, running the paper with aplomb, taking it to a new high and turning it into one of the most circulated vernacular dailies in the state.

From being the member of the State Secretariat to becoming the member of the Central Committee in 1985 and then the hallowed Polit Bureau in 1998, Mr Biswas had a dream run never looking back as he was one of the key leaders trying to combine capitalism with Marxism in the context of the modern day, particularly following the disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Though anchored in Marxism, Mr Biswas was one of the leaders who participated in the internal exercise to help the party get over from the hangover of classical Marxism and lend it more dynamism. He openly admitted the needs for accepting revision and capitalism depending on merit and the extent of their practicability. Both these words were once hated by an old-time Communist.

A master of intrigue and a social hermit, he brought about a perfect mix of intellectual understanding and simple lifestyle.

On November 16, 1998, Mr Biswas took over the reins of the party's State Secretary from the ailing Sailen Dasgupta, who had relinquished the post.

Mr Biswas then demitted his post as the Editor of the vernacular daily ''Ganashakti'' and Mr Dipen Ghosh donned his mantle.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Mr Biswas came when Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee took over as the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Mr Bhattacharjee brought with him winds of change that suited a liberal Marxist and it needed the best out of the ingenuous Biswas to find its acceptance in the party rank and file, hitherto embracing classical Marxism.

Elected to the Calcutta University Senate for three consecutive terms, Mr Biswas was a prolific writer and had to his credit 14 publications, mainly on international affairs, both in English and Bengali.

Mr Biswas had travelled widely, having visited the People's Republic of China, the erstwhile Soviet Union, Democratic Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and the United States of America.


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