Death In Despair
The last of the triumvirate of the Naxal movement launched on May 25, 1967 from Naxalbari Kanu Sanyal who passed away on March 23, allegedly by committing suicide, was indeed a disillusioned person who after having created a romantic aura around Naxalism ended not only his life but a movement which has now turned even more violent then when he lead it and forcing him to be critical of his own anarchist ideology.
It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Sanyal, Charu Mazumdar and Jungle Santhal who spearheaded the Naxalite movement. They were revered by students of elitist colleges in Delhi University and Calcutta who followed these leaders inspired by what they said “was the solution to all ills of the country” and the romanticism of a revolution.
It is indeed unfortunate that what Sanyal and his other colleagues spoke has been virtually turned on its head by the current group of Maoists or Naxalites as they are described variously indulging in violence that might have put even these leaders to shame.
Sanyal and others may have believed at one time that the Chinese path was the one to be followed since they were leading a peasant movement and the Chinese revolution too led by Mao Dze Dung was a peasant led revolution.
However, it was this belief that Chinese path was the one to be followed that disillusioned many who sought to follow the Naxal triumvirate and then gave up due to the prevailing political circumstances in 1970s in the wake of the 1971 India-Pakistan war and subsequent developments. But, the embers did not die down completely and in the later years the idea and ideology was virtually hijacked by those who have now given it a new turn and twist and the resultant violence has only made matters worse.
It is indeed ironical that over the years as Sanyal battled senility, age and a blurring eyesight, the bachelor 78-year-old founding leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) abhorred violence unleashed by present day Maoists.
Sanyal had even actively solicited help from the communist government in China to further his goals, but it could never be established whether this was moral, tactical or financial. He was a critic of land acquisition by the Left Front government in Singur and Nandigram and hit out at the government calling it capitalist.
Sanyal believed that led by selfless and strong leadership, the protests in Nandigram had the potential to surpass even the Naxalbari movement.
“Maoism is not the path of Naxalbari. The violence being indulged in can’t solve things. I don’t support this,” he had said of the stepped up violence by Maoists.
“There is distinctive difference between our way of revolution to that being pursued in name of Maoism,” he had said dubbing Maoists as people without ideals and direction.
The Naxalite leader was a strong anti-establishment for this Kurseong born left leader who even while working as a revenue clerk at the Siliguri court, was first arrested for waving a black flag at then West Bengal Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, to protest the Centre’s ban on the CPI. He was lodged at the Jalpaiguri jail, where he met Majumdar, who was then a CPI district secretariat member.
Sanyal and Mazumdar became disillusioned with the CPI(M) and broke away to found the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969 aiming at an ‘Indian revolution through armed struggle’.
The Naxalite movement, started by the three, earlier began from a peasant uprising in Naxalbari village May 25, 1967 when the then officer-in charge of Phansidewa police station Amarendranath Pyne was shot dead by an arrow. With the death of Sanyal, the last of the founders of the original Naxal movement is no more and the movement has now taken a turn for the worse.
By Sri Krishna