Samar Mukherjee

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Samar Mukherjee
Born (1913-11-07)7 November 1913
Amta, British India
Died 18 July 2013(2013-07-18) (aged 99)
Kolkata, India
Occupation Whole timer of CPI(M)

Samar Mukherjee (Bengali: সমর মুখোপাধ্যায়; 7 November 1913 – 18 July 2013) was an Indian politician of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who served as member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India for the Howrah constituency for three consecutive terms from 1971 to 1984, and as a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1986 till 1993. A lifelong bachelor, he made a multidimensional contribution as Party organizer, as writer, as trade unionist and as a Parliamentarian. He was a member of the Polit Bureau from 1978 to 1992, member of the Central Committee since 1966, and the eldest party member during his death in 2013. He also served as the General Secretary of the CITU from 1983 to 1991.

A biography, along with some of the essays of Mukherjee titled 100 Years of Samar Mukherjee: A Tribute was released in Bengali and English on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Samar Mukherjee who lived a hundred years, having born exactly four years before October Revolution and lived beyond the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A bachelor living although in Dilkusha Street Party Commune in South Kolkata was a perfectionist. He dedicated his entire life for the cause of the Working Class and People as a whole and chose Marxism as the Theory that guided him in his entire practice. He led a frugal life, donating back the savings from his meagre party wage.

Early Life & Freedom Movement

Samar Mukherjee was born to Sachindralal Mukherjee and Golapsundari Devi in a village near Amta in Howrah district on 7 November 1913.[1]

On 3 February 1928, the Indian Statutory Commission, headed by Sir John Simon arrived at Bombay, and was greeted by nationwide protests with black flags, and nationwide hartal was observed. Samar, who was then only a Class VII-student, became a part of the students and teachers, who had convened a joint hartal in the school. In March 1930, he joined the Civil Disobedience Movement at the call of Mahatma Gandhi, and conducted picketing in front of the wine shops, and against wearing foreign clothes. On 7 July 1930 he joined and conducted a three-and-half months' long students strike in Pitambar High School, as part of the school-college boycott call given by the Indian National Congress. After the successful strike, he was rusticated from the school for participating in the strike. In the same year, he was imprisoned under a false libel suit filed by police under Section 107, Indian Penal Code. After being imprisoned for 6 months, he was set free. In March, 1931 the case was withdrawn following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.

Introduction to Politics

In 1932, Mukherjee got admitted to the Bowbazaar High School in the 10th Standard, and passed the Matriculation next year. In 1932, he was made the Secretary of the Amta Congress Committee, and later of the Uluberia Provincial Congress Committee. He was subsequently inducted into the Howrah District Committee of the Indian National Congress.

Tryst with Communism

In 1936, Mukherjee met Bimal Roy, a Communist leader from Rangpur District, who was then under house arrest in Amta. In 1938, Samar became the President of Howrah District Committee of the AISF. In 1939, he also attended a Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha at Panchla in Howrah as a delegate. In 1940, he earned the membership of the Communist Party of India, and left his home to become a whole timer. He was again arrested for organizing peasant movement in Howrah district. He carried a book of historical and dialectical materialism at the time of arrest. He became the Convenor of the Communist Consolidation of the Dum Dum Jail. He was released after 3 months, and then relocated to Amta with the pseudonym "Mani". In 1942, he became the first Secretary of the Howrah District Committee of the CPI. In 1943, he was a delegate in the 1st Party Congress of CPI in Bombay. In 1946, he took an active part in anti-riot campaigning, and was attacked by both Hindu and Muslim rioters.

Post-independence Politics

In 1948, the Indian National Congress government declared CPI as illegal, and Samar was yet again arrested. Upon release, he concentrated organizing movement in Howrah district. He even had to jump off a running train at Santragachi railway station to evade arrest. In 1953, he was inducted as a member of the West Bengal State Council (Rajya Parishad) of the CPI. He also associated himself with the United Central Refugee Council (UCRC). In 1956, he took an active part in increasing the circulation of Swadhinata, the then party mouthpiece in the state.

Introduction to Electoral Politics

He turned himself as a leader of the refugee movement under the banner of the United Central Refugee Council (UCRC), and gets himself arrested. He was made a candidate in the Assembly Elections, 1957 from the Howrah North, and defeated the sitting Speaker of the Assembly, Shaila Mukherjee. In 1959, he was elected as the Secretary of the UCRC, and took a valiant role in refugee rehabilitation in the country.

In 1961 Bardhaman conference, he was elected as a State Secretariat member of the CPI. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, arrest warrants were issued against Communist leaders. He evaded arrest by scaling the back walls of his house in Amta. At that time, he was made the Secretary of the Underground State Committee of the Marxist–Leninist fraction of the Party. He took a pseudonym "Prithwiraj", and organized movement for the release of political prisoners. As the mouthpiece "Swadhinata" was captured by the revisionist section of the party, he changed the Marxist periodical "Howrah Hitoishee" into "Deshhitoishee". "Deshhitoishee" was first published on 16 August 1963.

On 22 April 1964 he was instrumental in founding an Institute of Marxism–Leninism was established. Just before the 7th Party Congress in 1964, he was arrested again. Months earlier, leaders such as Muzaffar Ahmed, Hare Krishna Konar, Pramod Dasgupta were arrested. They were released in May 1966. He was made a member of the Central Committee of the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist). He used the pseudonym "Ashok Mukherjee" to write exhaustively in "Deshhitoishee" against the revisionist trends in Indian Communist parties.

With the formation of the CITU in 1970, he became a member of its Working Committee. He represented the CPI(M) in the 5th Party Congress of Workers' Party of Korea in November 1970.

In 1971, he was elected a member of the 5th Lok Sabha from Howrah. In 1974, he was one of the mainstays of the Railway workers during the historical Railway Strike and gave a historical speech in support of the striking workers. In 1977, he was re-elected to the 6th Lok Sabha from Howrah. He joined the International Peace Conference at Paris in 1977, as a part of the Parliamentary delegation. He served as the leader of the CPI(M) group in Lok Sabha between 1977 and 1984.

In 1978, he was elected to the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M), and remained in that capacity till he was elected as the Chairman of the Party’s Central Control Commission at the 14th Congress of the Party in January 1992 at erstwhile Madras.

Samar Mukherjee and M. Basavapunniah represented the CPI(M) in the 6th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in October 1980. In 1982, he represented the CITU in the 10th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions at Havana.

In 1983, Mukherjee became the General Secretary of the CITU from Kanpur conference, and remained in that post up to 1991. In 1985, he visited Afghanistan as part of the CPI(M) delegation invited by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, and held discussion with revolutionary leader Babrak Karmal.

In 1986, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha, and played pivotal part in the proper representation of demands of workers, peasants and employees. In 1987, he was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha, and was a member until 1993.[2]

Death

In 2002, he suffered a heart attack. Even with failing health attended the 17th Party Congress in March 2002 at Hyderabad.

Till his death, he was a permanent invitee to the Central Committee of the party, and lived in the Dilkhusha Street party commune in South Kolkata.

He died on 18 July 2013 at Kolkata, after being admitted to the hospital the day before.[2]

References

  1. ^ http://rajyasabha.nic.in/rsnew/pre_member/1952_2003/m.pdf
  2. ^ a b "Veteran CPI(M) leader Samar Mukherjee dies at 100". thehindu.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017. 
  • Dutta, Ananya (8 November 2012). "Veteran CPI (M) leader turns 100". The Hindu. 
  • Madhyamam.com
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