Saturday, December 25, 2004


The life of Nripen Chakrabarty, a veteran communist and former chief minster of Tripura, is an interesting saga with a bitter, almost ironical end.

The party had him take up different jobs at different times according to its need: from a manual worker at a jute mill to an editor of a bourgeois daily newspaper. Finally, it sent him to Tripura to work amnogst the tribals. Not only he won over these tribals, he made Tripura his new home, and had lived since there as the most respected leader of the people. Though a chief minister, he lived a very simple life, and being a batchelor, had no problem living in his own spartan way.

Then in 1995, he involved himself in a row with Jyoti Basu, the Marxist moghul. So far as I remember, he questioned about the propriety of some of Basu's activities. He was summarily dismissed from the party. And there was little hue and cry.

I was surprised when I heard two days ago on the telly that he had been taken back in the party after nine long years. And the 101-year old man was here in Kolkata for treatment.

The man died the next day.

How do you explain the Marxists' gesture? Were they really sorry for what they did to an honest man? Or was it just an effort to protect theit image?

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