Monday, March 27, 2006

End of an Era

Anil Biswas, the State Secretary of the CPI(M) passed away yesterday. I am no fan of the CPI(M), and like most middle class Bengalis, I too regard them as hypocritical bourgeoisies as far removed from the Communist ideology as Sharon Stone is from the Palestinian peace process, or as Sushmita Sen is from Mother Teresa!!!!!

But politics apart, Anil Biswas was quite a man. The little master of the Communist Party, Anil was the spokesperson of the Party since the days I have learnt to spell “Communism”!!!! He had literally become the face of the CPM. The 7 PM news on DD 7 was never complete without his statements on Mamata di’s mental health, or on the threat of communalism, and even on Subhas Chakraborty. I still remember his statement on Subhash Chakraborty, after the Salt Lake Municipal Elections on Star Ananda O sob faltu kotha.Uni to orokom onek kothai bole thaken. uni amader sorkarer montri hote paren tobe onar sob kothay gurutto dewar kono proyojon nei” Oh!! The inimitable style.!!!!!

Anil had become synonymous with the CPM and the Alimuddin Street. After Laloo Prasad,he was probably the most imitated politician in middle class Bengali drawing rooms. His nasal tone, flat delivery and near perfect round countanence had become an integral part of the 90s Bengali existence.

Anil never had the charisma of Budhhadeb, the intellectual prowess of Prakash Karat, or the blue blood of Jyoti Basu. He was never quite the intellectual Marxist. Rather, he was CPI(M)’s Aam Aadmi, the man who rose in the Party ranks from the grassroots level, and driven much more by practical sense than by the Red Book. That is probably the reason why the average CPM worker identified with him more than with any other leader. He was The Chanakya of the Party, the man at the top of the much famed (and infamed) election machinery of the CPM (which, the detractors say, is the machinery of scientific rigging). However,Even his detractors will agree that his organisational skills were unmatched.

With the death of Anil, CPI (M) will lose a great strategist, a man who has always acted as a mediator between the hardline faction of the CPI (M), and the revisionists, like Bhattacharyay. His demise will make it difficult for the party to reconcile between factions with widely differing political ideologies and self interests.

To Comrade Anil Biswas, Laal Salaam .