More On Sailendra Nath Ghosh


Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri

In 1974-75 I had the rare good fortune of accompanying Manoranjan Guha, my grandmother's brother, a noted Gandhian philosophical anarchist, who spent seven years in a British jail (he first saw me as an infant in arms on a visiting day at the Dum Dum Central Jail). He served as editor, Hindusthan Standard (Delhi), editor, Vigil and Director, Institute of Gandhian Studies, Benaras. He was also a member of Viswa Bharati's equivalent of the Senate. I am talking so much about him because he could not stand chicanery or sophistry of any kind, and had early on fallen out with the then leaders of West Bengal Congress, leaving active politics as a result. Predictably, he filled the chairs, listed above, only for short periods, each lasting till he found that he was again surrounded by scoundrels. Many words will be said in praise of Sailen Ghosh, now that the gadfly will sting the corrupt and callous administrators in Delhi no more. To me the highest praise of Sailen-da, as this wise democrat insisted being called by people twenty years his junior, consists of the fact that in what was his last visit to the capital, out of all his notable acquaintances whom he did and did not visit, Manoranjan Guha found it imperative to introduce me to Sailen-da, and build a link which suddenly became live some years back when Sailen-da had to come to Kolkata quite a few times to chase a lawsuit. My wife and I became part of his mental support system when his wife died. He became a close friend of my wife, and would complain to her when I could not find time enough for him. There was ‘Nandigram’, ‘Jangal Mahal’, ‘Poribartan’, and progressive illness on all sides, but these are the excuses one makes when one realises that one could have done more for someone and made him happier, only after the notice is sent out: "No further communications".

What he wanted from Sujoy-da and me was accurate, up-to-date scientific information about various aspects of the issues he was fighting about in the eighth decade of his life - nuclear lies, hydrogen and other fuels, carbon-based fuels or alternatives, emission of poisonous gases, saving the earth and its eco-systems from rapacious looters (and from us, their ignorant dupes). You see he wanted to fight with the truth, undiluted by propaganda.

He started in a communist think-tank, but migrated to the opposition inside the Congress (the group professing more loyalty to socialism than any socialist!). Participating in government after a fashion, he tried to expose the hypocrisy, deceit and perversity in the grandiose schemes of the government, especially in the petroleum sector. In his old age he finally found his place as a champion of the people, fighting to save their inheritance from big business and the so-called representatives of the people in government (and the "wannabees" on the opposition benches).

The first step towards preserving and carrying on the good fight fought by Sailen Ghosh, as his family seem to wish to do, would be to collect his printed articles and the many reports penned by him and buried in the proceedings of different boards and committees, in order to compile, edit and publish in print and on the web one or more volumes of Collected Essays.

Vol. 46, No. 24, Dec 22 -28, 2013

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