Looking Back

Kanu Sanyal and Left Adventurism

Subrata Basu

There was an advertisement in the Autumn Number 2019 about coming out of a collection of Essays on NAXALBARI MOVEMENTS; OPPOSING LEFT DEVIATION. The Ad among other things mentions Timir Basu as one of the probable contributors. This is in line with the significant role that Frontier played during the tumultuous days of Naxalbari and after.

However, one thing is to be printed out that the AD is conspicuous by its omission of Kanu Sanyal's contribution in fighting Left Adventurist line in the context of Naxalbari. In truth there could be no discussion on this issue without any reference to Kanu Sanyal's stand against Left Adventurism and its manifestation of Terrorism, notwithstanding the fact that he joined & made public declaration of the formation of the CPI(ML) that Charu Mazumder exploiting the prevailing situation managed to form in April 1969 in connivance with a few of his close followers in the All India Co-ordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR). Kanu Sanyal-Jangal Santhal-Kesab Sarkar and a few ones—the core of Naxalbari movement, were not in touch with AICCCR leadership as they were busy with revolutionary field work.

Kanu Sanyal had sharp differences both ideological & political with Charu Mazumdar over Eight Documents and had the first hand bitter experience of how on the basis of his Eight Documents Charu Mazumdar strongly opposed Naxalbari Mass Revolutionary Line with all the emphasis he had in command. Naxalbari mass revolutionary line was being practised by adivasi peasants & tea garden workers in entire Terrai, Doars & the Darjeeling hills area in a sustained way for more than a decade with the slogan "Land To The Tillers" and developed class struggle gradually creating a strong mass base. In opposition to this Mass Revolutionary Line Charu Mazumdar advocated very strongly for the application of his Left Adventurist Line—i.e. the line of area wise seizure of power by Combat Groups (secret; conspiratorial & action oriented) through individual killing—to be precise through his KHATAM line.

That despite this experience Kanu Sanyal made his presence and announcement of the party formation in the May Day meeting was a great surprise to many insiders outside the purview of the AICCCR. Kanu Sanyal even did not have any knowledge or information about the process of Party building. As the fact goes he had come to learn about the formation of the PARTY a few days after when on repeated request of Charu Mazumdar & Souren Bose he along with Souren Bose reached Calcutta from Siliguri at the end of APRIL 1969 & attended for the first time the meeting of the AICCCR. Kanu Sanyal came to learn from the comrades he met there that the PARTY was already formed and also the COC. (Ref: Charu Babur Katha by Sourin Bose. The book throws some light on this fact.)

Moreover, the speech that Kanu Sanyal delivered reluctantly in the public meeting following a great deal of persuasion by Kolkata—leading leaders was scripted by two senior members of the AICCCR eulogising Charu Mazumdar on the desired line of his followers.

The fact is retold here to help viewing the whole course of political developments related to Pre & Post Naxalbari Uprising in its proper perspective and in its true colours. It is not an attempt to absolve an outwitted Kanu Sanyal of the most anti Marxist stand he took on that occasion by making his presence and speech at May Day Maidan Rally.

This anti Marxist act of Kanu Sanyal costs his political image dearly but more than this the communist movement of the country. The pre-Naxalbari days of the communist movement in Darjeeling district was engaged in ideological and political struggles against the Right Deviation line of the CPI during early '50s and later on against revisionist & reformist official line of the CPI(M) leadership witnessed the struggle against Left deviation trend also from mid '60s of the last century with Kanu Sanyal at the forefront-particularly after Charu Mazumdar's Eight Documents reached Baharampur Jail where leading Darjeeling—political activists were lodged in at that time.

In this context, Kanu Sannyal's role needs a clear mention about repeated—self criticism he made(inside the jail and afterwards coming out of the jail) in writing and speeches on several occasions about his role—that is, his success and failure to carry forward this struggle in a sustained way inside the CPI(ML). A struggle that he could launch before Naxalbari along with other leading members of Darjeeling district committee of the CPI(M) and with the overwhelming support of thousands of revolutionary rank and file including workers & peasants of the CPI(M) Darjeeling District organisation and became able to implement the Mass Revolutionary Line, defeating the RIGHT revisionist as well as Reformist line of the official leadership of the CPI(M) & the Left adventurist line advocated by much circulated Eight Documents. Incidentally Charu Mazumdar's Line was applied in 'Chater Hat' area situated in adjacent to DINAJPUR district and met with complete disaster causing serious political and organisational setbacks to the PARTY IN THE AREA.

"MORE ABOUT NAXALBARI" and other published documents particularly the document "The History Of The CPI(ML) from 1969-1972", published in volume 1 No.2 of The Guide, the inner party document of the CPI(ML) 2005 and various other documents & write ups including public statements and speeches by Kanu Sanyal are there to prove this point. Needless to say Kanu Sanyal—who remained a Marxist all through his life, carried out this struggles firmly and with all sincerity till he breathed his last. As a true Marxist he tried to make amends of the political blunder he committed, by his presence and speech in the Mayday meeting and also joining the party CPI(ML) 1969.

After coming out of the jail in May 1979 his political journey was to carry forward the Unity process of Communist Revolutionary (CR) forces with the aim of forming a True Communist Party based on Marxism-Leninsm-Mao-Tse Tung-Thought. In this mission he firmly adhered to sustained ideological and political struggles against Left Adventurism and Right Revisionism in theory as well as in practice. In the process he formed OCCR, thereafter COI(ML) followed by CPI(ML), through UNITY Conference in 2005 with its ideological & political orientation of building up party and not Reorganising the CPI (ML) 1969. The nomenclature CPI(ML) was used negating completely ideological & Political Line adopted in the basic documents of CPI(ML) 1969.

The life long struggle that Kanu Sanyal carried on stands as a sharp contrast to opportunism & dishonesty being practised by a section of self claimed leaders who pretending as communist revolutionaries & followers of Naxalbari are in ready practising sheer opportunism causing confusion and great harm to the communist movement of the country. Their activities clearly show that these elements are peddlers of Parliamentary cretinism under the garb of CR.

After the demise of Kanu Sanyal they are propagating stark lie : that there was no ideological and political differences between Charu Mazumdar and Kanu Sanyal. Among them are some veterans both from Naxalbari area and its outside. Distorting Facts & Resorting to Falsehood they are upholding Charu Babu as the leader of Naxalbari Movement—and propagating that with Eight Documents as the guide to action Naxalbari was the outcome of the joint leadership of Charu Babu & Kanu Sanyal. These elements have betrayed politically the great peasant uprising in India's revolutionary history. Many of them were with Kanu Sanyal from the period of OCCR to the last days of his political life expressing their firm adherence to the stand of Kanu Sanyal on Naxalbari.

These tricky elements now want to put their names in the same bracket with committed and dedicated CR leaders of All India stature like D V Rao-T Nagi Reddi who carried on relentless struggles against revisionism and left adventurism—the twin danger of communist movement all through their political life.

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Vol. 52, No. 36, Mar 8 - 14, 2020