On Tarun Sanyal

Asok Chattopadhyay

An another angel of the Bengal luminaries is gone.

The communist veterans who did never like to dissociate  culture from the fire of politics, have been leaving us in rows for some time past. Luminaries like Nabarun Bhattacharya, Dipankar Chakraborty, Mahashweta Devi, Khaled Chowdhury, Mihir Acharya, Sova Sen and like have gone off from the shore of the living world. And now Tarun Sanyal  has joined the queue.

Tarun Sanyal wrote a poem entitled ‘agnyutpat’ (volcanic eruption) in the early ninenties of the last decade. The poem carried a line : but for learning to kill rats and sans being a large tree, the revolutionaries become rats in dark. Though the poem was composed in memorium of the martyred story writer Somen Chanda, the poet actually ventilated a message to the election-oriented leftwingers of our country. Reaching the fag end of his life he lamented for the changing faces of the communist movement in India.

A student of Prof  Amlan Dutta and being himself a professor of economics in the Scottish Church College, Kolkata, Tarun Sanyal made his poems to ventilate his lines of thought. He left Bardhaman for Kolkata in the year 1952 to get admission in college and befriended here with many others alongwith Sunil Gangopadhyay, Mohit Bandyopadhyay, Amalendu Chakraborty, Birendra Rakshit etc.  the budding poets and authors of the day. Anti-tram-fare-hike movement started in the year 1953 and Tarun Sanyal, alongwith his college friends, joined it and in the great rallies where a popular slogan chanted ‘better walking on foot, better boarding on buses rather trams be left behind.’ And this slogan got up with a bench mark of the time.

Tarun Sanyal was appointed in the Balurghat College as professor in the year 1957. But this employ got him off from service owing to adverse police report for his commuist connection. Latter he joined in Scottish Church College and retired form there in the 1994 at the age of 62.

Despite being a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) he disagreed to accept all the party-says without much reason. Not being a dissident he used to go on his own ways of thought. During the days of his attachment to the ‘Parichay’, the official cultural mouthpiece of CPI, he used to differ with others while  selecting  writings for publication. And latter he made it in public.

He dissociated himself from the CPI politics in the year 1981 and was yet wedded to Marxism till the last days of his life. He preferred to be heightened a ‘communist’ without a pause.

In so many meetings, assemblies, seminars and conventions he iterated the immiment danger of fascism and the experiences thereof  from the antifascist movement of the forties of the twentieth century. It is learnt that he was associated with the All India Communist Party (AICP) in the post-1981 period though he denied his fresh attachment with any political parties.

Not unlike many others of the time he kowtowed  the emergency promulgated by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in the year 1975. Actually he did it sticking to his the then party line of the CPI. But in the post-1977 period  he did not follow his fellow comrades joining the ruling ‘left’ and encamping themselves to a priviledged  intellectual class. It is learnt that he was supposed to have been offered a ministerial berth, but he refused to have his honesty going without stains.

Because of his allegiance to the cause of the toiling pesantry and downtrodden people he rallied after their movements without any hesitation left back. He journeyed with Mahashweta Devi to the  outskirts of Jhargram and witnessed the plightful living of the distressed people there. And he cashed it on his latter attachment to the cause of the peasants and  pressed peoples struggle on roads.

During the left-ruled West Bengal, unlike many other so-called left intellectuals, Tarun Sanyal got enmassed with the movements of the peasants of Singur, Nandigram, Lalgar and  openly stepped down to the streets. He lamented that those fought for the peasants in tebhaga movement and got thrashed and yet revolted with staves in hands had now divorced  from the glorious pages of history and   are wedded to the vested interests of  the Tata House and hobnobbing with the communist-purger Salims! These made him more angry than despair.

This poet was born on October 29, 1932 in Sirajgunj of Pubna of the present Bangladesh. He was fond of donning khadi clothes, living a simple life and taught to love the fellow men unconditionally. He declared war against the incongruity between the common people. During the ‘muktiyuddha’ in 1971 he was undaunted to afford shelter of at least one hundred endangered Bangladeshies. He taught to be staightened upright and not to bend head down in the war field in face of come what may.

Suffering the worst of diseases he passed away on August 28 in the early morning. He was two-month away from his eithtysixth  birthday. During the flaming days of Singur-Nandigram Tarun Sanyal and the firebrand name of protest got at one with each other. With no prejudice he joined all the protest meet convened even by the extra parliamentary left and others to ventilate his views.  

At the dawn of the ‘paribartan’ regime in West Bengal, Tarun Sanyal alongwith  the intellectuals like Mahashweta Devi, Bivas Chakraborty, Varavara Rao, Shuvendu Dasgupta, Dipankar chakraborty, Nabarun Bhattacharya, Gautam Navlakha etc. addressed two memoranda on October 14 and 27, 2011 asking the Chief Minister, West Bengal, to extend her solidarity to the Maoists and the rights organizations with a view to redressing the distressed people of Jangalmahal suffering the worst of tortures unleashed by the party cadres and the joint operation of the central and state armed forces. ‘Frontier’ published one of this memorandum captioned as ‘An open appeal’ in its December 4-10, 2011 issue. Even in protest of brutal rape and murdar of a college girl in Kamduni, in North 24-oarganas, Taraun Sanyal alongwith others joined the rally started form College Street on June 21, 2013.

Now he is no more. When the communal fascist forces of the BJP-RSS combine are on the way clouding the sky with the black shirted eagles to rain fascist onslaught and when the peasants movements in Bhangor, Bhabadighi etc in West Bengal are at stake with the state-led terrors, when the nation witnesses the unforeseen inroads on the fundamental rights of the Indian people, Tarun Sanyal is no more found in the warring agenda of  the peopes movement. He will badly be felt absent in the forthcoming  mass movements in West Bengal.

Sep 13, 2017

Asok Chattopadhyay [email protected]

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