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Jyoti Basu
জ্যোতি বসু

Jyoti Basu

Chief Minister of West Bengal
In office
21 June 1977–6 November 2000
Preceded by Siddhartha Shankar Ray
Succeeded by Buddhadev Bhattacharya

Born 8 July 1914 (1914-07-08) (age 95)
Calcutta, Bengal, British India
Political party Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Residence Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Religion Atheist
As of January 27, 2007
Source: [Communist Party of India (Marxist)]

Jyoti Basu (Bengali: জ্যোতি বসু) (born July 8, 1914) is an Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from West Bengal, India. He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, making him India's longest-serving Chief Minister as of 2009. He was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from the time of the party's founding in 1964 until 2008.[1][2]


Early Life

Jyoti Basu was born on 8 July 1914 as Jyoti Kiran Basu into an upper middle-class Bengali family in Calcutta. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor from the village of Bardi in Dhaka District, East Bengal (now in Bangladesh), while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife.[3] Basu’s schooling started at Loreto School at Dharmatala, Calcutta (now Kolkata), in 1920. It was there where his father shortened his name and he became Jyoti Basu. However he was moved to St. Xavier’s School in 1925. Basu’s undergrad education took place at Hindu College (renamed as Presidency College in 1855) as he did honors in English from there.[4]

After getting done with this in 1935, Basu set for England for higher studies of Law. Its told Basu attended lectures of Harold Laski in late 1930. It was England where Basu was introduced to the activities of politics through the Communist Party of Great Britain.There he was inspired by noted Communist Philosopher and prolific writer Rajani Pam Dutt. In 1940 he completed his studies and qualified as a Barrister at the Middle Temple[5]. In the same year he returned to India. In 1944 Basu became involved in trade union activities when CPI delegated him to work amongst the railway labourers. When B.N. Railway Workers Union and B.D. Rail Road Workers Union merged, Basu became the general secretary of the union.

Political career

Communism in India

Communist Party of India

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Naxalbari uprising
Communist Party of India (M-L)
Liberation - New Democracy
Janashakti - PCC - 2nd CC
Red Flag - Class Struggle
Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Socialist Unity Centre of India

A. K. Gopalan
E. M. S. Namboodiripad
B. T. Ranadive
Charu Majumdar
Jyoti Basu
S. A. Dange
Shibdas Ghosh
T. Nagi Reddy

Tebhaga movement

World Communist Movement

Communism Portal

Entry into politics

Basu’s first track in politics was his efforts to organize the Indian students studying in United Kingdom, mostly for the cause of Indian Independence. While studying in England, Basu subsequently joined India League and London Majlis, both the organizations being communities of overseas Indian students. Basu was given the responsibility for arranging a meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru during Nehru's visit to London in 1938. The same was done after Subhas Chandra Bose went to England. As a member of London Majlis, Basu introduced the visiting Indian political figures to the leaders of Labour Party.

Basu was introduced to the Communist Party of Great Britain by another communist leader and Basu’s friend in England Bhupesh Gupta. It’s told Basu showed interest to join CPGB but the then Secretary General Harry Pollitt suggested him to not do so, possibly because CPGB was then banned in India and Pollitt speculated Basu could have difficulties in returning to India as a member of CPGB.

However Basu returned to India in 1940 after the completion of studies. He let his parents know about his future plan to join leftist politics which was vehemently dissuaded by them. Moreover the Communist Party of India which Basu intended to join was then banned by the British Government. Still Basu made contacts with the CPI leadership and made his way to join the party.[6]

Later Political Career

Basu was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1946, contesting the Railway constituency. He served as the Leader of Opposition for a long time when Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy was the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Basu's admirable eloquence both as an M.L.A and the Leader of Opposition drew the attention of Dr. B.C Roy and he had a strong affection for this young leader though his stand was completely against the policies of the then State Govt. run by Dr. Roy. Jyoti Basu led one after another agitations against the State Govt. and earned enviable popularity as a politician particularly among the students and youth. Beside organising the movements of the Railway Labourers, he led a historical movement by the Teachers who were protesting against the meagre salary and demanded for the hike in salary. Thus Jyoti Basu took away the sleep of the State Govt. by one after another movements against the State Govt. When the Communist Party of India split in 1964, Basu became one of the first nine members of the Politburo of the newly-formed Communist Party of India (Marxist).[2] In 1967 and 1969, Basu became Deputy Chief Minister of West Bengal in the United Front governments. In 1967,after the defeat of the Congress Govt., Jyoti Basu was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister under the Chief Ministership of Mr. Ajay Mukhopadhay. When Congress returned to power in West Bengal in 1972 and Mr. Siddhartha Shankar Roy, Jyoti Basu was defeated from Baranagar Assembly Constituency and complained about unprecedented rigging. His Party CPI(M), decided to boycott the Assembly till the fresh election was conducted in 1977.

From June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, Basu served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the Left Front government. In 1996 Jyoti Basu seemed all set to be the consensus leader of the United Front for the post of Prime Minister of India. However, the CPI(M) Politburo decided not to participate in the government, a decision that Jyoti Basu later termed a historic blunder. H.D. Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal instead became Prime Minister. Basu resigned from the Chief Ministership of West Bengal in 2000 for health reasons, and was succeeded by fellow CPI(M) politician Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. As of 2009, Basu holds the record for being the longest-serving Chief Minister in Indian political history.

The 18th congress of CPI(M), held in Delhi in 2005, re-elected Basu to its Politburo, although he had asked to be allowed to retire from it. On September 13, 2006, Basu entreated the CPI(M) to allow his retirement due to his age, but was turned down. General Secretary Prakash Karat said that the party wanted Basu to continue until its 2008 congress, at which point it would reconsider.[7] At the 19th congress in early April 2008, Basu was not included on the Politburo, although he remained a member of the Central Committee and was designated as Special Invitee to the Politburo.[1][2]

On January 1, 2010, Basu was admitted to AMRI hospital,Salt Lake after feeling unwell.[8][9] As of 9 January 2010 (2010 -01-09), his health condition is critical and has signs of multiple organ failure. [10][11]


In January 2006 the Supreme Court of India issued notices to Basu and others in connection with land allotments in Salt Lake.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Jyoti Basu will continue on Central Committee". The Hindu (Kolkata: The Hindu). April 4, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  2. ^ a b c Chatterjee, Manini (April 3, 2008). "Nine to none, founders’ era ends in CPM". The Telegraph (Calcutta: The Telegraph). Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  3. ^ Basu, Jyoti. Jatadur Mone Pare: Rajnaitik Atmakathan. Calcutta: National Book Agency.  
  4. ^ Biography of Jyoti Basu, Website of Jyoti Basu by the Government of West Bengal
  5. ^ Political biography : Jyoti Basu
  6. ^ Biography of Jyoti Basu, Website of Jyoti Basu by the Government of West Bengal
  7. ^ Bhaumik, Subir (September 11, 2006). "Left veteran just wants to retire". BBC News (Calcutta: BBC). Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  8. ^ "Jyoti Basu admitted to hospital". NDTV (Kolkata: NDTV). January 1, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  9. ^ "Jyoti Basu put on ventilator, condition serious". Hindustan Times. Press Trust Of India (Kolkata: HT Media). January 06, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  10. ^ "Former West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu on ventilator due to breathing trouble". The Times of India (Kolkata: Bennett, Coleman & Co). January 6, 2010,. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  11. ^ "Basu's on ventilator, condition 'very critical'". The Press Trust of India (Kolkata: The Press Trust of India). January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  
  12. ^ "Court notice to Jyoti Basu". The Hindu (New Delhi: The Hindu). January 24, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2010.  

External links

Preceded by
Siddhartha Shankar Ray
Chief Minister of West Bengal
Succeeded by
Buddhadeb Bhattacharya


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