“My address is to be found among all freedom-fighters”

  • Subhoranjan Das Gupta (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Bengal, more than any other state in India, has passed through several political uprisings which attest to the deeply rooted revolutionary fervour of Bengali lower classes and also of middle-class intellectuals. The political upsurge might be traced back to peasant rebellions, to the sustained nationalist and leftist risings during the British rule, the famine of ’43 which destroyed millions and the subsequent Tebhaga (share croppers) movement. Even after independence the Bengali mind questioned the quality of freedom granted, protested against the feudal-capitalistic structure which in India passes by the name of nationalism or democratic socialism, and often revolted in a manner not exactly peaceful or patriotic. One of our esteemed political leaders called Calcutta “The City of Nightmares”, and perhaps it was so from the point of view of the ruling class. In fact, termination of the colonial rule did not usher in days of milk and honey. Ruthless class-exploitation gathered momentum and as an inevitable reaction Bengal witnessed a series of leftist movements. We recall proudly the 1966 food-movement and we recollect with mixed feelings the coming to power of a left-wing government in Bengal in the late sixties and the consequent rebirth of armed revolutionary movement after two decades. This tide has ebbed, for the present, and many fair-weather revolutionaries have chosen an easier path. But the present generation of radical poets have passed through hope and despair, illusion and disillusion, and today they retain their convictions, while dispensing with rose-tinted glasses.