On behalf of the entire party Liberation pays warm tribute to the martyred leader Saroj Dutta on the occasion of his birth centenary. In this issue we bring you a biographical sketch, one of his most celebrated poems and the obituary written by comrade Charu Mazumdar soon after the death of comrade SD. We plan to publish more on the departed leader in one of our forthcoming issues. – Editor
Comrade Saroj Dutta was born on 14 March 1914 in Narail in Jessore district, East Bengal. He studied at Victoria Collegiate School in Narail and then at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta. While in college he joined the communist movement and was arrested for a while. He graduated in 1936 and got his MA in 1938 from the University of Calcutta. Comrade SD Joined the Amrita Bazar Patrika in 1939. Later he became a political whole-timer, and joined Swadhinata, the organ of the Bengal State Committee of the CPI. He was also the editor of the famous literary journal Parichaye.
During his imprisonment in 1962, SD came in contact with Comrade Charu Majumdar. Both of them joined the CPI (M) after the split in 1964. When the CPI (M) leadership nakedly advocated Khrushchev’s line of class-collaboration, comrades SD, Sushital Roy Choudhuri, Asit Sen and others formed the Marxist-Leninist Institute, a study group targeted against revisionism. Following the Naxalbari upsurge, comrade SD played a leading role in the formation of the AICCR in 1968 and the CPI (M-L) in 1969. He became the editor of Deshabrati, the Bengali organ of the West Bengal State Committee of the CPI (ML). His articles in “Patrikar Duniyaye” (meaning In the World of magazines) in Deshabrati are treated as rare gems in the treasury of Leftist Journalism. He was known as the ideologue of the famous statue breaking movement that rocked the urban life of Bengal in the early seventies.
Comrade SD played an important role in inner-party debates and vigorously fought for the implementation consolidation of the revolutionary line comrade Charu Majumdar. From 1970 onwards, he became one of the most wanted persons in India. The police was always hunting for him like a hungry wolf. Finally, in the early hours of 5th August, 1971, he was secretly eliminated by the state machinery.
In Memory of Martyrs
– Charu Mazumdar
At midnight of 4th and 5th August the police captured Comrade Saroj Dutta and on that very night shot him dead secretly.
Chairman has said: “It is not hard for one to do a bit of good. What is hard is to do good all one’s life and never do anything bad, to act consistently in the interest of the broad masses, the young people and the revolution, and to engage in arduous struggle for decades on end. That is the hardest thing of all!” Comrade Saroj Dutta was such a comrade and his entire life was spent in working for the revolution.
There is no reactionary force which did not fear his pen which was as sharp as a razor. That is why the police force did not even dare enact the farce of a trial, they murdered him on that night itself. Like all reactionary powers of the world the lndian Government and its accomplices – aIl the reactionary and revisionist parties – want to arrest the march of revolution by resorting to mass murders on a wide scale. In the Cossipore-Baranagar area they unitedly entered into a conspiracy and murdered over a hundred youths, The police and the goondas who committed the murders were engaged for the purpose by all those rogues who, in the name of restoring “Law and Order”, were holding’ conferences with a view to preserving this man-eating system and uniting against the revolutionaries. Today when their mask is falling off their face before the people, when it is no longer difficult for the people to recognise the blood-stained hand of the murderers, they have come forward to show sympathy for the murdered revolutionary youths to hide their devilry. They executed the same conspiracy in Barasat and Uttarpara. The orgy of murder in which they indulged in the Cossipore and Baranagar area has surpassed all previous records of their demoniac acts.
In jails also they are killing revolutionary cadres by opening fire on prisoners or lathi-charging them. They are thinking that in this way they will be able to arrest the progress of revolution. In South Vietnam the Diem clique wanted to stop the onward march of revolution by carrying on killings in this manner. The result is, the strength of the National Liberation Front has increased and it has defeated the American aggressors repeatedly. In India this killing will rouse the anger and hatred of men and a new India will be built on the destruction of the murderous system – this is the law of history. The reactionaries will have to repay in blood the blood debt that each act of murder accumulates.
Comrade Saroj Dutta was a leader of the Party and he died a hero’s death befitting a leader. His revolutionary steadfastness should serve as a model for youths. Overcoming all weaknesses, the youths will have to take to the path of revolution more resolutely and avenge these killings by integrating themselves with the workers and poor and landless peasants.
-August 16, 1971 [From Liberation, July 1971--January 1972]
Anguish of a Revolutionary Poet
My poems will never narrate my story,
My lament will not echo in any a casual line,
My poetry does not trade woes of the feeble,
Nor is it lewd fetish of the impotent mind.
Isn’t a narcissist’s decree of universal love,
Or ‘timid offerings’ of the frail at power’s shrine.
Towards a people’s sky, those that pull
The fire-chariot of humankind are comrades of mine.
I can’t be traced in my poem; there my limits
Blend into infinity of the myriad -
With flood-waters from without I have unbounded
The stagnant swamp sluggished by poison-mud.
My pain will not linger like a spirit in the graveyard,
I am a reckless droplet, ocean’s fervour in my heart.
- Saroj Dutta