Charu Majumdar

Charu Majumdar
Charu Majumdar

Charu Majumdar (Bangla: চারু মজুমদার) (1918–1972) was a communist revolutionary from India. Charu Majumdar's life is a story of "riches to rags". Born in a progressive landlord family in Siliguri in 1918, he not only dedicated his entire life to peasants' cause but also authored the historic 1968 Naxalbari uprising, the ideology behind which guides red radicals even today. He was born in 1918 at Siliguri, West Bengal. His father was a freedom fighter. Majumdar dropped out of college in 1938. In 1946, he joined the Tebhaga movement. He was briefly imprisoned in 1962. He wanted to create a new national homeland Communist Republic of Bangala Rastra.

Dropping out of college in 1937-38 he joined Congress and tried to organise bidi workers. He later crossed over to CPI to work in its peasant front and soon won respect of the poor of Jalpaiguri.

Soon an arrest-warrant forced him to go underground for the first time as a Left activist. Although CPI was banned at the outbreak of World War II, he continued CPI activities among peasants and was made a member of CPI Jalpaiguri district committee in 1942.

The promotion emboldened him to organise a 'seizure of crops' campaign in Jalpaiguri during the Great Famine of 1943, more or less successfully.

In 1946, he joined Tebhaga movement and embarked on a proletariat militant struggle in North Bengal. The stir shaped his vision of a revolutionary struggle. Later he worked among tea garden workers in Darjeeling.

The CPI was banned in 1948 and he spent the next three years in jail. He tied the nuptial knot with a fellow CPI member from Jalpaiguri - Lila Mazumdar Sengupta in January 1954.

The couple shifted to Siliguri, which remained the centre of his activities for a few years. His ailing father and unmarried sister lived there in abject poverty. But even erosion of peasant movement and personal financial crisis did not dampen his revolutionary spirits and he continued efforts to unite labourers, tea garden workers and rickshaw-pullers there.

During the mid 1960s Majumdar organized a leftist faction in Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) in northern Bengal. In 1967, a militant peasant uprising took place in Naxalbari, led by the Majumdar group. This group would later become known as the Naxalites, and eight articles written by him at this time - known as the Historic Eight Documents - have been seen as providing their ideological foundation: arguing that revolution must take the path of armed struggle on the pattern of the Chinese revolution. The same year, Majumdar broke away and formed the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries which in 1969 founded the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)—with Majumdar as its General Secretary.

He was captured from his hide-out on July 16, 1972, and killed by police in police custody at the Laal Bazar police Station on July 28, 1972. During his ten days in police custody in Lal Bazar lock-up no one was allowed to see him -- not even his lawyer, family members or a doctor. The Lal Bazar lock-up had achieved a reputation throughout the country for the most horrifying and cruel tortures. He died at 4 am on July 28, 1972 in the same lock-up," the CPI (ML) records say.

"Even the dead body was not given to his family. Police, accompanied with immediate family members carried the body to crematorium... The whole area was cordoned off and no other relatives were allowed in as his body was consigned to flames," CPI (ML) records say.

Though the radical Leftist movement has seen many ideological splits since late 70s, naxalism continues to inspire a number of Leftist groups across the country.

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