Shri Jyoti Basu is a unique figure in Indian politics. As a communist he has never been a dogmatic theorist but a pragmatic politician and statesman gu ided by the humanistic principles and the social vision of Karl Marx. He has been at the same time a genuine product of Indian culture and thought who wrestled with the problems of an India emerging out of foreign colonial rule, out of underdevelopment and inherited social and economic inequities and injustices. Early in his career he had developed a world view and a vision of India which made him once declare: "I am engaged in the struggle for the noble mission of bringing about the freedom of humanity."
It has been Shri Jyoti Basu's lot to struggle for this noble mission on the soil and in the context of India. While his particular area of activity has been West Bengal, which is in a sense a microcosm of this vast land of ours, the implications of his work encompass India' as a whole. As an enlightened nationalist he has stood for the unity and integrity of India and has striven to uphold the national ideology of secularism and democracy. He has succeeded in keeping in check in his own State the virus of communalism and regionalism which has been raising its head in parts of our country.
By launching a series of socio-economic measures like land reforms seriously implemented and democratic decentralisation through Panchayati Raj he has aroused consciousness and hope for a better life among the masses of the people of West Bengal. Above all keeping with changed economic conditions in India and in the world he has espoused the new liberalisation policy but with a social vision emphasizing the essential self-reliance of the nation and the welfare of the common people.
The eighteen years.of his Chief Ministership of West Bengal is testimony to Shri Jyoti Basu's politics and leadership at once principled and flexible and to his charismatic appeal to the people. A dedicated communist he has not only functioned within the framework of parliamentary democracy but has emerged as one of those who has demonstrated that the parliamentary system, in a country like India, can be used as an instrument of social and economic change and transformation.
I am glad that the "New Approach" is bringing out a special issue on Shri Jyoti Basu and wish it all success.
NEW DELHI, June 12, 1995