Across the barbed fences, Bengal and Bangladesh face similar challenges

The growth of communal forces besides posing threat to the growth story is also challenging the founding ethos of West Bengal and Bangladesh.  

When Bangladesh was born in 1971, West Bengal was in the throes of a socio-political turmoil. Its best and brightest were leaving colleges and universities to wage a “class war”. Campuses were filled with the rallying cry of ‘Amar bari, tomar bari, Naxalbari, Naxalbari’ (Your home, my home is Naxalbari).

Naxalbari, as it was even then, is a sleepy hamlet in Darjeeling district in northern West Bengal. The otherwise nondescript village literally shook the entire country with a violent peasant uprising in 1967, making its place in history.

Soon the flame of revolt spiralled into a gigantic fire, leaving a trail of brutal killings and equally vicious police reprisal.

Among the noted victims of the violent lunacy carried out in the name of class battle were vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University Gopal Chandra Sen, whose throat was slit by a group of Naxalite students on the campus in 1970, and 76-year-old chairman of the All-India Forward Bloc and veteran freedom fighter Hemanta Kumar Basu.

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