Bengal’s communist communes mirror the political wilderness of India’s Left

The communist communes are in a state of despair. Photos: Debosree Chatterjee

Stacks of valuable books gathering dust, a divan-sized kempt bed that no one seems to have slept on for days, or maybe years, a thick layer of dirt settled on another adjacent wooden cot and an untidy desk with piles of paper.

The setting in the about 12X18-feet room is a sad commentary on the ideology and dream held close to the heart by those who once occupied it.

Portraits of its past inmates donning the wall of an adjacent room hark back to the good days that the sprawling ground-floor tenement of four rooms and a kitchen in the heart of Kolkata was witness to.

It’s an impressive line-up, a veritable who’s who of Communist Party of India (Marxist). One of the founding members of communist movement in India Muzzafar Ahmad was sharing the space on the wall with other prominent communists such as Hashi Dutta, Kamal Sarkar, Robin Sen, Samar Mukherjee, Abdullah Rasool, Nirod Chakraborty and Mahadeb Saha.

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