Red Salute to Comrade K.G.Bose!!
11th December is the death anniversary of Com. K.G.Bose, the revolutionary leader of the P andT employees’ movement, who died at a comparatively young age of 54. He passed away in a London Hospital on 12th December 1974, while he was being treated for cancer.
Gopal Basu was born on 7th July 1921 in a small house in Beliaghata, Calcutta. His parents had shifted from East Bengal (the present Bangladesh). Father Shri Jay Gopal Basu worked as a teacher. Since his father and elder brother died early, the responsibility of looking after the family, including younger sisters and brother fell upon him. Hence at an early stage he started working in a private firm. Later in 1941, he got job as a clerk in the office of Divisional Engineer, Telegraphs, Calcutta after passing the competitive examination.
From day one, K.G.Basu, with his background in the students and workers movement, became active in the Indian Telegraph Association, which was the existing union there. He became the Branch Secretary within no time. His younger brother, Moni Basu, who also became the leader of the union, joined in the same office in 1945. Both were active in organising the historic 1946 strike of the Postal Workers, though the ITU did not give call for the strike. The strike was considered as part of the freedom struggle and the AITUC, which was the only central trade union in the country at that time, organised an all India solidarity strike in support of the Postal strike.
The Union of P&T Workers (UPTW) was formed in 1946, merging the three existing major unions viz. Indian Telegraph Association, Indian Postal Union and All India Postal & RMS Union. UPTW became strong and gave a call for strike in 1949. The leaders were arrested by the government and many workers were terminated/dismissed. KG as well as Moni Bose, were dismissed/terminated from service. Both were never taken back. But their entire life was devoted in the service of the workers.
National Federation of P&T Employees (NFPTE) was formed on 24 November 1954, through realignment. The new Federation was welcomed by the workers. NFPTE called for strike in 1957 demanding II Central Pay Commission (First CPC was formed in 1946). Though the strike was called off after the government announced the II CPC, but an indefinite strike was called from 11th July 1960 against the retrograde recommendations of the CPC and demanding minimum wage, DA according to cost of living index etc. The strike went on for five days. The government termed it as ‘Civilian Rebellion’ and used all its repressive machinery to crush it. Thousands of workers were arrested, jailed, dismissed, terminated, suspended, charge sheeted etc. Without any agreement, the strike was called off, with almost all the All India leaders in jail. The Secretary General, Com. PSR Anjaneyulu was arrested, chained and put in jail. The entire state machinery was used to suppress the strike. Com. K.G. took a leading role in organising the strike.
\A one day strike was again organised on 19th September 1968 on the demand of minimum wage etc. which also had to face severe victimisation. While the progressive section wanted continuous agitation against victimisation, the reformist leadership of NFPTE was not prepared for the same, but waited for the sympathy from the government.
Com.K.G Bose was elected as the President of the NFPTE in the Federal council meeting in 1974 defeating the reformist leadership. This enthused the progressive section of workers and a new chapter was started in the P&T TU movement. Com.K.G. was completely engaged with the work of NFPTE and toured all over India organising the workers for struggles ahead.
It is during this period that he became a victim of the dreaded cancer. In 1974 he was taken to a London Hospital for treatment, but his life could not be saved. He passed away on 11th December 1974, putting his relatives and lakhs of P&T workers in anguish and sorrow.
During his trade union activities for the period of two and half decades, Com. K.G.Bose had changed the co-relations in the organisation, guided it to the correct path of working class ideology and inspired thousands and thousands of workers not only in P&T, but in the central government employees movement and amongst the working class. He functioned as an MLA in W.Bengal and also as a Member of the Pay Commission for the State Government Employees.
We pay homage to the memory of Com.K.G.Bose, the revolutionary working class leader, who gave the correct direction to the union and inspired thousands of workers.
We pledge to implement his slogan “Struggle for Unity and Unity for Struggle” with the addition of “Unity and struggle for Progress”.
Red Salute to Com. K.G.Bose!