Com. Harkishan Singh Surjeet
was no ordinary communist. He has had a charisma
of the most unordinary nature and stature that makes
him one of the most ordinary party workers even
while he was always at the top of the party. This
charisma is none of a birth talent as Brahmanism
or bourgeois politics would be; on the other hand
he learnt from the people, history and practice.
He was an architect of the nationalist movement
of the genre that was founded and headed by Sardar
Bhagat Singh. This branch of the nationalist movement
was characterized by sacrifice and salvation. His
hoisting the tricolour flag at Hoshiarpur at the
age of 16 brought the steel fighter who was going
to be tempered by successive struggles and study.
He was a fighter par excellence. That is why he
imbibed the great traditions of the Gadar revolutionaries
in his life.
The seven and a half decades of political life
began with his staunch fight against British political
hegemony over India. Along with this he pioneered
the peasant movement and Communist party as he
was convinced that with the peasantry being liberated
from landlordism and without poverty being stricken
off, there would be no meaning to freedom.
He entered the Central Committee
and Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India
in 1954 at its Third Congress. Then onwards Surjeet
has always been at the helm of affairs in national
politics. Then he fought against the revisionist
tendencies in the party and he was one of the
founding fathers of the CPI (M).
Three things are predominant in the character
of Comrade Surjeet; the first one is his undaunted
opposition to communalism. He was not bothered
whether it came from the Hindus or Sikhs or Muslims.
He fought relentlessly against communal secessionist
tendencies in the Punjab. The second one is his
wonderful capacity of creating an ambiance in
like-minded political partied that could work
together towards a common cause while they retained
their separate existence. But for Surjeet the
UPA would and could not have been possible and
the left would not have come to rescue the country
from the hooks of Hindutwa communalists at least
for the time being. The third one is his efficiency
in moulding cadre politicians. The difference
between cadre politician and professional politician
is gradually diminishing in our country. The cadre
is ready to sacrifice and the professional is
ready to acquire what ever he can. We have both
the genre in abundance before our eyes.
He has proved equal to or more
influential than most prime ministers and presidents
of our republic. He was an equal to heads of nations
such as Yasser Arafat or Fidel Castro. We feel
his relegation from national politics due to ill-health
was one of the reasons why the present hiatus
in Indian politics is cleavaged. He would have
been able to convince the political masters of
the UPA that their attempt to succumb to the US
imperialism would be detrimental to the country.
We are not saying that Surjeet could avert class
struggle at the international plane. But he could
have prevailed upon at least some leaders to avert
the danger. The danger has happened. The India-
US nuclear deal is being reached at. It is quite
accidental that Surjeet became part of history
just one month after the political experiment
he was successful in creating crumpled at the
We lower our heads before the glowing heritage
the great communist has rendered to our country.
We are proud that the present generations of this
country could live at the time this great leader
of men also lived in our country.
C. P. Aboobacker