A memorial at Kalabari under Matialli block of Jalpaiguri by the All India Kisan Sabha — the farmers’ front of CPM — will commemorate the 75th year of Tebhaga movement on May 21.
Biswajit Ghosh, a sculptor based in Jalpaiguri, is making an iron sculpture for the memorial in memory of those who had participated in the farmers’ rights movement and had laid down their lives for it.
“I have used scrap iron pieces to make the sculpture to showcase the struggle of peasants and the working class. We have displayed sickles, bows, arrows, hammer, shovel and spade which are used by these people, along with abstract figures of the strugglers,” said Ghosh.
The Tebhaga movement, organised in 1946 and continued till 1947 by the All India Kisan Sabha — it was the farmers’ front of undivided Communist Party of India then — fought for the demand that the sharecroppers should get two-thirds of the crop’s share while the landlords one-third.
The movement had spread across Bengal and had gained ground even in the tea sector.
On March 1, 1947, as the protesters had congregated at Balgobindar Math, a local ground in Matialli, police had resorted to firing and five persons had lost their lives.
In another incident of April 4, 1947, 15 others died in another police firing in a nearby area of the same block.
“Matialli block and adjoining areas of western Dooars had emerged as a hub of Tebhaga movement in north Bengal. Thousands of people had joined it and many have lost their lives. As we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the movement, it has been decided to install a memorial with a sculpture,” said Asish Sarkar, the Jalpaiguri district president of the All India Kisan Sabha.
Salil Acharya, the CPM’s district secretary in Jalpaiguri, said the movement still holds relevance. “Even today, farmers are struggling. Tea workers seek minimum wages to be fixed. The memorial in Matialli will inspire us to continue our movement for these people,” he said.