Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  

Lest we forget
Comrade Moni Singh
A peasant leader turned people's leader

In July 1952, I was instructed by the party's leadership to call a meeting of the journalist cell which would be attended by the party's General Secretary, Comrade Moni Singh and Comrade Sudhin Roy. The meeting would decide who would join the party's open team. At the meeting, Comrade Moni Singh named Tasadduq Ahamed and K.G. Mustafa to join the cell as whole-time workers. He also said that we would have to resign from the newspapers where we worked. For preparation, we would be given six months time. I agreed, but Tasadduq Ahamed refused to join the open team as he would permanently settle in the United Kingdom.

Comrade Moni Singh and Comrade Sudhin Roy tried to convince the members of the cell that in the greater interest of the party and the country we should agree to accept their proposal. Tasadduq Ahamed did not agree even after persistent argument of the party's leadership. Comrade Moni Singh finally said, "comrades, this is your country; if you agree to make Bolshevik revolution here you better change your mind and join the open team. Or else, tell us not to bother you."

I stared at Comrade Moni Singh for some moments and said to myself, I would be lucky to work with this great man. As advised by the leadership, I resigned from Sangbad at the end of 1952 and joined the open team led by Mirza Abdus Samad, a member of the provincial committee.

Nineteen fifty three was the year of election. The KSP led by A.K. Fazlul Huq and the Awami League led by Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani held series of meetings for forging a united front to face the Muslim League. The Communist Party was campaigning for forging unity of all anti-Muslim League parties, groups and individuals. In party meetings, Comrade Moni Singh emphasised on the point that we must not take the Muslim League lightly. If all our comrades remembered this point, their battle for defeating the ruling party would be much easier. The party had to go through substantial political as well as organisational problems during this period. A number of leading members of the party thought that the party should fight the election on its own programme of action and would not play second fiddle to the bourgeoise parties in the united front.

But the party leadership decided to field candidates of the party in limited number of seats and support the United Front in other seats. This election line was drawn up by the party's general secretary Comrade Moni Singh, Sudhin Roy and Barin Datta, the members of the secretariat, and supported by the party organisations all over the province. This was a correct political line of the time and four out of ten party candidates won the election. The Muslim League had been defeated convincingly. 'This is an occasion to rejoice', announced the party's leadership after the election results were out. A three member committee comprising Satyen Sen, Ranesh Das Gupta and K.G. Mustafa conducted the election activities of the party under the leadership of POC (Provincial Organising Committee). The POC was subsequently renamed Central Committee of the Communist Party. Comrade Moni Singh, a legend of the 'Tonko' and 'Tebhaga' movements, Hajong and other peasants' movements of Mymensingh and Nachole of Rajshahi emerged as a leader of the masses.

Election results also vindicated the line of the party leadership in that as many as 18 candidates of the Awami League and Ganotantri Dal belonged to the open sector of the Communist Party. With the four members of the open sector, the party's total strength in the provincial assembly stood at twenty-two. The party also won a seat at the second Constituent assembly in 1955.

Comrade Moni Singh was elected General Secretary of the party in 1951 when the party abandoned the lines of comrades B. T. Ronadeve and Rajeshwar Rao. In the then East Pakistan, Comrade Moni Singh was held in high esteem by all sections of people, although he hardly came out of the underground party shelter. To the party rank and file he was the 'Big Brother', 'Baro Bhai'. To the peasants of Mymensingh area, he was known as Moni Raja, the king of the downtrodden. The Muslim League government of the post partition period fomented communal disturbances in Hajong areas of Mymensingh. As a result, almost the entire peasantry of the region was thrown out and refugees coming from Assam were encouraged by the Muslim Leaguers to settle in the area.

Comrade Moni Singh has proved in his lifestyle that revolutionary can be honest, sincere and friendly to the masses of the people. He and his team of leaders set an example before the entire people of Bangladesh that a political party can be run by honest people who do not plunder other's wealth.

I had an opportunity to know these extra-ordinary people who, under the leadership of Comrade Moni Singh, ran the party affairs from the 6th of March, 1948, until their death. The party did not have any wealth and did not get any handsome donations either. It depended on its members and sympathisers.

I once asked Comrade Moni Singh why he agreed with the thesis of 1948. He asked me in turn if I had ever met Comrade Bhabani Sen. I replied in the negative. He then explained that Comrade Sen could convince his audience on any issue. 'We were convinced when he explained the thesis to us,' said Comrade Moni Singh. He was a democrat within the limitation of the Leninist principle of democratic centralism.

On the occasion of his 13th anniversary of death we express our sorrow and remember his contribution to the building of Bangladesh.