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Kanu Sanyal: A revolutionary who came to abhor violence

"Maoism is not the path of Naxalbari. The violence being indulged in can't solve things. I don't support this," Sanyal had said of the Maoist violence.

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Kanu Sanyal lit the fire of a violent revolution along with two other members of the Naxal triad that led a peasant uprising in West Bengal in the late 1960s, though in later years he shunned his own anarchist past.

As he battled senility, advancing age, and a blurring eyesight, the bachelor 78-year-old founding leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) abhorred the violence unleashed by present-day Maoists.

He was the last surviving member of the Naxalite triad that included another legendary revolutionary and comrade-in-arms Charu Majumdar and Jungle Santhal.

The three were behind the abortive Naxalite insurrection attempt by radical communist to initiate an "Indian revolution" by violent means.

Sanyal had even actively solicited help from the communist government in China to further his goals, but it could never be established whether this was moral, tactical, or financial.

He was a critic of land acquisition by the Left Front government in Singur and Nandigram and criticised it, calling it capitalist.

Sanyal believed that led by a selfless and strong leadership, the protests in Nandigram had the potential to surpass even the Naxalbari movement.

"Maoism is not the path of Naxalbari. The violence being indulged in can't solve things. I don't support this," he had said of the stepped up violence by Maoists.

"There is a distinctive difference between our way of revolution to that being pursued in the name of Maoism," he had said, dubbing Maoists as people without ideals and direction.

Born in Kurseong in 1932, Sanyal while working as a revenue clerk at the Siliguri court, was first arrested for waving a black flag at then West Bengal chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy to protest against the Centre's ban on the Communist Party of India.

He was lodged at the Jalpaiguri jail, where he met Majumdar, who was then a CPI district secretariat member.

Influenced by Majumdar's ideology, Sanyal joined the CPI after his release, and later sided with the CPI (Marxist) after the party split over the war with China.

He together with Mazumdar and another leader, however, became disillusioned with the CPI(M) and broke away to found the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969, aiming at an 'Indian revolution through armed struggle'.

The Naxalite movement, started by the three, began from a peasant uprising in Naxalbari village in West Bengal on May 25, 1967, when the officer in charge of Phansidewa police station, Amarendranath Pyne, was shot dead by an arrow.

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