Sanyal was the Polit Bureau member of the CPI-Maoist at the time of his arrest in 2005 and perhaps the second most important leader after the party’s national secretary, Muppalla Lakshmana Rao.
Born in an affluent family in undivided Bengal’s Bogra district, now in Bangladesh, Sanyal was known for his keen interest in football. His father was the district chief of Congress and was a generous host to many of the leaders, including second Chief Minister of West Bengal Bidhan Chandra Roy and Congress leader Sarojini Naidu. Sanyal and his family shifted to West Bengal in the 1940s and he got a job in a bank.
“I worked in the United Bank of India in Kolkata, which originated from Comilla Union Bank in Bangladesh,” he once told this correspondent.
He soon left the job to join the CPI-Marxist-Leninist [ML] in the 1960s. After a split in the CPI-ML, led by Bihar’s leader Satyanarain Singh, Sanyal went to work in Bihar among the landless and marginal peasants. He was arrested in 1972-73 and released in 1977 as a part of general amnesty granted to many ML leaders, soon after Left Front came to power in the State.
Following his release Sanyal again went back to work in central Bihar with CPI-ML-Party Unity, which was formed in the early 1980s with the merger of various ML factions. Party Unity led movement gained momentum in the central Bihar throughout the 1980s, resisting the private army of the big landholders. Sanyal played a key role in leading the movement. He eventually became the secretary of the Party Unity.
1990s was a decade of merger between various Naxalite factions. In the early ’90s, Party Unity, Maoist Communist Centre [MCC] and Telengana-based CPI-ML People’s War [PWG] came together to fund a frontal organisation; later– in 1998– Party Unity and PWG merged. Sanyal played a key role in these mergers. He also played a significant role in the merger of PWG and MCC in 2004- a merger that formed CPI-Maoist. However, he has never documented the historical context and the conditions behind the mergers of the main Marxist-Leninist outfits and religiously refused to give a formal interview.
“With his death thus we lost solid historical perspective of the ML movement in this country,” said a senior intelligence officer, who interrogated Sanyal. Sanyal was described as “an unorthodox, non-sectarian and exceptionally humane leader” by one of his comrades.
A strong proponent of collective leadership in the party, Sanyal even started to “analyse Indian elections closely” in his declining years, the activist said.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)