Dipankar Chakraborty (1941-2013)

January 29, 2013

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Dipankar Chakraborty, leftist author and activist, and editor of the Bengali political magazine ‘Aneek’, passed away at 10.05 PM on 27th January, at his Teghoria residence in Kolkata following a cardiac arrest. He was one of the founder members of APDR (Association for Protection of Democratic Rights). At the time of death he was one of the Vice Presidents of APDR. Aneek was launched in 1964 and has been published uninterruptedly since; except for the 19 months when Chakraborty was in jail during the Emergency. He had been a dedicated supporter of and participant in peoples’ movements in West Bengal, while not holding back from criticizing what he felt were failings of these movements. His loss would be sorely felt in the movemental and intellectual space in Bengal.

[In the photo above – Dipankar Chakrabarty (seated on the right) at a peoples’ hearing in Singur.]

Press Release from Aneek

Dipankar Chakroborty (71), the founder-editor of the independent Left journal, ANEEK, passed away on Sunday night. A cardiac patient, he had suffered respiratory problem last evening and died on the way to hospital. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter and grandchildren.

He was born in Dhaka in 1941 and grew up in Murshidabad after the partition. Educated in Baharampur and Kolkata, Chakroborty taught economics at Krishnanath college at Baharampur. he later settled in Kolkata.

A veteran of the Left movement since the sixties, he began publishing and editing ANEEK since 1964 when ruptures in the CPI on ideo-political issues led to first split and birth of the CPI(M).

In the wake of the Naxalbari uprising three years later that had triggered the second split and birth of the CPI(ML), Chakroborty did not join the new party. But he made ANEEK an independent forum for debates on contemporary communist movement, both national and international.

Under his stewardship, ANEEK has become one of the leading left periodical in Bengal and among the few ‘little magazines’ which have survived five decades against all odds. He himself was an accomplished political commentator and had several books to his credit. Chakroborty was jailed by the S.S Roy government during the Emergency. A life-long defender of human rights, he was also one of the founders of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and its vice-president.

He was always active in the campaigns of release of political prisoners irrespective of the creed of the ruling parties and governments since the seventies. He stood by peoples’ movements and joined protests in their support despite his failng health– from Maruti to Nonadanga.

He was also one of the founders of Peoples’ Books Society, a major publication house and a enthusiast of Little Magazine movement in Bengal.

Noted novelist and activist Mahasveta Devi who knew Chakroborty closely expressed her ‘profound shock’. ” I am deeply grieved. It’s an irreplaceable loss for the human rights movement as well as for me,” the octogenarian writer said. Poet Sankhaya Ghosh, also mourned Chakroborty’s death. ” I feel like losing a near and dear one,” he said.

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PUDR Statement

PUDR mourns the loss of Dipankar Chakrabory, founder editor of Aneek and co-founder of APDR (Association of Democratic Rights). Chakraborty (71) passed away in his residence in Kolkata after suffering a cardiac arrest on 27th January 2013. Chakraborty was a widely respected intellectual associated with numerous people’s movements.

In the mid 60s when Chakraborty was a young political activist, he started a radical magazine called Punoscho from his hometown, Berhampur, which ultimately became Aneek, the Bengali monthly. Chakraborty did not join the CPI(ML) when it was formed in 1969; instead he contributed actively through Aneek. In a world full of little magazines, Aneek has always been regarded as an outspoken and radical journal which encourages writers and poets besides analysts and political commentators. The anthologies compiled from its issues of the 70s show the diversity of both literary and political writings. Over the years Aneek has been an uninterrupted source of radical energy, excepting when Chakraborty was jailed during the Emergency.

Dipankar Chakraborty’s loss will be keenly felt both within the civil liberties movement and also in the field of radical literature which he championed and built.

Asish Gupta, D.Manjit
Secretaries
PUDR