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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A musician,a poet and a budding communist leader

Sudipta Gupta,SFI activist who died in custody,was a young man with many interests

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Published: April 16, 2013 12:15:57 am

As children,Sudipta Gupta and his sister would go to sleep listening to their father playing the violin. After the sister’s marriage,father and son would sit for violin sessions in the evening,two men deeply in love with music,with Sudipta a tabla player of repute. Since the death of Sudipta,23,in police custody last fortnight following an SFI demonstration,his father has continued the music sessions,now solo,but the only way he can give vent to his grief.

Pranab Gupta,retired from the National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation,plays the Rabindrasangeet tunes that his son would sing at adda sessions. Memories of another of his favourites now haunt his friends: Jamaica Farewell,especially the verse,“But I am sad to say I am on my way,won’t be back for many a day.”

Music was one of many interests. In his diary are poems that show him as a thinker; these are about conversations with himself as he tried to deal with conflicting questions. On the bookshelf of his room are works on Marxism,including those by Lenin,the biographies of communist leaders,and a Bengali translation of Gorky’s Mother. Sudipta lost his mother,to whom he had been very close,a little over a year ago. Contrasting with these books are works on Ramakrishna Paramahansa,which friends say show that however committed he may have been to communism,he did not let that interfere with his other values.

Ritabrata Banerjee,SFI national secretary,first noticed him two years ago,chanting slogans. “I asked who that young boy was and found out he was a state committee member,which was an achievement at such a young age,” Banerjee says. “Later,we met several times,and I got to know him better.”

Sudipta,who studied political science,was also a budding leader,though he appeared shy. “He would take the ribbing he faced with a smile,yet he was a motivation for thousands in a gathering; he would speak about what their roles as students should be,” says a family friend.

As a musician,friends say,he never turned down a request to sing a song. “He was always polite and because he was well-read he would back his arguments his logic and quotes from the learned,” says Partha,a close friend and fellow worker.

His father couldn’t even bring himself to attend his last rites. “I lost my wife a little over a year ago. I often burnt my fingers cooking for Sudipta,” Gupta says.

Sudipta would often return home late from meetings,he recalls,and he would wait anxiously at their home in Garia,Kolkata. “I used to tell him,‘Look at the road. No one else is there. Why do you have to do this to your old father?’ He would say nothing,just smile and go inside,” Gupta says.

“I am a retired man but a very hurt father,” he adds. “I will go to the Supreme Court for justice.”

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