He specialised in criminology and went on to join the IPS. As a police officer in West Bengal and then as CBI additional director general,he developed an interest in politics and found his idol in Mamata Banerjee. Today,he is her candidate for Bagda constituency.
Dr Upen Biswas,70,Buddhist by faith,joined the Trinamool Congress last year. Once a professor of sociology with specialisation in criminology,he has researched subjects since,such as political violence,land rights and the underprivileged: people of backward classes and labourers. He has been awarded an Asiatic Society gold medal for his contribution to cultural anthropology.
One of my main objectives in joining politics is having a commission on each and every state-sponsored massacre in West Bengal in the 34 years of Left rule, says Biswas,who had been once snubbed by the government.
He keeps an empty urn in his house and calls it the Marichjhapi Urn,a reminder of what in his opinion is the worst ever mass killing in West Bengal (in 1979; see box). I believe nothing can be more cruel than a government killing its people so brutally. If I make it,I will start probing all massacres, he says.
In 1979,he started taking a public opinion poll on the incident. He still maintains a blog on Marichjhapi.
About his tenure as an IPS officer of the Bengal cadre,he says,I was secretary of the IPS association and wanted honest officers in key government posts. We proposed a few names and then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu initially agreed. But when the list came out,we saw that CPM-backed officers were given key posts,most of them were dishonest. I resigned as secretary… I was humiliated by the government several times for not being Basus yes man.
He says Mamata stood by him at all times,including when he received threats over various probes. He has been interacting with her since 1984. During my tenure in Vigilance and in the CBI anti-corruption wing,I got a clear picture of her. I never got a complaint questing her integrity as a politician, says Biswas.
The land movement has been yet another meeting point between me and Mamata Banerjee. She has given it a new dimension.