All that remains in the mud hut now is a table, an almirah containing books, a discarded television set and a photo of Bhagat Singh. This is the hut where Kanu Sanyal, a prominent leader associated with the Naxalbari uprising, spent the last years of his life. The hut in Sebdella Jote, under the Hatighisa Gram Panchayat (GP) in Naxalbari near Siliguri, had remained neglected after Sanyal’s death in 2010. Following his release from Alipore Jail in Kolkata in August 1979, Sanyal spent the last 31 years of his life here. Over the past few years, the mud hut has been functioning as the Kanu Sanyal Memorial Trust Bhavan, and now, plans are afoot to build a library in front of the hut to preserve the memories of the Naxal leader.
The hut is also the office of the CPI (ML) Founder General Secretary Kanu Sanyal, a political outfit.
The Trust, which has nine members, believes it is important to educate the rural children and inculcate reading habits in them.
“Kanu Sanyal was very fond of children and sports. The Trust realised it would be a proper way to pay him respect through a library built here by keeping the children in mind. Accordingly, the process has been initiated,” said a member of the Trust and a close aide of Sanyal, Dipu Halder.
Ms Halder said the library would come up on around 20 katthas of land. “The library will be made of bamboo and tin roof, but the floor will be concrete. The Trust also has plans to build three rooms as many visitors from different places come and want to know about Kanu Sanyal, while many people, including scholars, also visit here but they are unable to stay here because of lack of arrangements.
Accordingly, we have decided to arrange for some rooms along with the library where these people can stay. We will raise funds for the purpose,” she added.
According to the representatives of the Trust, it has three main purposes-to spread Kanu Sanyal’s philosophy and writings and provide primary education to needy children in the locality.
“He remained committed to provide basic education to the poor children of the area. He kept stressing on it all through his battle-scarred life. The Trust will hold cultural activities. This is imperative at a time when values of self-effacement for a greater cause are being affected under the impact of consumerist hedonism,” Ms Halder said.
There is one government-run library at the Hatighisa GP, which has a population of around 22,000. The local people said the new library would be beneficial for them.
“There has been hardly any development at Sebdalla Jote, and we are used to with the tall claims of politicians, but nothing has been done. If a library comes up it will also create an interest among the children and they will be education-oriented,” said a local resident and a tea worker, Bhadri Munda.
Meanwhile, the Trust is trying to preserve books read by Sanyal, letters he received and wrote, documents, papers, and other materials used by him.