Residents of Hindustan Park mourn Jyoti Basu’s demise


Kolkata : Hindustan Park is in mourning! Oldtimers in the posh South Kolkata locality remember Jyoti Basu as a good longtime neighbour and a perfect gentleman.

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For over 66 years since 1920, communist patriarch Jyoti Basu’s address was 55A, Hindustan Park — a four-storeyed simple house bought by his father Nishikanta, a doctor.

“He was overall a good-natured human being,” recalled Partha Ghosh of Keyatala, who was the former West Bengal chief minister’s neighbour in Hindustan Park.

“Basu was always a perfect gentleman. We never saw him interfering in any local affairs.”

The house is witness to Basu’s formative years when he grew up with his parents, siblings, uncles and cousins, his youth, marriage, a life of struggle as a communist leader and the early part of his record 23-year stint as chief minister from 1977.

Talking about the good old days when Basu lived in the house with his wife Kamal and only son Chandan, Ghosh said: “We saw him busy with his administrative and political matters.”

Basu shifted to the Raj Bhavan (Governor’s House) in 1986 after being advised by his physician to avoid stairs. Three years later, he moved to his present residence at Salt Lake’s Indira Bhavan.

“I can easily remember those days when Basu along with his family stayed here at Hindustan Park. I often saw him sitting in the balcony or hurriedly coming out of the house to go for some work. Then he owned a Fiat car,” said Bhaskar Sarkar, one of Basu’s former neighbours.

“We are feeling extremely sad to hear the news of Basu’s demise.”

Sarkar said Basu never participated in any social occasion organised by his neighbours but his son, Chandan, did take part in the community Durga Puja of the locality. Chandan was still in touch with some of his former friends.

“When I was a school student I used to steal pomelo (a big citrus fruit with a diameter of 10-25 cm and a thick spongy rind) from their garden.

“We really didn’t have any idea about Basu’s status then. But he never scolded us for our pranks. He was very good and a tolerant neighbour. He never disturbed anybody in the locality by misusing his celebrity status,” another former neighbour of Basu said declining to give his name.