Marxist Jyoti Basu had a bourgeois lifestyle: Dalai Lama


Panaji : Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama stole a march on Indian Marxists Monday when he said that veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu himself led a bourgeois lifestyle.

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In a question and answer session following his lecture in Panaji, the Dalai Lama first “confessed” that he too was a Marxist as far as socio-economic theory was concerned.

Commenting on former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, the Dalai Lama said: “Jyoti Basu, I knew him. His own lifestyle was more bourgeois”.

Basu, arguably one of the most well known Marxists ideologues in India, was chief minister for over two decades. He was known for his love for the good things in life. He died in January last year.

The Dalai Lama was in Goa to deliver a lecture as part of a state government sponsored lecture series, when he was asked to give his take on Marxism, especially in the Indian context.

“As far as socio economic theory is concerned, I am Marxist,” said the Dalai Lama, who has for decades been the face of the struggle for independence of Tibet from the clutches of a very communist China.

“The early Chinese Communist Party members were really working for the needy people. I was very much attracted to the internationalism (of Marxism). I wanted to join the Chinese Communist party,” he said, recalling his early visits to Beijing in the 50s, when he had visited the Chinese capital to study Marxism and socialism.

“But today the Chinese Communist Party is without Communist ideology. It is today Capitalist communism,” he quipped.

The Tibetan leader also said that the spirit of Marxism died in China after the Chinese communist party started silencing its critics.