Kanu Sanyal

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Kanu Sanyal
Kanu Sanyal
Kanu Sanyal
Born 1932 (1932)
Died 23 March 2010(2010-03-23) (aged 77–78)
Nationality Indian
Known for Leader of CPI (ML)

Kanu Sanyal, (1932[1] – March 23, 2010),[2] was an Indian communist politician. In 1967, he was one of the main leaders of the Naxalbari uprising. He was one of the founding leaders of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI (ML)) formed in 1969.[3] He committed suicide on 23 March 2010.[4]

Formation and growth of CPI (ML)[edit]

Kanu Sanyal joined Communist politics, first as a member of CPI then CPI(M). he belonged to the harmad class of the CPI(M) and later went on to become a leader of the CPI(ML).

He announced the formation of the original CPI (ML) on Vladimir Lenin's birthday in 1969 at a public rally in Calcutta. He came out with the seminal Terai report on revolution in India, which openly denounced the anarco-nihilist policies of Charu Majumdar and his loyalists.[citation needed]

After the failure of the Naxalite uprising, Sanyal went into hiding. The death of his colleague Charu Majumdar was followed by the breakup of the Naxalite movement, and Sanyal claimed to have abandoned violent means and accepted parliamentary practice as a form of revolutionary activity.[5]


He was eventually cornered and arrested in August 1970. News of his arrest sparked of region-wide violence by the radical communists. CPI(ML) cadres destroyed property, raided and attacked educational institutions, and engaged in rioting.[6]

Jail life[edit]

For seven years Sanyal was imprisoned in a jail in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in the case known as the Parvatipuram Naxalite Conspiracy case. He was convicted in the Parvatipuram Conspiracy Case, by the Sessions Judge.

Sanyal was released from jail in 1977, following the shift of government in India as well as in West Bengal. Jyoti Basu, the new CPI(M) chief minister, personally intervened to ensure Sanyal's release.[7] By the time of his release, Sanyal had publicly condemned the original strategy of armed struggle of the CPI(ML), without building prior and proper popular mass base amongst the common people.[8]

After his release Sanyal rallied his supporters and formed the Organising Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (OCCR).[9] Kanu Sanyal was affiliated to the CPI(M) till his death. On his death, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, said that Kanu Sanyal had attended all their united Left Front meetings.

Formation of COI (ML)[edit]

In 1985 Sanyal's faction along with five other groups, merged to form the Communist Organisation of India (Marxist-Leninist). Sanyal became the leader of COI(ML).[10]

Later years[edit]

As of late 2006, Sanyal became a prominent figure in the opposition to land acquisition in Singur. On December he was detained following a manifestation.[11]

On January 18, 2006, Sanyal was arrested along with other fellow agitators who were also protesting against closures of tea gardens in the region for disrupting a Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express train at the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri, North Bengal, .[12]


On 23 Mar 2010, he was found hanging at his residence at Seftullajote village, 25 km Siliguri (West Bengal) from where Naxal Movement began under his leadership. Sanyal was suffering from old-age related cardio pulmonary ailments. At the time of his death he was the general secretary of a new CPI(ML), formed by merger of several splinter groups of the original party.[13]

Popular culture[edit]

Sanyal, as well as the Naxalite movement, was referenced in Jhumpa Lahiri's 2013 novel The Lowland.[14]


  1. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) - North Bengal & Sikkim - Naxalbari movement founder kills self". 
  2. ^ Franda, Marcus F. (1 January 1969). "India's Third Communist Party". Asian Survey. 9 (11): 797–817. doi:10.2307/2642225. JSTOR 2642225. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Top Naxal leader Kanu Sanyal commits suicide". Rediff news. March 23, 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Naxalites on Hard Times". Archived from the original on 2008-02-19. 
  7. ^ "Bengal Left Front Govt Steps Into 28th Year". 
  8. ^ The road from Naxalbari Archived 2006-10-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Naxalism today". 
  10. ^ H., Scott. "Maoist Revolutionary parties and organizations in India". 
  11. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Nation". 
  12. ^ "Kanu Sanyal arrested for ``rail roko". 18 January 2006. 
  13. ^ Saugata Roy, TNN Mar 23, 2010, 04.20pm IST (March 23, 2010). "Top Naxal leader Kanu Sanyal found dead in his house". The Times of India. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  14. ^ Anita Felicelli (9 October 2013). "'The Moment' in Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Lowland'". Los Angeles Review of Books. 

External links[edit]