Saroj Dutta

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Saroj Dutta
সরোজ দত্ত
Kolkata Saroj Dutta statue.jpg
Personal details
Born 13 March 1914
Jessore, East Bengal
Died 5 August 1971 (aged 57)
South Calcutta, West Bengal
Nationality Indian
Political party

Communist Party of India Communist Party of India (Marxist),

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
Spouse(s) Bela Dutta
Alma mater

University of Calcutta

Scottish Church College
Profession Politician, Poet, Journalist
Bust of Saroj Dutta at Esplanade, Kolkata.

Saroj Dutta (March 13, 1914 – August 5, 1971) (Comrade SD) was an Indian communist intellectual and poet, active in the extremist Naxalite movement in West Bengal in the 1960s. He also remained editor-in-chief of the Amrita Bazar Patrika during the 1940s.[1]

It is commonly thought that He was killed in a police encounter on August 5, 1971 but till now he was missing in police and state records[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in a land-owning family in Jessore in East Bengal, now in Bangladesh, on 13 March 1914. He studied at the Victoria Collegiate School in Narail, and later graduated from the Scottish Church College in Calcutta in 1936. He subsequently earned his MA In English Literature 1938 from the University of Calcutta.[4]


Dutta joined the Amrit Bazar Patrika in early 1940s, after completing his studies, however he was fired in 1949 for joining violent activities as a member of the Communist Party of India. In 1962, after the Sino-Indian War he was briefly arrested for having pro-China (Maoist) sympathies. In 1964 he joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI(M), and was an editor of their paper, Swadhinata, along with Sushital Ray Chowdhary. He was among the many radicals who were disillusioned when the CPI(M) decided to join electoral politics in the runup to the 1967 elections.[5]

Attracted to a more radical form of revolutionary Marxism, he along with Sushital Ray Chowdhury and some other Calcutta intellectuals, supported the Charu Majumdar-led Naxalbari uprising in May 1967. In April 1969, he was also one of the founder members of Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), CPI (ML), an organization which was outlawed a year later[6] for conducting armed guerrilla warfare targeted at the landlords and the police.

Saroj Datta, along with Charu Majumdar, became one of the most wanted men in Bengal.


Police Arrested Dutta from his friend Debiprasad Chattapadhyaya's home on the night of August 4–5, 1971. It is stated that he was killed by the Kolkata Police on the Aryan Club grounds in the Maidan (Kolkata) that very morning.[7] It is also said that the movie star Uttam Kumar witnessed the shooting while on a morning walk, but talked about it much later when drunk; this is the storyline of the 1994 Bengali-language movie Sopan.[3][8] Bengali writer Dibyandu Palit also potreyed the incedent in his novel 'Sahajoddha'.

In 1977, after the CPI(M) returned to power with a Left-front majority, ten thousand intellectuals[9] signed on a petition seeking an investigation of Saroj Dutta's death. The petition was given to the chief minister Jyoti Basu. However, no investigation has ever been held.[10]

His comrade, Charu Majumdar was killed in police custody a year later.[2]


  1. ^ Prakash Singh (2006). The Naxalite Movement in India. Rupa Publications. ISBN 8171672949. Appendix B
  2. ^ a b Shamanth Rao (March 10, 2011). "The remains of Naxalbari". Livemint. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b Suniti Kumar Ghosh (1993). The Historic Turning-point: A Liberation Anthology. S.K. Ghosh. p. 135. 
  4. ^ Tribute to Saroj Dutta
  5. ^ Atul Kohli (1998). "From breakdown to order: West Bengal". In Partha Chatterjee. State and politics in India. OUP India. p. 348. ISBN 0195647653.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "History of Naxalism". Hindustan Times. PTI. December 15, 2005. 
  7. ^ "Countering the Maoists". DNA. India. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  8. ^ "Sopan – Wiki". Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  9. ^ "Come, let us take the country along a new road!". Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  10. ^ "Frontier articles on Society & Politics". Retrieved 2014-02-24.