13 April 2014

Jyoti Basu On Swami Vivekananda

Jyoti Basu (Bengali: জ্যোতি বসু, 8 July 1914 – 17 January 2010) was an Indian Bengali politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)). He was the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000. In this article our topic is Jyoti Basu's comments on Swami Vivekananda.

Meeting with Eknath Ranade

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
In 1962–63, during Swami Vivekananda's birth-centenary years, social activist and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Eknath Ranade planned to celebrate the birth-centenary by building a memorial on the rock at Kanyakumari on which Swamiji meditated and had his "vision of one India" in 1892. This planning was the beginning of today's well-known Vivekananda Rock Memorial of Kanyakumari.

Ranade's plan brought him both appreciation and criticism. Some newspapers in Calcutta criticised this initiative and Jyoti Basu was a main opposer. Ranade went to Calcutta and met  Basu and requested him to help in his planned project. At this time, Basu reportedly told Ranade—[Source]
Somebody has misled you to my residence. The memorial for Vivekananda cannot come closer to me at any cost.
Following another essay, Jyoti Basu told him—[Source]
How dare you come to me for Vivekananda, I am a communist.
Now it is difficult to find out the exact conversation between Ranade and Basu,1 but it is a known fact that Jyoti Basu was not very much supportive towards the Vivekananda Rock Memorial building

"Jyoti Basu was an admirer of Swami Vivekananda" — Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

In January 2010, after the death of Jyoti Basu, Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, stated that Jyoti Basu was an admirer of Swami Vivekananda.

Ravi Shankar told—[Source]
Jyoti Basu had great admiration for Swami Vivekananda and he mentioned that religion and spirituality is the private affair of people. . .  . . .

He also told—[Source]
Jyoti Basu was not against spirituality, but against superstition.


  1. There might be some details in The Story of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial written by Eknath Ranade, published by Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan, but we do not have this book. You may help us by providing related information if you have a copy of this book.

This page was last updated on: 13 April 2014, 3:38 pm IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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