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Why Utpal Dutt said Rifle is the source of all Power

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It was in the year 1967. The Farmer Revolution of Naxalbari had created waves by then, leading to a rift among various communist parties of India. Politicians who supported the villagers and farmers of Naxalbari, gradually distanced themselves from others. A similar picture was seen in the literary and cultural world too. Specially on stage. One of the leading stalwarts of this cultural movement of Bengal was Utpal Dutt, a man who almost revolutionized the stage act. He kept on putting up performances one after the other in support of the Farmer Revolution.

Dutt even organized a Drama Festival in their honour. On one such occasion stalwarts like Srijan Sen was also present on stage. As the stage was being decorated, Utpal Dutt suddenly remembered a quote of Mao Zedong and decided to put it up on stage. The quote was: “Every communist must understand one truth, that political power can be achieved at times with guns." Everyone decided this quote will be displayed behind on a black cloth, but while writing it on a poster, they felt the quote was too big and needed to be edited. As everyone started brainstorming as to what can be written instead, suddenly Utpal Dutt asked to write: "Rifle is the source of all power (রাইফেলই ক্ষমতার উৎস।)..." a quote that will turn almost viral soon.

The quote indeed carried a very strong message. Rifles are not used just by revolutionaries. They are also used by criminals. This quote however reached far and wide and believing it to be a celebrated communist quote, many took up armed revolution as the only path to salvation. The dreaded Naxal Movement of the ’60s ensued that waylaid many brilliant youths in their prime. 

What Utpal Dutt said that day turned into a sensation, almost like a cult statement to lead revolutionaries, and almost crypted an episode of turmoil in the history of Bengal.