Skip to main content

Is this revolutionary bigger threat to repressive order than those waging war in Bastar?

By Harsh Thakor* 

Professor GN Saibaba is one of the best sons of our land today. It is hard to visualize a physically impaired person face and resist the iron feet of oppression with the same magnitude. The poems and the book he has written illustrate the nature and struggle against fascism.
Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, 53, was born in Amalapuram, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. He got polio at the age of five but got the first position in the district in Class X. Until 2008, he did not have a wheelchair and used to move by covering his palms with chappals and crawl. He completed his Master’s in Arts in Hyderabad and joined the Central Institute of English and Foreign Language to pursue Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English in 1991.
He was first arrested on May 9, 2014, when he was working as permanent faculty in the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, affiliated to Delhi University. Sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 for his alleged links with the banned CPI (Maoist), which he denies, his services were terminated in 2021.
His book “Why Do You Fear My Way So Much? Poems and Letters from Prison” offers insights on his jail conditions and his sorrow over the continued separation from his wife, Vasantha Kumari, as well as his profession of teaching. A letter he wrote to his fellow teachers and students shows how much he misses his classroom. The book explains the pain and punishment they both feel as they are not allowed to talk or even write letters in their mother tongue Telugu.
In the book, Vasantha recollects the humiliation and ache in the letter when Saibaba was arrested and how he was even debarred from attending the funeral of his own mother. The introduction by Vasantha gives an idea of how his ideology evolved and his burning passion as a human rights defender.
Within jail walls Saibaba seems to have created more tremors in the camp of the neo-fascist rulers than the armed squads of the CPI (Maoist). His poetry is a manifestation of the spirit of a revolutionary that towers above that of an ordinary human being. He is the voice of the oppressed people of India be it tribals, peasants, workers, intellectuals, students or minorities.
I can never forget the times I have spent with him; however short, he gave me an insight into his compassionate nature. He showed great sympathies to me when a Maoist journal ‘Peoples March’ made a wrong accusation on my credibility and had firm confidence that I was a genuine sympathiser of the revolutionary movement.
Why the state today wishes to entrap Saibaba within prison walls? No doubt he was part of an affiliate that extended sympathies or solidarity towards Maoists, but that in now way entails charges of sedition. Are democratic revolutionary activists more of a threat to the repressive social order than those waging a war in the forests of Bastar? In the history of India, considering he is handicapped, no democratic activist has been framed to such a degree, similar to the British treating Bhagat Singh for sedition.
One of the most touching occurrences in modern times has been the presence and voice of his wife Vasantha in public meetings. Rarely have women displayed more courage or displayed spirit of coal burning in a furnace as Vasantha, how most courageously relegated the personal aspect and put the confrontation with proto-fascism in the forefront.
After his arrest a series of campaigns and conventions were staged all over the nation, particularly in Delhi, Punjab and Telengana. What was heartening and positive that sections participated from many different revolutionary streams as well as the effort of several civil liberties groups in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. His arrest and subsequent protests virtually defined a turning point in Indian neo-fascism and peoples movement to confront it.

Thought of Saibaba

Saibaba is a brilliant intellectual, having mastery on Indian economics and crystallization and consolidation of neo-fascism worldwide. He asserts India is still a semi-feudal, semi-colonial society and not turned capitalist. He defends the essence of the formulation of 1947 independence by Suniti Kumar Ghosh as fake in ‘India and the Raj.’
Saibaba’s interviews talk of neo-fascist and Brahmanical nature of the pro-Hindutva state. He explains the predominance of semi-feudalism and why it is the principal contradiction. He believes in the importance of understanding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of China. He appears to support the Protracted Peoples War theory of MaoTse Tung.
Saibaba has a broad-minded approach towards the caste question and thinks it is an integral part of the revolutionary or Marxist movement. He thinks India has turned into a fascist state in the same light as China did under Chiang Kai Shek. He asserts that fascism would take a different forms in third world countries and quotes late Zhou En Lai to prove his point.
Saibaba tried to take a Communist view of the nationality question, fascist attacks on minorities, on the movements of workers and peasants, on imperialist hegemony and expansionist ambitions. In confronting Operation Greenhunt he called it fascist design of the state through patronising penetration of corporates to loot the tribals.
In 1997 Saibaba played an important part in organising the convention of the All India People’s Resistance Forum in Mumbai, alleging fake nature of Indian independence. The Forum campaigned against state repression in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar in 1999.
Rallies and hall meetings were organised in Hyderabad, West Godavri , Vishakapatnam, Bellamkonda and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh; in Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Rampura Phool and Faridkot in Punjab; and in Patna Aurangabad, Buxar and Bhagalpur, Bihar, Delhi, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It concluded with an event at Guntur, with thousands thronging the city. In sum 50 solidarity programmes were staged.
Saibaba later worked for the Revolutionary Democratic Front as a solidarity front with other organisations. He played an important role for its 1st conference in Hyderabad in April 2012. It took place in spite of grave restrictions and massive effort by the rulers to block participants to the event took place with delegates from Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.
Saibaba's moral support and guidance played a role in making the Democratic Students' Union in Delhi a force to be reckoned with. He devised new forms of programmes in Delhi University campus and Jawaharlal Nehru University to expose saffron fascism. He lit the spark for many programmes in Delhi for the release of political prisoners. In April 2013 he joined protests against the hanging of Fazal Guru and Mohammad Kasab.
Saibaba gave maximum moral support to the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi, and the Civil Liberties Committee (CLC) of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Under his tutelage, the journal ‘Jan Pratirodh’ was regularly published that sought to portray fascist repression and people’s struggles.
---
*Freelance journalist

Comments

TRENDING

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.