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Indian independence was mere transfer of power, claimed Andhra communist

By Harsh Thakor* 
Tarimela Nagi Reddy (1917-1976) is considered one of the most outstanding personalities in the history the communist movement in India. His teachings are important for those seeking to understand what are said to be deviations in Indian Communist camp: rightist and left-adventurist. Few communists have exhibited his mastery in analysing the semi-feudal and semi-colonial nature of the Indian state and it's neo-fascist variety.
As leader of the Andhra Pradesh Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries Nagi combated the left adventurist trend of Charu Mazumdar in 1968. Critical of the “revisionist” line of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he simultaneously asserted the need for an agrarian revolution, formulating a critical document on the “left adventurist” trend.
Among his contributions, the struggle for 1,000 acres of Banjara lands in Anathapur in 1970s in 28 villages, which were in the hands of landlords for 30 years, stands out. The result was, 3,000 acres of land were distributed to peasants. The impact of his struggle was felt in Kurnool, West Godavri and East Godavri districts.
Nagi's tactical genius was at its best in confronting dominant classes in the Parvathipuram conspiracy case following his arrested. After coming out of jail in 1972 he organised struggle in Anantapur, Ongole, Guntur, Krishna, Srikakulam and East Godavri. Travelling around many a region of India, be it Punjab, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar or Uttar Pradesh, he explained the rightist politics of Jayaprakash Narayan-led movement in 1974.
Nagi opposed the movement for a separate Andhra. He attributed it to diversionary struggles of the ruling classes. At the same time, taking on the forest dwellers' cause, he undertook the task of reviving the Girijan Sanghams. A major conference of the Girijan Sangham was organised. He called on the Girijans to wage a battle for their land rights.
India mortgaged
Nagi Reddy's book ‘India Mortgaged' explores different sphere of Indian society, particularly the feudal and anti-people agrarian conditions, which has relevance today with casteism scaling at a boiling point. He claims, the Independence India attained in 1947 was merely a transfer of power. He describes the nature of groups like Tata and Birla, calling them comprador bourgeoisie.
Nafi vividly describes the oppression of the Harijan community, particularly in northern states Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab. The plight of Harijans in bastis is described by stating how they were prevented from drinking water of the higher castes or draw water from the same wells.
According to him, in the village high schools not a single student belonging to the scheduled castes was admitted. The overall rise in prices forced the Harijans to demand a better wage for which they received massive resistance from the upper caste landlords, he says.
Nagi recounts an incident of a land plot donated by the panchayat for building a village school with playground, which denied the Harijans access to their homes, with barbed wire installed around their houses. He says:
“The problem of untouchability is basically the problem of social and economic equality. Harijans are considered a necessary cog in the age-old agricultural production system meant to provide cheap labour to the land owning classes. Even after two decades of independence, the social, economic conditions of scheduled castes have not registered any marked improvement, according to an official survey recently conducted in the state.
“A number of instances have been given in the report where other classes used their economic power as one of the weapons against those depressed classes in the Villages particularly in situations when scheduled castes make attempts to assert their rights. It has taken the shape of their eviction from land, discontinuance of their employment and stopping of their remuneration as village servants.”

In great detail Nagi sums up how the land ceilings law and land reforms were not implemented and how the Indian big bourgeois-landlord government “empowered” the landlord base. Incidents in Assam and Ganganagar in Rajasthan are given to explain his point.
He highlights violation of civil rights in Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, especially touching upon the murder of innocent Naxalites in Punjab and Kerala.
He gives the example of the killing of Naxalites in encounter in Ropar, the barbaric treatment of his comrades in the jails of Bihar in Patna, Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Brah and Begusarai, the inhuman condition of Bengal jails, and the massacres carried ot by goondas in Kolkata, Barnagar, Cossipore, Tollygunj and Howrah.
Nagi counters the view of the intellectuals who hailed Nehruvian India as a liberated country, asserting, landlordism had entrapped and engulfed India. He describes how the tribals were worst exploited. There were 30 million Adivasis, of which 95% lived in rural areas, and they were engaged as agricultural labourers, inferior tenants and small peasants.
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*Freelance journalist

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