Archive for July, 2006

Gauri Lankesh

July 31, 2006


“Saketh Rajan(alias prem) was not just a guy carrying a gun running around the forest fighting for the people. He was one of the most brilliant minds this state has ever produced”

– Gauri Lankesh(Respected Journalist,successful filmmaker,feminist and editor of Lankesh Patrika- Karnataka’s most popular kannada magazine. )

Comrade Saketh Rajan
Did you know that Comrade Saketh Rajan was not only the
state secretary of the CPI(Maoist) in Karnataka ,but was also
an award winning photographer !

That he had three post-graduate degrees !

That when he secured the first rank in his course and was to receive the award and certificate from the Minister Vidya Charan Shukla. He proceeded to the dais. But, without receiving the certificate from the Minister, nor even shaking hands with him, he had walked off the dais, as a show of his anger against the establishment

Read more about Karnataka’s Immortal Son of the Soil
– Comrade Saketh Rajan below


We remember Comrade Saketh Rajan thus we make him Immortal


How Comrade Saketh Rajan was killed in Treachery

I am proud of you my Son ! – Interview with Comrade Saketh Rajan’s mother

Comrade Saketh Rajan’s dedication to his wife Comrade Raji

July 31, 2006

Given below is the preface of Volume II of Comrade Saketh Rajan’s
path breaking study into the History of Karnataka.
He dedicates it to his martyred wife Comrade Raji.

Preface

In the preface to Volume I of Making history , it was said that
this book had more than just one author.

As Volume II prepares for print I am compelled to tell about one
such author who remained anonymous.

Such a revelation should have been a matter of joy. But the circumstances
brim with emotions of an opposite kind.

Com Raji in the Nagar fort

Raji,as she was known to those who were close to her,was killed
by police on 20 March 2001 in the forest of Kothapalli in Vishakapatnam
district of Andhra Pradesh.

She was captured that afternoon by a 20 member detachment of the Special
Task Force, tortured for more than four hours and finally shot from the
back of her head.

There were two children who saw all of this from behind a bush.
They were dumbfounded by the barbarity.They could not eat for the
next three days.But when they finally spoke, they said one thing of her.

It was remarkable.She had stood her ground.As she was
mauled ,this soft spoken woman in her forties was outrageously defiant.
She hailed the revolution from her dying lips.


Raji had passed her test as a revolutionary in flying red.
She defied her assasins to live
beyond them.

The volumes of Making History are indebted to this coffee
complexioned and short statured,yet,abundantly tall and graceful heroine of the oppressed.

Raji has her modest place in the writing as well as in the making of history.
She was the first to lend her patient ear to the pages of the first and second volumes.

As the parts were written out ,she would hear them read.It did not matter to her if
it was late on a wintry nigh. Or, if it was in the epicentre of a sultry
summer’s afternoon.She would have her senses glued,Then she would make her observations.

Raise questions or pose her points.That way she left her imprint on these pages.
Noiselessly and unadvertised.

The production of Volume I owes a lot to her.
Ugh! DRab office work.This is how many
would dismiss it.But she was perennially enthusiastic.
She set the pages on the computer

She doctored the viral infections and tailored the illustrations
to precision. As the book rolled out of the press and the jacket neatly
tucked in its glistening sleeves.
Raji had graduated as a DTP beautician.

Volume II had caught her imagination. The armed struggle waged by
the people of Karnataka in the early decades of the nineteenth century
were a point she would often have me ponder about.We could not resist the contagion.We decided to relive these precious moments from
our popular past.We caught the bus to Nagar. There we saw what
was left of the famous fortress that served as a flash point for the historic Nagar peasent insurgency.

A few months later we squeezed some time for Nandagad.We spoke to
the people about Sangolli Rayanna.As we talked with the toilers,
they gave us accounts, pointed about his
escapades,guided us around and treated us to food in their huts.

Raji spotted the smouldering fire that burnt in their hearts.

I asked her if Rayanna kindled something deep inside them.
She blew away decades of ash
with her warm breath.Then, pointing to the red glow of the embers,
she said that new generations of those very same masses
were stirring to re-enact them across the
forests and plains of Nandagad and Nagar.

As I shook hands with her in January 2001, it was the last I saw of her.
She was in olive green her rucksack was firmly strapped onto her back.In
it she had empty tapes,empty notebooks and unexposed film.
She carried no firearm.She was a non-combatant.

Comrade Rajeshwari held out her clenched fist in farewell.

There are two facts about the past and future of Indian
history which the Kannada and Telgu nations share among them.
To unravel best the prospect
of the burgeois democratic revolution,one has to venture into
Karnataka’s past.

In the period of Haider and Tipu and in their kingdom of Mysore,
the Indian high road to the old democratic revolution has been laid.
One could already catch a glimpse of the maturation of conditions,
of an imminent storm against the system of
feudalism.

Later in Nagar and around Nandagad the masses stormed those very
gates of heaven.They illustrated through popular war against
feudalism and colonialism that they desired democracy and liberation.
These were simmering embers that Raji had deftly picked up
and placed in the first and second volumes of Making History.

But she aimed for more.She desired to relive the past only so as to enact
the future.She desired that it was not enough just to see the prospect of the burgeois democractic revolution.Her intellect was not insipid.
She wanted to see and share the living
popular experience of the proletarian democratic revolution.

If Karnataka’s past demonstrated the possibility of the old
democratic revolution,the people’s war raging in Andhra Pradesh
brilliantly lit up the prospect of the new democratic revolution.

Raji had seen the past.She wanted to see the future.She chose to visit
the villages of Andhra Pradesh were new democratic people’s power was being forged.She wanted to study it,record it and broadcast its prowess among
the masses of Karnataka.

She interviewed scores of people.She recorded revolutionary songs.
She made copious notes of what she had read and heard.She took photographs of the oppressed adivasis and of their hope the young guerilla fighters in green.

On March 20 , she sat beneath a tree. She was pouring over her diaries.Shots
rang out.She hid in the thicked.But they got their filthy hands on her.Then
it was short work.Bullets burnt through her brains.Blood was on her cheek.It
oozed from her mouth.She could not rise to protect her notebooks.Raji rested on the
forest floor like a carefree child.Her curls were disheveled.They would remain
unkempt forever.

Today she is in deep sleep.

Volume II of Making History is dedicated to her.But as this volume is read , the sleeping Rajeshwari will awaken her readers.In her we catch a glimpse of the
glorious past.But not just that .She comprehensively epitomizes the future
too.As the revolution rages across our land,the fascist rulers and their state will discover more and more than the memories of the dead are not as easily erased from the hearts and minds of the living.
That is what history – the history of class struggle,is also about.

Raji learned this lesson well.She reminds us of it always,only because she
generously gave away the one most precious thing she had when
it was asked of her- her pulsating life- for the cause of the oppressed.

Saki

1 November 2002

Note- Saki was comrade Saketh Rajan’s pen name.
The image at the beginging of this post is the original picture
of Comrade Raji that appeared in the book.The scan has affected
the image quality.

Making History – By Saketh Rajan

July 31, 2006

Front Cover of Making History – Volume II by Saki

Based on a wide range of primary and secondary sources this book makes
an analytical narrative of the development of Karnataka history
from the time of British conquest of Karnatka in 1799 till the War
of Independence in 1857.

Contrary to biased history writing,it makes a comprehensive
and objective presentation of the people’s history of
Karnataka,adopting the mathodology of Historical Materialism.

Back Cover of Making History – Volume II by Saki

Comrade Saketh Rajan – Author of the path breaking book

Sold Out

Comrades a few months back I came to know that
Comrade Saketh Rajan’s books have been SOLD OUT !
Both volume 1 and 2 have gone out of stock !

To check if that was true,I made the round of several bookstores
based in bangalore like Sapna’s , Gangarams and other smaller bookstores
and all of them revealed that they had gone out of stock.

This path breaking book written by Comrade Saketh Rajan is now
being taught in Universities in Karnataka !

As his books are devoured by readers young and old
throughout the world, a thousand Saketh Rajan’s are all set to bloom.

Ripping up the rulebook

July 31, 2006

Ripping up the rulebook

Bilateral and unilateral deals are the new avatars of ‘free trade’ and guarantors of corporate rule.
July 27, 2006 09:45 AM

The Doha-round negotiations collapsed once again at the mini-ministerial in Geneva on July 23 2006. Martin Khor of Third World Network reports from Geneva that when asked whether the Doha round was dead or in intensive care, Kamal Nath, India’s commerce minister, said it was somewhere between intensive care in hospital and the crematorium.

Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner told the press after the suspension of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations: “We have missed the last exit on the motorway.”

The US, by refusing to reduce its agricultural subsidies, is being identified by all as being responsible for the collapse of talks. The US and its corporations were the driving force behind the two agreements of the Uruguay round that have had the biggest impact on the poor of the developing world. The Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) agreement has increased the cost of seeds and medicine by promoting monopolies.

Thousands of Indian farmers have committed suicide because of debts resulting from a new dependence on costly yet unreliable hybrids sold by Monsanto and its Indian partners.
And the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) has destroyed the agricultural livelihoods of millions of peasants and the food security of the world’s poor.

The willingness of the US to allow the Doha-round negotiations to grind to a halt by showing inflexibility in offering to reduce distorting farm subsidies in exchange for increased market access is not because agricultural market access is no longer of interest to the US.

The US does not have to give up anything multilaterally because it is getting market access bilaterally, often with “non-agreements” such as the US-India Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture, which is promoting GMOs, agricultural imports and the entry of Wal-Mart into Indian retail. Monsanto, Wal-Mart and ADM are on the board of the US-India initiative.

US aid is interfering directly in India’s GM policies, and has financed the push to commercialise Bt Brinjal, which would be the first GM food crop approved for large-scale commercial trials and seed production in India.

While India’s bio-safety assessment framework has no reference to the unscientific “substantial equivalence” principle (a principle promoted in the US to avoid looking for the unique biological impacts of GM foods), the “substantial equivalence” is the basis of Bt Brinjal data submitted by Monsanto-Mahyco to the genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC), the statutory body for granting approvals for GMOs. The virus of bio-safety deregulation is thus being subtly introduced into India. GMOs are spreading bilaterally without the WTO, which had to be used against Europe in the US-EU GMO dispute.

The US biotech agenda is also being internalised into India’s agricultural policy. The Planning Commission, India’s highest planning body, headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, is appointing a non-resident, the US-based Dr Deshpal Verma, professor of genetics and biotechnology at Ohio, to head a cell to promote GMOs in agriculture and increase the role of global corporations such as Monsanto in the farm sector. Bilateral deals are thus mutating into unilateral policies in a process referred to as “autonomous liberalisation.”

US agribusinesses such as Cargill and ADM no longer need the WTO’s market access rules to capture India’s markets. As part of the Bush-Singh agreement, India has been influenced to import wheat, even though there was enough wheat produced in India. Domestic markets, too, have been captured by multinationals such as Cargill, Canagra, Lever and ITC.

India’s food security is being systematically dismantled. Food prices have increased dramatically, and with them, hunger and malnutrition. While being presented as an economic power and the new poster child of globalisation, India now is the home to a third of the world’s malnourished children. And the problem of hunger will grow as peasants are pushed off the land and food prices increase.

Meanwhile, corporations such as Wal-Mart are trying to grab India’s retail market, an informal sector employing more than 200 million people. Wal-Mart is trying to find a way to capture this large market, and has succeeded in getting foreign direct investment (FDI) pushed through in retail. It is also trying to partner up with Reliance Industry Ltd (RIL), which is planning to build new superstores in 784 Indian towns and 1,600 farm supply hubs, and to move the produce with a 40-plane air cargo fleet.

The Reliance group has also become the largest land-grabber in India, using governments to forcibly acquire hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland at a thousandth of the market price. These are the subsidies Wal-Mart is seeking through partnerships. And Walmart does not need a Gats service agreement to take over retail services in India: bilateral and unilateral policies are opening up India’s markets for Wal-Mart.

So, the WTO may be on life support, but “free trade” is alive and kicking. Bilateral and unilateral initiatives are the new avatars of globalisation and free trade. And it is these avatars we must challenge if we are to stop corporate rule, while the WTO hovers between intensive care and the crematorium.

Link

Munltinational Biotech Companies in Chattisgarh go on looting spree

July 31, 2006

“Jatropha Bio-Piracy” : Appeal from Chhattisgarh Jaiv Suraksha Manch

Chhattisgarh has again been attacked by a multinational company. You must be remembering two years back Syngenta an Swiss MNC tried to snatch the germplasm of twenty thousand rice varieties of Chhattisgarh.
These were the varieties collected by Dr.R H Richharia during his work at MP Rice Research Institute. Those varieties are kept with Indira Gandhi Agriculture University, Raipur. Luckily the information leaked out before finalization of the deal.

The people of Chhattisgarh resisted strongly against the back door entry of the MNC and expressed their mandate in favor of community rights on all the bio-resources and related knowledge of the Chhattisgarh . The university and state government should have taken lesson, but it is evident that neither of them took the feelings of People of Chhattisgarh seriously.


This time germplasm of 18 local varieties of Jatropha have been stolen. These varieties are considered to have high oil content and disease and drought resistance qualities.
High quality Pendra variety has also been stolen. (Many variants of Jatropha are wildly found in some forests of Chhattisgarh. The variety found in Pendra area of Chhattisgarh is considered to be of high quality.) A multinational company known as D-one has received the germplasm and said to have cultivated it in a form house near Raipur taken on lease by the MNC.


One interesting thing is that in both the cases of bio-piracy (The syngenta and the D-One) the medium for the robbery has been IGKVV. The IGKVV has failed to protect the bio-resources of Chhattisgarh to which it is presumed to be custodian.

According to news paper report (Dainik Bhaskar, 17th Jan.06) the university had appointed an investigation team to find out the details of the case. The team led by Dr.ARRS Shastri found Dr. Sunil Puri of IGKVV guilty and the university charge sheeted Dr.Puri for the same.

Meanwhile Dr.Puri has joined the same MNC establishment in Coimbatore. Surprisingly te university administration tried its best to hide the issue from the eyes of the public. The university’s attitude was of a criminal negligence. Such negligence to the public property by a public sector institution is very serious.

The issue has again opened the issue of concern of the people of Chhattigarh about the security of their bio-resources kept in the custody of the IGKVV and other centralized structures. The university has been hiding the information on seeds of Chhattisgarh from public in the name of official secrecy but it is leaking the information and the germplasm to MNCs time and again.

Apart from breach of trust to the nation this is also violation of the rights of the people of Chhattisgarh. We fear that the greatest threat to the bio-resources of Chhattisgarh is from the IGKVV and such other structures which have centralized control on the bio-resources.

We would like to remind the concept of decentralized research, extension and germplasm accessions given by Dr.RH Richharia to tackle such act of both theft and subsequent negligence. The role of the university in stopping the information about the farmer’s seed to come in public domain has always been under suspicion and can be easily related to such acts of bio-piracy. The university has kept Dr.Richharia’s work “Encyclopedia of Rice” unpublished. The university is yet to answer these questions to the public.

The negligence of the serious issues at university and State government level can also be viewed in the matter that the report of the Bagai Committee commissioned to investigate the Syngenta deal, has yet not been made public after almost three years of the incidence.

We appeal all friends to protest against such criminal act and demand for an enquiry and action against the guilty persons and the MNCs.

We demand

· Criminal case be filed against the MNC and the scientist involved.

· The Bagai committee report on Syngenta issue investigation be made public.

· Dr. Richharia’s work “Encyclopedia of Rice” be published and bring the information on bio-resources under control of the university in public domain.

Rest of the Article

Dylan Thomas

July 29, 2006

Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage, against the fading of the light.
– Dylan Thomas

P Rajan – A Naxalite Sympathiser devoured by Khaki Rakshashas

July 29, 2006

To commomerate” Martyrs week ” this blog will carry profiles and the struggles of our comrades and sympathizers for the whole of this week.

P.Rajan – Tale of a naxalite sympathiser who was devoured by Khaki Rakshashas.(Demonic Police Forces)

Rajan was a student of REC Calicut during the emergency period. In the 1970’s the Naxalite movement had become very strong in north kerala. Almost any idealistic, young man/woman in those days were attracted to that ideology.

College hostels were probably full of sympathizers to the “cause”. It is generally accepted that Rajan was not in the movement but likely was a sympathizer but so were thousands of others. However, what allegedly bought him to the attention of police was a play which he acted/directed (i am not sure about the specifics) during a college festival which made fun of a minister in the kerala cabinet.

After he was tortured, murdered and burned (allegedly) in the kakkyam police camp, the government and the police steadfastly maintained that he was never even taken into custody.

Prof Eachara Warrior, Rajan’s father, could not even approach the courts during emergency as “habeus corpus” was suspended. After emergency was lifted, he filed a case against the government which ultimately led to a judgement by the high court against the government. karunakaran who was the home minister at the time of the murder (and chief minister when the judgement came out) had to resign.

Jayaram Padikkal IPS,the man in charge of the camp and Pulikkodan Narayanan, the SI who tortured and killed Rajan were prosecuted but never rally paid for their crimes. Rajan’s mother, who was mentally ill, was never told about his murder. She lived for more than 25 years in the fond hope that her only son will one day return.

Even today, exactly what happened to Rajan is a mystery. Was he burned with sugar (to ensure that not even burns will be left behind) or dumped in a dam? Will the perpetrators ever confess? I hope some one will tell the true story like the retired constable who confessed to the killing of Vargheese so that the old man will gain some peace of mind in the twilight of his life.

I once had the privilege of hearing Prof Eachara Warrior speak about his experience. A humble man, he spoke simply but movingly about his futile attempts to get his boy back. As he spoke, I tried to imagine his sufferings but failed miserably. He has written a small book on his experience.

The incident should remind us of the excesses that a supremely powerful government can commit if the “checks and balances” are removed. During emergency, trains ran on time, governent service was efficient, civil servants were afraid to strike but personal liberty, “due proces” and fundamental human rights were trampled upon. In the quest for achieving the former nobody should have to give up the latter.

Link

Comrades even as we remember P.Rajan’s sacrifice there are many more Rajans being
devoured under the protection of the draconianChattishgarh Public Security Actby the CRPF Rakshashas in Chattishgarh.
They even have a name for it and it’s called “Salwa Judum”.

And Greyhound Rakshashas are devouring young and old naxalite sympathisers
in Andhra Pradesh.

Nothing much has changed in all these years since the emergencies.
Naxalite sympathisers still continue to disappear at night and
mysteriously reappear in jungles where the Rakshashas claim
an encounter killing.

Generation now is all so excited about RTI (Right to information) Act.
They spend their faltu time sending SMS’s exhorting and encouraging the
use of RTI to news channels.

I was wondering , that if I decided to file a RTI petition tommorow
will they inform us about the truth of what happened to 10,000 of our comrades(majority of them non-combatants) and how they were really
killed and why they disappeared,in the last 40 years ?

If it cannot
then the RTI is useless to me.

Related Links

Piravi(The Birth) a movie based on this incident

Memoirs of a father – A book written by Rajan’s father Eachara Warrier- Download Now

Book Review – An Iron Harvest

Memories Of a Father – Professor T V Eachara Varier. Download in PDF format

July 29, 2006

Book Cover – P.Rajan as a child


Memories Of a Father

Which is denser-the pain of the son
at the death of his father or the pain
of the father at the death of his son?

From the tears of a father’s pen comes an eloquent, moving and
remarkable statement on cruelty, courage, and enduring hope.
Professor Eachara Varier describes his desperate and ultimately
unsuccessful attempts to get his son out of a police camp where he is
taken one morning for no reason. The camp is a place where the
rules of life and death are very different to the rest of the world. It is
a place where a few officers have absolute power to decide who to
arrest, how to arrest them, how to torture them, when to kill them,
and how to dispose of their dead bodies. Above them are the senior
police officers, politicians and bureaucrats who must hide the truth
from the families of victims and wider society. And then there is the
father who struggles against them all…

Download the book below in PDF format

Right click on the link below and give” save link as “

http://www.ahrchk.net/pub/pdf/mof.pdf


Extract from the book
(Chapter : The Burden that the mother entrusted)

“She was not aware of Rajan’s tragedy. Whenever I came to Ernakulam from Calicut she used to ask for Rajan. I told her lie after lie. It made her uncomfortable. She started loosing faith in me, and behaving oddly with her loved ones.

Rajan’s continued absence troubled her, and I had to suffer as a result. She expected Rajan to be with me whenever I came from Calicut, and anxiously awaited him. When she knew that Rajan was not with me color of disappointment would spread over her face. The depth and darkness of distress on her face went on increasing. She stopped talking to others, and went into a world of silence. Sometimes she accused me of not loving Rajan. She confided to relatives and friends that this was the reason I was not bringing Rajan along when I came. She murmured in secret that I never loved her or Rajan.

Meanwhile, many of Rajan’s friends got married. One day when I reached Ernakulam she asked me, “All of Rajan’s friends have got married. Are you not a father too? Are you not worried that he is yet to get married? “Oh, our son is dead,” I felt like telling her then. The sentence got choked in my throat. At that moment I felt vengeance against her and the world. Regaining the balance of my thoughts, I would say, “I am trying to find a suitable girl for Rajan. But it’s not that easy, you know ?” Her response used to be a lone empty stare of disbelief.

On March 3, 2000, Rajan’s mother left me forever. A week earlier I had been to see her. As I bid farewell, she held my hands, still lying on the bed. There was a painful request in her eyes, “Will you bring Rajan along when you come next time?”” I couldn’t look at her face. The guilt of telling her lie after lie had haunted me for years. Five days later I went to her again. Death was playing hide and seek somewhere near her, but she remembered everything.
She called me, “Will you do one thing for me?”
“Sure,” I answered.
She gave a small packet of coins to me. Those were the coins she saved in that box. “

Eachara Warrier


He died in the month of April this year at the age of 85.

Related Links
A tribute to Eachara Warrier

Miles to go


Piravi(The Birth) a movie based on this incident

P. Rajan – A Naxalite sympathizer devoured by Khaki Rakshashas

Piravi (The Birth) (1988) – Review

July 29, 2006

The movie is inspired by the ‘Rajan Case’ that occurred in Kerala during the time of the emergency in 1978. The Chief Minister of the State attended a college function where a boy sang a song against him. The boy was caught by the police, brutally tortured in the police station where he died.

Piravi (The Birth) (1988)
is an award-winning feature film directed by Shaji N. Karun. The film is in Malayalam. It stars Premji, Archana and Lakshmi Krishnamurthy. The film’s music is composed by G. Aravindan. Piravi met with widespread critical acclaim upon release. The film was screened and very well received at many film festivals across the world. It won the Golden Lotus Award for Best Film at the National Film Awards in 1989.

Links

Piravi on Wikipedia

Piravi on IMDB

Comrades I do not have the movie right now
but I will try and get it soon and if possible.
I will host it online.

Emiliano Zapata

July 28, 2006

It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
Emiliano Zapata