Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Pulluvazhy, my native village is very close to Allapra, the village I am residing now. Once in a month I visit Pulluvazhy to meet my mother. After partition, I moved to Allapra, purchased a plot, built a house and started living with my family. My younger brother was allotted the ancestral house at Pulluvazhy. Mother chose to live with my younger brother and family as she was reluctant to shift residence which was her abode for a long period.

My younger brother and his wife, both employed, will move to their working places and children to their schools in the morning, leaving my mother alone. She spends her time reading ‘puranas’ (ancient scriptures) or watching television.

The shortcut to my village was a tarred, pot-holed road. While moving through the path my mind gets flooded with memories of the early days when there was no tarred road to reach the main road which snaked through south to the north in front of my ancestral house. To both sides of shortcut were thick growth of trees and bushes in my childhood days. Flowers of various hues stuck their heads out to the path as if to draw attention of the passers-by. Young children got scary to move down the path fearing ‘Yakshis’ (witches) and demons. Their grown-ups didn’t even permit them also, fearing harm to their children.

The whole scenario underwent changes down the years. Along-with the wide tarred road, palatial houses came up along each side of the path in the place of 'jungles’. Huge inflow of gulf-money by members of different families helped bring about a face-lift to Pulluvazhy.

Pulluvazhy was once renowned for its Communist ideals and its revolutionary zeal and fervour. Pulluvazhy Communism and its founding leaders assumed epic dimensions for years, far and wide. Enthusiasts from faraway corners of Kerala came over to Pulluvazhy traversing difficult paths to study more about Pulluvazhy communism and its fire-brand leaders. Long before I was born, the famous (or infamous?) Calcutta Thesis propounded by Comrade B.T.Renadive, one of the shining leaders of Communist Party heralding the arrival of ‘Spring Thunder’ mistaking the ground realities came into force. Heeding to the calls of the leaders to his ‘Thesis’ the workers turned violent, attacked police stations, killed police personnel and snatched their weapons. It was a bloody violence. But the government banned the Party and put the followers in jails, tortured them mercilessly, many even got killed as an aftermath and unable to withstand police brutalities the ‘Thesis’ was withdrawn and Com. Renadive demoted to the Area committee of the Party as punishment for his failed inopportune Thesis.

In my early days, there were occasions when the Party was witness to leaders mobilising the workers especially those in the lower strata of society forming lengthy processions reminding me of a train, marching to the nearby town of Perumbavoor. Each one holding red flag and those in the vanguard shouting slogans to the accompaniment of drums blowing bugles, chanting slogans like Communist Party zindabad, Inquilab Zindabad, Com.P.Krishna Pillai zindabad. Those were the good old days for the oppressed lot at least to dream about a better, prosperous tomorrow. With the passing of years all dreams of the poor, those who gave their sweat and tears for the Party got disillusioned and withdrew into their shells and the leaders moved in search of greener pastures, amassed wealth and led lavish lives. Those who came to visit Pulluvazhy to learn more about Pulluvazhy Communism wrote the epitah of the Party and its monumental blunder, returned down cast.

“Amma, nowadays Communist Party has turned into a virtual non-entity now? Am I right?”

My mother gave me a wide smile.

“Now, most Pulluvazhy comrades and leaders are in hot pursuit of spiritualism, son. Isn’t it in some way good?” Amma who is in her pursuit of spiritualism is a totally satisfied and a happy woman now.

Will Pulluvazhy return to the days when the red embers of revolution glowed, again? After all it is an hypothetical question.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Indian political scene is replete with many political players. Hence there are no dearth for political developments. They happen day by day - one fades into the background, another occupies its place and such happenings go on and on and on. Today it may be Mayawati-Rita Bahuguna Joshi spat or frisking of APJ Abdul Kalam or something international like Hillary visit or Dr.ManMohanSingh at Sharm-el-Sheikh and the End-Use Monitoring Arrangement related to the purchase of defence purchases and controversies following it. Only a few examples. There are umpteen of them. Our political commentators get a lot to write upon and also reach their conclusions following analyses which may vary from commentator to commentator, which is also natural. View-points differ from person to person.

Now come to some of the recent developments which caught the national attention. Sorry sir, some of them may interest us, some may force us to sit and ponder and some make us fume with rage.

For example, take UttarPradesh. The State considered as the stepping stone to its way for occupying the ‘gaddi’ at Indraprastha by a political party. Remember A.B.Vajpayee’s famous utterings here. Most often we get something to have a hearty laugh thanks to Mayawati, the UP Chief Minister for her Tuglaq model reforms and orders like installation of her own statues not one or two but innumerable, even she has lost count of them alongside those of her mentor Kanshi Ram and B.R.Ambedkar. But she didn’t stop there. To protect the statues from vandals and political adversaries like Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh, the Samajwadi Party leaders, police men are deployed day in and day out and also making it incumbent upon them and their immediate superiors to report latest state of the statues to DIG Neera Raut on a weekly basis. Befooling oneself may be a way of deriving satisfaction for a few. Otherwise the CM’s penchant for installing her own statues somewhat displays her narcissist bent of mind bordering megalomania.

Our political commentators as well as her political adversaries and also the ‘ever-vigilant’ media left the subject then and there after they got something new to harp on. Can we call this ‘the great Indian circus” or the “Theatre of the absurd”? Sorry sir, I do not know.

The latest one being Mayawati-Rita Bahuguna Joshi spat. Ms.Joshi, the Chairperson of Indian National Congress of UP unit and her incarceration by Mayawati for the former’s mouthing of “uncivilized gutter language” against Mayawati and the latter’s spur of the moment reaction, all shook the nation by storm and all eyes turned to the ugly drama unfolding in UP. With the grant of bail to Ms Joshi by Moradabad district Magistrate, the raging fury of Joshi’s supporters and the defence of Ms. Joshi by her party’s national leaders, the ugly drama has come to a close, at least for the time being, leaving the next step of analyses and conclusions to the political commentators.

The other news which shocked us all was the reported exposure of news about the frisking of our former President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam by an American based Airlines- Continental Airlines- at Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi . ( there are two schools of thought anyhow) The bizarre drama happened way back on April 24, even then the disclosure took place only two or three days before. Why the whole thing was kept under wraps is somewhat a mystery. It all points to USA’s nightmares after 9/11 disaster and they are still nursing the fears.

As per the latest reports the Airlines have tendered an apology to Dr.Kalam for the sordid happenings which caused immense pain to him. Whether a mere apology is all that necessary for the hurt and pain caused to the former President?

The other news which led to anger and disillusionment among certain quarters was one related to the agreement reached at Sharm-el-Sheikh between our Prime Minister ManMohanSingh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of 15th Non-Aligned meeting.

Political commentators differ in their perspectives. Those who differ term it as a ‘sell-out’. India’s consent to include Pakistan’s contention of the ‘former’s interference’ in Baluchistan and also the bracketing of composite dialogue process and terrorist attacks were not in the least expected by members of opposition leading to a flurry of protests against the government. In the days to come whether protests will gain momentum or fade into the oblivion- wait and see.

Similar is the case with the visit of Ms.Hillary Clinton, the American Sate Secretary and the defence pact signed between her and her Indian counterpart related with India’s assent paving the way for USA’s access to information relating to India’s defence purchases by signing “end-user monitoring arrangement”. The opposition’s vehement protest against the controversial pact and government’s defence in the Loksabha and Rajyasabha led to the stalling of two houses.

Now that the protests are gradually ebbing the political commentators will come up with different analyses and by this time new issues will come in handy for both political parties and commentators. Nice, no?

Who needs follow-up action? Leaders? Media? Commentators? As new issues crop-up on a daily basis, no one cares, actually.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My initiation into the world of letters was when I was a four year old. There were no kindergartens, L.K.Gs or U.K.G.s those days. The person who initiated me into the world of letters was Govindan Asan, a poor man hailing from a minority community of Kerala. He left to his heavenly abode after completing his mission on earth two- three years back.

Govindan Asan was a dark, short-statured man ( except for rare occasions when he undertook long-distance journeys he wore shirts) he was often seen clad in a clean white dhoti, banian and towel hung over his left shoulder. He had a habit of chewing betel leaves pasted with lime along with pieces of arecanuts and tobacco.

Our initiation took place not in the cosy atmosphere of a school. Our school was the verandah of the one and only public library in our village. Kids accompanied by parents would be present there at about nine in the morning. Parents, after dropping their beloveds’ in the care of Asan would leave the scene and would make their appearances at the stipulated time to pick them back to the houses.

Asan conducted the classes by seating the kids in a row on one side of the verandah. He would spread sand before them to write the letters in the sand using each one’s index finger. He would ensure to make them learn the letters in the order of their arrangement by-heart. On thinking about the ardous task put in by Asan making a kid conversant with the Malayalam alphabet, a kind of astonishment overwhelms me.
A great respectable man, I feel proud of him.

Never did he try to inflict even a slight pain to a child . To those mischievous ones who played pranks once in a while, he would roll his eye-balls threatening them. He was that much fond of the kids and the kids returned that love and respect in full measure.

Asan till the last moment took it as his mission to educate the kids and must have died a satisfied man. True. He couldn’t save much. Actually nothing. And he didn’t want to. But he was totally at peace with himself. While he was breathing his last, he was living with one of his daughters, with everyone to take care of him.

In our village he had a host of disciples in all walks of life. Whenever he moved along the streets, his disciples always took care to pay respect with bowed heads and a Namaste ( with folded palms across the chest). Never did he forget to return in abundant measure his love and blessings to each of them. He always inquired about their jobs, family lives and parents. In those days only a teacher could command such respect in our society, for that matter any society.

Pity, those days have gone and without looking back with no promises of a comeback.

Today we are witnessing a different scene.

Nobody is to blame for it. Times must have to change, whether we love it or not. Also man’s motives change.

Today he is after more happiness, more pleasure, more money. For him selfishness is not a crime but a virtue and it will continue to be so.

Similar is the case with the teaching world also.

Teachers forming unions for more wages, more service facilities, more job security.

Students forming unions to grab as much as possible by waging strikes against the managements, government, sometimes against their teachers even.

In the cut-throat world of competition market always reigns supreme.

Ayn Rand wrote : Bring education to market place.The lady found a solution in bringing every human activity into the market place. No moral principles, no ethics, who needs them- she might have thought. This market place philosophy played a vital role in bringing down the edifice of morals and ethics in every walk of life.

We can’t find any fault in teachers organizing and fighting for more wages, more comforts, more job-security. They want money for educating their children, they want their future be more secured and for all that they are in need of more money.

Students organizing to fight for their rights, to have a better education at cheap expenses and facilities for higher education at affordable rates – so they have to fight it out and snatch it.

Yes we can very well understand the “plight and predilections” of teachers as well as students. And ourselves.

But Govindan Asan was quite different. He didn’t want more money and was satisfied with what he got. Hence he didn’t think about forming a union by contacting all the Asans’ across the State. The very thought must have been abhorrent to him. For him teaching was a sacred mission. He died a satisfied man.

This is the story of another respectable gentle man. A man by profession, a Professor. Prof.H .S. Sabharwal of Ujjain University. Ujjain always made us proud once. A temple of learning for the scholars, foreign travellers in pursuit of higher studies and students of yore.

Three years back a man who was well past middle age being carried by a group of people from the hands of a few engaged in a tussle was displayed on TV channels. He was breathing his last moments. According to the news reports, he was a reputed Professor of Political Science of Ujjain University. How he was caught in the tussle among students in connection with college University elections – probably when he was trying to avoid clashes between two sections of students. Some persons, I do not know whether they were students, allegedly involved in his murder crossing swords with the respectable Prof. just before the incident was also shown on TVs. On his way to the hospital the Prof. succumbed to death.

The ghastly news hit national headlines and cases registered against a few alleged to have been involved in his death.

His son, an angry young man took it as a mission to bring the culprits to justice and as a first thing in the right direction, fought in the Supreme Court to transfer the case outside the State and his plea was granted by the learned jury. His apprehension was he wouldn’t be able to get justice in Madhya Pradesh for reasons best known to him.

After three years the verdict has come from the Nagpur court acquitting the culprits of all charges. The learned judge while delivering the verdict, noted that the culprits might be the murderers but the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove it. All the witnesses crossed floor allegedly due to threat to them and their families. There was nobody to provide security to them and it was quite natural that they turned defectors.

Himanshu, son of respected Professor, not a man to be taken aback by this verdict, has resolved to go to any great lengths to bring the culprits to justice and hence has decided to appeal before the Supreme Court.

Let’s extend our whole-hearted support to this young man who is ceaselessly fighting to avenge his father’s death.

When the news of the verdict came, the last moments of a professor came to my mind, thanks to the visual media.

And this thought carried me back to a period, where a selfless man of rustic simplicity conquered the hearts of a whole village.


I am sitting here flabberghasted for the last one or two hours. Pondering over a puzzle I am sitting here flabberghasted with my fingers crossed. Could you help you?Nowadays I think too much of West Bengal and the Left Front Government which is desperately fighting bitter battle against the Maoists. While writing this it has somewhat managed to rein in their “erstwhile comrades” now “comrades in arms” for about a fortnight shedding much bloodshed resulting in loss of lives. Innocent tribals who were in no way connected with any of the political outfits had to bear the brunt most.First Nandigram, then comes Singur and the latest Lalgarh imbroglio – one after another the Government finds itself in a quandary and tries to wriggle out of this piquant situation.Adding insult to injury, in the elections to the local self-governing institutions, the Trinamool-Congress combine have virtually swept 13 out of 16 which was the worst ever drubbing for the CPI(M) combine since it was badly mauled in the Loksabha elections of 2009.Shock after shock in the form of Parliament elections, local-self governing institutions and political-turmoil. With Mamata Banerji set to cash in on each crises with much finesse.The CPI(M) and its constituents seek us to believe that she is an imperialist pawn out to throw the Left Front government never can I believe such a nonsense though I have a leftist bent of mind. Mamata Banerji cannot be bracketed with the imperialist forces at any cost.A politician who is known for her simple way of life unlike the present-day politicians, both right and left, who are after pomp and pageantry, worldly pleasures, plum seats in the corridors of power – among them how such a person be a tool in the hands of imperialist forces? Never .Casting this aspersion on her will entail in the form of a rebound effect on her detractors whether it be CPI(M) or any other political party for that matter.Her love for Bengal is well-known and her empathetic approach to the Bengalese especially the most deprived lot are there for everyone to see and appreciate. The Most defining example is the Railway Budget she presented in Parliament two days back. It reflects her caring attitude and her determination to do her bit for the uplift of the down-trodden.Her special consideration for the unorganized workers in her budget comprising all over India is really heart-warming.Similarly her intervention in Singur and Nandigram.The Marxist government of West Bengal which always claim to be the champion of masses, when forcefully evacuated the peasants of Nandigram and Singur – for the construction of a chemical hub in Nandigram by a multinational group and similar approach to the farmers forcibly evicting them without providing them sufficient land to go on with their farming activities instead doling out to them peanuts to help the Tatas to manufacture Nano cars in the name of development, Mamata Banerji intervened with her supporters facing all sorts of intimidatory tactics of Left Front government demanding the return of the evicted land to the farmers.Much blood spilt, both at Nandigram and Singur ranging from firing and lathi-charge resulting in the loss of innocent lives, remember that too perpetrated by a Marxist government in the name of development. Worthwhile to note here one more fact. In the fight for the restoration of agricultural land both at Nandigram and Singur, it was not Mamata Banerji alone, with her fought the intellectuals (including leftists) and the renowned environmentalists like Medha Patkar.Nobody is against development. We can’t always continue to live in medieval times. But before proceeding along the path of development some salutary measures have to be taken by a government causing harm to nobody especially innocent farmers and such helpless souls.If the CPI(M) led government had taken into account all the necessary steps to alleviate the harm to the minimum such a grim scenario would not have been enacted. Going hammer and tongs in the name of development without caring the consequences all such measures will prove futile.The most baffling thing to me is nothing but Mamata Banerji’s pro-poor attitude and approach to the masses- I think she is more a Marxist in the true sense of the term than the run of the mill Marxist leaders at the regional as well as national level.CPI(M) and its constituents could enjoy unbroken power in Bengal virtually with the whole-hearted support of the likes of toiling farmers of Singur and Nandigram and if they want to be in the saddle at Writers Building for another consecutive term in the assembly elections to be held in two years time, they will have to organize the Party at the grass-roots level.Com. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mamata is playing her cards well…and now it is your turn.Marxism is an ideology based on loving and caring attitude towards those living at the lowest rungs of the society and going by this teaching, I have come to the conclusion that Mamata is a true Marxist and those who preach Marxism need to follow her example by building the mass base of the party at the grass-roots level if they want to have a future in Indian political scenario.


Developments continue to happen across World but only a few hog the lime-light. One such big thing which caught the world by surprise and shock was the statement of Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani President, while addressing a meeting of retired civil servants of his country, that the creation and nurture of militants and terrorists was by Pakistani rulers to achieve short-term tactical gains. But India, the neighbouring country of Pakistan took his revelation with a pinch of salt as India which bore the brunt of the machinations of Pakistan for years in the form of insurgency to Kashmir and widespread killings and destruction of property is used to such kinds of shedding of crocodile tears. And India is used to the confessions by the rulers of Pakistan followed by sudden volte-face by the leader himself who made the statement by playing innocence that he was misquoted or by the circles in the foreign affairs office. Therefore let us continue to believe that these kinds of statements will continue to pour in in future also, only to be contradicted by the same source the next day.After concluding the visit to Russia, President Obama flew to L’Aquila, Italy to attend the G8 meeting.His visit to Russia is described a grand success. George Walker Bush, the former President of USA knew only the language of muscle flexing hence the post-cold war enmity continued between two powerful nations and with the intrusion of Russian soldiers into Georgia to fight the Georgian militia for liberating South Ossetia from the clutches of Georgia which was successfully accomplished, the two nations came close to a full-scale war.Russia’s offer of reduction of strategic arms reduction by the two countries was rejected by President Bush, his belligerent attitude led to a piling up of strategic weapons by both the nations.With the assumption of power by Obama in White House, a favourable climate was created in the attitude of two nations, their yearning for a lasting solution to the problems nagging them for years. Peace-loving, enterprising, youthful as he is known across the world, his strong desire to “press the reset-button” by establishing a friendly climate for dialogue and finding lasting solutions is really laudable. One such attitude was reflected in his meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the youthful President of Russia.Both of them met, discussed and arrived at amicable solutions in the matter of reduction of strategic arms, permission to USA to carry military flights to Afghanistan across Soviet Territory to fight the Al-quaida-Taliban elements thus to save transit charges and for non-stop discussions in the matters of missile defence, NATO expansion and bilateral trade pacts.Peace-loving nations across the world and Russia and USA in particular can certainly derive happiness and satisfaction for arriving at paving for a congenial atmosphere for a better world in future.On the matter of climate-change going by the turn of developments taking place at L’Aquila, the mountain hill city of Italy, the venue of G8 summit attended by USA, Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, Italy, Japan and Indian Prime Minister ManMohanSingh and Chinese President Hu Jintao (he had to leave the venue in a hurry due to raging ethnic clashes in Urumqui but represented by Dai Binqua) attending as special invitees representing the developing countries it will be foolish to pin much hopes on a favourable outcome. While the developed nations insist on the developing nations to reduce carbon emissions, the developing nations reject those demands by the G8 and puts much blame on the developed nations and demanding in turn to set an example by reducing carbon emissions as they are squarely responsible for the alarming rise of emissions and ozone layer depletion.The blame-game is unlikely to stop here and will have to wait for the Copenhagen summit to find a way out of this impasse.One positive thing which emerged at L’Aquila anyhow is the determination of all nations to fight militancy at any cost, the menace which stares at each nation with its tentacles spread all across the world.Uighur, first came to lime-light just before the days the 29th Olympics ceremony was about to be inaugurated and its celebration across China and all other nations across the world. In the frenzy of festive mood gradually conquering that nation Uighurs, a muslim minority group grew restive and fierce clashes broke-out between them and Han Chinese, the majority community. The embarrassed Chinese regime, before the clashes turning to a major one entered the scene and brutally suppressed it thus avoiding another Tian-an-men -Square. The seeds of rebellion lay dormant among the Uighurs, and last week their pent-up anger like a volcano eruption, broke-out led to bloody clashes between them and the majority Han Chinese. As is natural, the majority reigned supreme, here also it was on these lines, the minority Uighurs suffered heavy casualties, 150 of them on a single day. Hu Jintao, Chinese President had to cut short his visit to L’ Aquila in Italy to attend G8 summit. As was the previous case, another course of repression may be on the wings. To find a lasting solution to a law and order problem is not to their liking and as long as everything is under their iron fist the problem is simple, quite simple.