Comrade Saketh Rajan

 It is right to rebel !



Death of the best and brightest

By Sagar

I can still remember his smiling face, full of life, concern and a deep sincerity that anyone who met him could sense immediately. Saket Rajan - journalist, historian and social activist rolled into one - was not someone you could easily forget anyway,given his charismatic personality or his mission in life as a communist revolutionary.

My memories of him are from 22 years ago when I was beginning my  career in journalism in Bangalore. Saket, whom I knew through mutual friends, was just beginning to organise activities of the People's War Group or PWG (now CPI Maoist) in Karnataka at that time.

I respected his choice but personally was not very convinced that the PWG's almost exclusive emphasis on waging an armed struggle against the Indian state was the best way to operate in a diverse country that despite its various problems did offer space for other more mass-based political activities.

We remained friends but parted ways - with me continuing to be a journalist and Saket going underground, becoming a Central Committee member of the PWG and mostly untraceable by people outside his immediate party circuit.

Karnataka, where Saket operated, was among the few places where the Maoists emphasised the development of a variety of mass fronts over the idea of "armed struggle at any cost".                                                                                                                                                                      

Saket was of course too creative a person to blindly copy and apply the "Andhra model" of the PWG in his home state. These mass fronts have taken up a very wide range of issues from nuclear power plants to the march of saffron communalism.

In February last year when the Karnataka police brutally murdered Saket in an alleged "encounter" in Chikmagalur, memories of my meetings and discussions with him came flooding back. His untimely and needless death was like a knife turning through my heart - as indeed it must have been for most of his friends everywhere.

Here was the snuffing out of one more brilliant mind, an extremely sensitive soul and yet another product of India's "Naxalite" movement that has motivated thousands of young Indians to give up everything, including their lives, fighting for radical social and political change in the country.

Shame on a society that allows the killing of its best and brightest in such a wanton manner.