It is right to rebel !
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.
Comrade Rajeswari was a non-combatant, who used to edit Vanita Vimukti, the women’s journal of the Naxalite movement, she was shot dead by the police in March 2001.
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.
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
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 futuretoo. 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.