Tuesday, 17 April 2012

ON GEORGE - pkmurthy

After the 1968 Student Revolt in France, I came back to India to join the Spring Thunder then blowing through the country. I stayed in Hyderabad a short while, in 1971. Swayed by revolutionary ideas, I considered that integration with the people was fundamental and therefore I had to work with and as a worker. One day, Pradeep came with Ashwini to meet me. Two days later, George also came with them.
George (and his friends) used to drop in at my (rented) house very often and a warm friendship and camaraderie developed between us. We would have long discussions, debates and readings, sitting on a mattress, on the terrace of our second floor room. Sometimes guests would stay on, to share whatever food had been cooked. We would discuss and compare the different revolutionary struggles and more particularly the successful revolutions in China, Cuba, and Vietnam. These discussions would take us to the military line and tactics of successful revolution, and the part that armed struggle plays in achieving power. What role do the masses have in the revolution? Can the revolution succeed without the people's participation?? Is individual commitment and dedication not enough to rouse the masses??? These questions are debated even today. 
There was fire in George and he was highly motivated by Che. He would say `I am ready for Revolution, my readiness is enough to carry the people.' While we understood the need to consolidate our theoretical knowledge, we also practiced judo and karate as George saw physical fitness as a necessity for every individual. His precondition for members of his group was that they should be physically fit. I was a part of these meetings and karate sessions from June 1971 till March 1972, when I left Hyderabad. 
I recall pressurising George to join a political formation as local politics needed to be linked up with global politics for change. He realized the need of being organised and of joining an organisation: thus he met leaders of some revolutionary groups at that time. 
His revolutionary zeal made him an admirer of Che where the courage and dedication of "the Individual"  are enough to bring about revolution as opposed to Mao's tenet that mass participation alone brings Change.
George was a natural leader, imposing and a good fighter, and the boys were jovial but serious in their work. They looked up to George and had blind confidence in him. None of them spoke when he would decide, and yet the discussions were warm and cordial.
He would tell me of the attacks on them, on campus and elsewhere; and I recall them writing a pamphlet in December after one attack. He was preoccupied with self-defence. I remember a photograph of all eight of us on the terrace.
George was anti-establishment and anti-imperialist
He believed that there would be Change 
He believed that he would be part of the change 
For a just and better society for all
A socialist society
His enemies killed him and think him dead 
but like Bhagat Singh, Che and George will never die.
PK Murthy,

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Last week I was in Hyderabad, to complete the eye check-up started on the last visit. I read the transcripts of some interviews done by Gita. It has been something of a revelation, to find out what all George was up to, in the last years of his life. I hope those who have something to share, and have not yet done so, will come out soon.
Controversy was no stranger to George alive, and controversy will not desert George dead. E-mails swish this way and that, on who may lay claim to his legacy. All of us are lawful claimants, and no one has exclusive rights.
That said, aren't we focusing on the wrong things? Are we to squabble about who will set up the wayside shrines, and who will collect the coins thrown by passers-by/
We live in the Age of the Montoinettes: The people have no bread? What do they do with their 28 rupees?  Airlines and airports are gifted to cronies with calendar babes on their arms. Airwaves were served fresh to first comers, and are now to be mock-auctioned. Children have been granted the fundamental right to education, but the State does not have the will to educate them or the money to pay for their education.  One policeman watches over 800 non-VIPs, but a dozen were in attendance when George was murdered.