Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Prem or Saketh

A couple of days ago, I read in the Bangalore newspapers that two dangerous "naxalites" were "killed" in an encounter somewhere in Karnataka.

Of these one was called Prem. Prem's real name turned out be Saketh - Saketh Rajan to be precise. The newspaper story tells how brilliant a student Saketh was. Apparently, this person had gone underground for the past 20 years and his mother was apparently surprised and saddened that her son had lived till a few days ago but was no more now.

Just look at this person's biography. Brought up in the relatively take-it-easy and sleepy Mysore (sleepier in those days), he leaned towards Communism and through that to Naxalism. Naxalism is an off-shoot of communist thinking that is very specific to India. The newspaper story curiously relates that the Bronte Sisters' novel "Wuthering Heights" caused his ideological shift. I haven't read it - so I don't know how much one can get influenced by it. But to each his way.

Such an educated person feeling so keenly about the life of the poor that he gave up his engineering seat (very difficult to get in those days) to a degree in the Humanities and Journalism subsequently.

I have to say that it requires a lot of courage for some one to live true to his convictions. How many of us would do something like this ? Personally I don't like Communist ideas and this makes me wonder how so many seemingly intelligent people end up on the Left. Or is some one who is for the people branded Red ?

Saketh apparently masterminded the founding of the Naxal movement in Karnataka. Are vested interests that come between the government's evidently pro-poor policy and the really poor people so powerful that an alternative struggle has to happen ? This question puzzles me. But people are like sheep. Dr KS Nisar Ahmed describes this "sheepness" present in most of us in his very relevant Kannada poem "kurigaLu sAr kurigaLu". I suppose it needs a "struggle" to unite all affected people.

I felt sad that such a brilliant life was wasted away. I don't know how many people he has changed - but Saketh definitely made me think for sometime on the power of ideals. Here was a man who lived and died for his ideals - though uninformed he may be. It requires a lot of courage to do that. We need more people like Saketh who can live their ideals in their lives.

May Almighty grant peace to his AtmA. (If he were a real communist - he would not like this - which is one of the things I don't like in Communists).

|| iti sham ||

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