Sunday, April 12, 2015

Long Live Memory of Legendary leader Kondapalli Seetharamiah in his birth centenary year! Let us dip our blood in his memory ! by Harsh Thakor

Kondapalli Seetharamiah
 
This article reflects the personal views of Harsh Thakor


Today on April 12th is the death anniversary of the late Kondapalli Seetharamiah, one of the most legendary leaders of the Naxalite movement or world  Communist movement .

Sadly  in his centenary year his name is virtually forgotten today and there is no special day marked out to commemorate his contribution.

His contribution could be classed with leaders like Abimeal Guzman or Chairman Gonzalo of Peru or Jose Marie Sison of Philippines.
I hope a memorial commitee is formed for K.S in his centenary year and annual meetings held in his memory.
Early on, he was recognized for his organisational abilities, especially in taking the Party to the masses (implementing the mass line).

Later on, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in 1966, he began organising students in Warangal, especially those of the Regional Engineering College there.

Following Naxalbari, he was, later on, a prominent member of the state unit of the CPI(ML) when it was formed in 1969.

He propagated the Charu Majumdar line and coordinated with the movement in Srikakulam.

He played a leading role in the collective learning from the failure of Srikakulam, diagnosing its basic lacuna in its failure in implementing the mass line.

KS had a significant hand in the creation and building of the mass organisations – the RWA, the JNM, the RSU, the RYL, the RCS and Sikasa ­– as well as in the formulation of the fresh tactical line called “Road to Revolution”, the creation of the CPI (ML) (PW) and the expansion of the movement in the 1980s. 

In 1975 he joined the C.O.C_C.P.I.(M.L.) But in 1977 broke away from it.On January  2nd 1982 he was arrested at the Begampet railway station in Hyderabad but made a dramatic escape from Osmania hospital on Januray 4th,1984.

Then he went underground to build forest and regional committees.
 

It was Kondapalli Seetharamiah who founded the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Group in April 22nd 1980.

No Naxalite leader in Andhra Pradesh defended the line of Charu Mazumdar or made such an effort to rectify the errors of the orinal 1969 formed C.P.I.(M.L.) in the era of 1969-72.

K.S.imbibed the revolutionary ideology like converting a spark into a prairie fire and illuminated the light of what was Marxism-Leninsm-Mao Zedong thought in every nook and corner.

It was Comrade K.S who was one of the principal founders of mass organizations like the Radical Students Union and Revolutionary Writers Association.K.S.,as he was popularly known stood like a rock against the strongest of gales .

Throughout his revolutionary life he would tread the most turbulent  of waters or the most tortuous of paths unperturbed, with utmost revolutionary zeal.

What we need to recount was K.S’s meticulous efforts to form or re-organize the party and his innovative or creative means of building revolutionary movement.

The formation of the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War group was one of the most historic events in the annals of world revolutionary history and it set up the base for the armed struggle in India, particularly in Dandkaranya today.

The movement in Andhra Pradesh of the PWG became the largest by led by any Maoist group in India and it’s vibration spread like wildfire all over India.

Thousands of martyrs  of the PWG laid down their lives and  were amongst the most beloved sons of India.

No group in the 1980’s radiated the flame of Maoism as much as the P.W.G. in which the leadership of Comrade K.S.played the role of a pivot.

The building and spread of the Radical Students Union allied with the Radical youth league and it’s link with the agrarian revolution and the cultural movement of the Jana Natya Mandali  was a feature of the 1980’s.Revolutionary comrades also cannot forget some of the retaliatory action sin self-defence of the P.W.G  and it’s heroic defiance against state repression in 1985.

In spite of no regular P.L.A.formed in effect the P.W.G. armed squads played the role of a guerilla army.

What was remarkable was the way the party survived  like a fish in water and built itself against all odds.

K.S.’s exempelary leadership prevented the party from becoming a mere military organization and combining the mass movement with the armed struggle. It is admirable that in spite of facing the severest repression at the hands of the state the mass organizations functioned from underground which enabled mass movements to develop.

In few decades of world history has force so tenaciously resisted the wrath of the state as the P.W.G. in 1980.

Some great mass mobilizations and conferences also took place  like the Rythu Colie Sangham conferences in 1985 and 1990 .

In 1990 12 lakh people attended the R.C.S.conference in Warangal.

The revolutionary groups in Bihar carrying out armed struggle like the Maoist Communist Centre and the C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity tried to emulate the P.W.G. and their work and struggle was greatly inspired by it.

Infact without the moral support of the movement of the P.W.G arguably the M.C.C and P.U.led armed struggles in Bihar would not have been built or sustained at that level.

Journals like Mukti Marg of the P.U.group  in 1991 defended the revolutionary gains of the P.W.G. in the agrarian front.In Maharashtra comrades were greatly influenced by the P.W.G and mass organizations were formed supporting it like Naujwan Bharat Sabha ,Aahwan Natya Manch and Vidhyarti Pragahati sanghatana .

The founding conference of the All India Revolutionary Students Federation in 1985 also had historical significance.
No doubt there were serious errors in line and practice by the P.W.G in the era of K.S.

The most prominent errors were the  the revolutionary mass organizations not given a separate  identity and deployed as front organizations ,insufficient building of agrarian revolutionary movement, reccurence of militaristic tendency of  individual annihilation of the Charu era. ,wrong approach towards other revolutionary group, wrongly advocating united front against Soviet Social Imperialism and supporting NTR govt, supporting the Sikh liberation or Akali movement in Punjab,lack of party centralism etc.

The ideology of Marxism Leninism Mao Tse Tung Thought or party ideology was placed in the manifesto of mass organizations like R.W.A.or A.P.R.S.U. which was arguably erroneous.

Some of the criticisms of the Nagi Reddy section or of democratic activists was significant on erroneous armed actions with insufficient revolutionary support which impeded the mass movements.

However on the practical plane the P.W.G was head and shoulders above any revolutionary group in Andhra Pradesh whether it be the Chandra Pula Reddy group, the U.C.C.R.I.(M.L.) Nagi Reddy group factions or the C.R.C.group.

No group carried out so many people’s courts against landlords or distributed as much land as verified in a 1990 Rytu Coolie Sangham report.

The P.W.G.distributed half a million acres of land in Andhra Pradesh.Quoting Potu Venkateswara Rao the editor of newspaper Andhra Prabha  "The P.W.G.practically runs a parallel government in Karimnagar,Adilabad and Warangal districts."

It’s practice was very similar to that of the Peruvian Communist party led Sendero Luminoso which was also innagurated in 1980.

I can hardly think of 2 armed struggles in the world going on silmunatenously which were so alike.

True the Indian Communist party had not been re-organized or the Peoples Guerilla army not formed but India is  a much bigger country with greater complexities.

I remember certain democratic activists from Mumbai  who felt that P.W.G.leaders had a great spirit of self –criticism and imbibed that quality by even training cadres to correct the ideas on line and practice of  leaders of revolutionary groups through dialectical method.

One former mass organization leader from Maharashtra expressed that very view. Later in 1999 when the 3 PWG central committee leaders were assassinated  I remember a sympathiser not amongst their ranks saying “I support the P.W.G,as they are doing work.”

The veteran Communist revolutionary in Maharashtra Sunder Navalkar also hailed the monumental efforts of the P.W.G.

Even a revolutionary journal  ‘The Comrade’ favouring the T.Nagi Reddy line defended the revolutionary mass resistance of the mass fronts of the P.W.G.  as ‘truly heroic.' in 1992.

Late revolutionary student activist Kartik Panalal  of NBS In Mumbai expressed great hope and admiration,while the famous filmmaker Sagar Sarhadi openly expressed his sympathies and support for the P.W.G'S work.

A journalism lecturer from St Xaviers college Mumbai although not a Marxist admired the PWG's struggle for democratic rights while a literature student from Calcutta greatly admired it's strategy.
One of the most tragic aspects of the K.S era in the 1980’s and early 1990’s was the group clashes between the P.W.G and Chandra Pulla Reddy group factions.

I remain neutral and feel it should not have happened and wished that the P.W.G abstained from attacking any revolutionary group.

The P.W.G then felt the attac s on other groups were in self –defence and on class lines .

The C.P.Reddy group even sent a fact-finding team from Mumbai to investigate. However what was most erroneous was the open criticism of the P.W.G by the Chandra Pulla Reddy group leaders.

Who labelled them as ‘terrorists.’

In a conference of a peasant mass organization in Nanded  in 1991 ,the Maharashtra secretary of the C.P.Reddy group stated that we must make a revolution but not work like the Peoples War Group.

Another state committee member stated the same thing openly condemning the P.W.G.

The C.P.Reddy  group’s party organ ‘Resistance’ made an unceremonious political attack on the Peoples War group’s practice calling it that of a terrorsist organization like the Khalistanis and it’s armed squads as marauders or roving bands.

This kind of criticism acted against the spirit of the revolutionary movement of the time. I deeply regret the killing of cadres in mutual killings which was deplorable but still condemn attacking the P.W.G . in such a manner.
In 1992 K.S. was expelled and Ganapathy became the new secretary.

I have hardly investigated the reasons for his expulsion from the party.

Whatever his errors it is sad that there has been no committee formed in his memory.

We have an Anuradha Gandhy memorial  or  tarimela Nagi Reddy memorial but no memorial for the great comrade K.S.

This is his centenary year as his exact birth date is not verified still.

However it is confirmed that he was born in 1915.What we need to recount was K.S’s meticulous efforts to form or re-organize the party and his innovative or creative means of building revolutionary movement.

I suggest all cadres read the self –criticism of the Andhra Pradesh State Commitee of 1977 which is an invaluable document for study. Another important work is to read the ‘History of the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union’which has been reprinted in 2012.  and the 1997 booklet of A.I.R.S.F, ‘30 years of Naxalbari  -Naxalbari is not just the name of a village’. I also recommend reading Bernard D’Mello’s ‘The Che Gueveras of Telegu .

One of the most important aspects of study is the mass movement and mass organizations formed  in the 1970’s before the formation of the C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War Group in 1980, particularly the 1978 Karimnagar movement  and how the party and revolutionary mass organizations resisted from 1985-89.
 
Let us all dip our blood in memory of legendary Kondappali Seetharmiah!
 
Below I am reproducing 2 writings of Bernard d’Mello from’Che Guevera’s of Telegu Society.’
There have been two streams of the Naxalite/Maoist movement in AP, one following from the Srikakulam armed struggle of the late 1960s and the AP State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI(ML)], whose main inheritors in the CPI(ML) (Central Organising Committee) [CPI(ML)(COC)], went on to form the CPI(ML)(People’s War) [CPI(ML)(PW)] in 1980 after a self-critical appraisal, and with mid-course corrections, ultimately formed the CPI (Maoist) in September 2004.

This stream, I must add, should be highly indebted to persons like Kondapalli Sitaramaiah (KS, 1915-2002) from the late 1960s to 1987.

The CPI (ML) (COC) in AP, which took over the tasks of the AP State Committee of the original CPI (ML) when it split, critically reviewed the experience of the Srikaulam movement, and also went on to develop a new strategy and tactics document called “Road to Revolution”, whose first seeds sprouted in Karimnagar and Adilabad districts, especially in the Sircilla and Jagityal taluks of the former, soon after the Emergency was lifted.

These taluks were declared as “disturbed areas” in October 1978, and it was here that Mupalla Laxman Rao [the present general secretary of the CPI (Maoist)] and Mallojula Koteswara Rao found themselves in Ganapathy and Kishenji respectively.

It was struggles such as these that formed the groundwork for the formation of the CPI (ML) (PW) in 1980. The preliminary works include the formation of the Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA, or Virasam in Telugu) in July 1970, the Jana Natya Mandali in 1972, the RSU in 1974, and the Radical Youth League (RYL) in May 1975, and later, the Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS) and the Singareni Karmika Samakhya (Sikasa).

In all of such “mass-line” (“from the masses, to the masses”) politics, it is my view that when a careful history of the Naxalite movement comes to be written, the significant contribution of KS and his close comrades will have to be acknowledged.[3]

A few admirers attend Kondapalli's funeral

By Our Staff Reporter

Vijayawada April 13. It was certainly not a funeral befitting the PWG founder, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, one of the country's most feared revolutionary leader, who died here yesterday.

Only a few admirers, friends, and members of his family were present at Karuna Hospital-cum-residence at Siddhardha Nagar here of Gangadhar, the grand son-in-law, where the body was kept for people to pay homage. Plainclothes policemen and intelligence officials were present near the house. The body of the 87-year-old former naxalite leader has been kept at the hospital compound since last night in a makeshift coffin -- the rear side of a water cooler was converted into a coffin.

Some of Kondapalli's admirers laid wreaths and flowers on his body, before it was taken out in procession in a flower-decked truck. While no big political or revolutionary leader came to the house, some youths raised slogans... `Johar johar Kondapalli Seetharamaiah,' `We will make every effort to achieve the ideals for which you stood... '. Revolutionary songs were played on the public address system at the residence where Kondapalli lived underground for about 20 years.

In keeping with the Communist tradition, there was no ceremony and the body was cremated at the electric crematorium in the evening. The grand sons-in law -- V.S. Krishna and Dr. Gangadhar -- were present. Koteswaramma, the estranged wife of Kondapalli, has come down from Hyderabad to pay her respects.

She reportedly broke down after seeing his body. Koteswaramma has been staying at an old-age home in Hyderabad. Conspicuous by her absence was the former naxalite, Anusuyamma, who has been living with Kondapalli in the city.

Kondapalli is survived by his two granddaughters - V. Anuradha and Sudha.

Death condoled

Our Special Correspondent from Hyderabad writes: Left parties and civil rights organisations today paid tributes to Kondapalli. The CPI(M) State secretary, B.V. Raghavulu, said the veteran leader had been with Communist movement till his last. The CPI State secretary, S. Sudhakar Reddy, said Kondapalli was a contemporary of stalwarts of the undivided Communist movement like Chandra Rajeswara Rao and P. Sundarayya, but switched to armed struggle after the party split.

M. Omkar, general secretary, MCPI, and B.N. Reddy, former MP, and B. Tharakam, president, Republic Party of India, described him as a great revolutionary who fought for the oppressed and the exploited masses.

K.G. Kannabiran, president, People's Union of Civil Liberties, described Kondapalli as a legend and inspiration to the youth of Telangana. Mere invocation of his name struck terror among the exploiters, he recalled. Mr. Kannabiran said he valued his relationship with the veteran despite differences.
 

 
 
Success or defeat in revolution is, first and foremost, governed by the political line of the party that is leading the revolution. If the line is in conformity with the laws of development of society and revolution, then the movement will go towards victory. But if the line is not in conformity with these laws it will be defeated.

The CPI (ML), unlike the CPI and CPM, correctly understood the laws of development of India society, when they characterised it as semi-feudal, semi-colonial and the stage of revolution as New Democratic.

The CPI (ML) also grasped the fundamental law of revolution i.e., the need for revolutionary violence to change the system. Marx and Engels had shown that all hitherto existing social systems had not passed away peacefully but through violent class struggles.

The very bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries had come to power through a violent overthrow of the feudal order. Marx’s famous quote that "Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with the new" was thrown to the winds by the CPI and CPM. The CPI (ML) not only restored this Marxist law of revolution, they went about implementing it. And in doing so, certain errors arose in the methods adopted.
Being equipped with the general laws of revolution is not sufficient; there must also be a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, a class understanding of friends and enemies, an assessment of the changing class alignment of forces at any given moment and the methods required to build the revolutionary forces to face the enemy. Errors in any of these spheres can also lead to reverses. And it is here that some errors were made.
These errors were best summed up in the CPI (ML) (People’s war) document entitled "Summing up the past let us advance victoriously along the path of armed struggle." This document listed first the positive aspects of the CPI (ML), then the shortcomings and finally drew lessons on the basis on which to advance. This contrasted sharply with numerous other critiques from erstwhile leaders of the CPI (ML) like SNS, Kanu Sanyal, Ashim Chatterjee, etc who merely sought to throw blame on CM and escape into the revisionist camp. Of course, genuine criticism was raised earlier, particularly by Sushital Roy Chowdhary in late 1970, but he was the lone voice in the leadership then. Unfortunately, a few months later, he died of a heart attack. Though belatedly, Com. CM himself initiated the process of rectifying the errors as could be seen in his article "People’s interest is party’s interest" written in May 1972, two months prior to his martyrdom.
While clearly stating that the positive aspects were primary the CPI (ML) PW document outlined the main shortcomings as :
(i) An incorrect understanding of the era : The document stated that the party wrongly estimated that the character of the era had changed and on that basis had called for continuous attacks, without a thought to the relative strength of the revolutionary forces and that of the enemy. The document added that : "what should have been done instead, is to base (tactics) on a concrete assessment of the relative strength and weaknesses of the opposing sides of the contradiction, in a revolution."
(ii) A wrong estimation of the International and National Situation: The document stated that the Eighth Party Congress report had looked upon US intervention in Kampuchea as the beginning of World War III. It also said that the party had wrongly estimated the situation in the country and therefore called on the people to start armed struggle everywhere. The document added that in India there is uneven economic development, and the levels of political consciousness and social and cultural development vary, this, it added, has to be borne in mind, while formulating the tactics of struggle.
(iii) A disregard for the subjective factor : There was no proper estimate of the strength of the revolutionary forces vis-a-vis that of the enemy. There was a tendency to get carried away by the immediate success of the struggles.
(iv) Giving immature slogans : The over assessment of the objective factors of revolution led to many immature slogans and calls.
(v) The Line of Annihilation : The document succinctly analysed this point saying : "All forms of struggle are subordinate to, and are guided by the concrete political line. If the concrete political line deviates from the mass line, the forms of struggle cannot but be otherwise..... So in order to negate the line of annihilation, we have to negate the wrong ideology which is alien to Marxism and its consequential political and organisational manifestations..... The problem is not whether the class enemy will be annihilated or not ..... Rather the problem is, whether the party should adopt the mass line or not .... Every Marxist-Leninist Party must propagate revolutionary violence which may express itself in various forms of struggle; one of which may be annihilation of class enemies." The party had earlier asserted that the annihilation of landlords was the only means of arousing the landless and poor peasants. This document put the question in correct perspective.
(vi) The rejection of other forms of struggle and organisation : Until then the party negated all mass organisations and all other forms of struggle, thereby isolating the party from the masses which made comrades easier targets for the enemy. As the document pointed out "In order to combat the long-standing revisionist practice of conducting mass struggles on the lines of economism and adopting legal and open forms of organisation as the only form of organisation, our party arrived at a one-sided and wrong formulation that the armed form of struggle is the only form of struggle and armed form of organisation the only form of organisation."
(vii) A wrong approach to the United Front : The document in its assessment of the earlier position said, "The United Front will be formed in the course of struggle only.... to work for it right from the inception of the struggle is the bounden duty of the working class. To say instead, that it will not be possible to form a United Front until one or a few liberated base areas are established....amounts to rejecting in practice the truth, that a United Front is essential for the victory of revolution."
(viii) Guerilla struggles in the cities : The document said that it was wrong to have started urban guerilla warfare in Calcutta... leading to enormous losses.
(ix) Wrong bureaucratic tendencies in Organisation : The document explained that - bureaucratic methods, a lack of self-criticism, a lack of committee functioning, sectarian methods of solving differences, and finally the assertion of Com. CM’s individual authority above the Party.... did much to damage the movement. The document also added that this was a major reason why the party could not correct errors in time.
These then were the major errors of the movement and it is on the basis of a rectification done with this analysis, that the CPI (ML) (PW) has carried forward the heritage of Naxalbari, the basic line of the Eighth Congress and created the primary forms of the guerilla zone.

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