‘Naxalbari 50’–2

Centenary of D V Rao and Nagi Reddy

Harsh Thakor

2017 marked the centenary year of the two greatest architects of the mass revolutionary line in India. Significantly they were celebrated in the 50th anniversary year of the Naxalbari armed struggle. Tarimela Nagi Reddy's centenary was celebrated on February 11th while Devullapali Venkateswara Rao's took place on 1st June. They sowed the seeds and shimmered the torch for the building of the revolutionary mass line combating left adventurism and right deviations in the communist revolutionary camp.

Historically the CPI (Maoist) still atrributes that leaders like Tarimela Nagi Reddy and Devullapali Venkateswara Rao practised the stages theory or deferred armed struggle from 1967-72. Today whatever the positive achievements of the CPI (Maoist) the line and practice even if implementing mass line in certain respects is vitiated by the left sectarian errors of the past decades. They have not sufficiently supported D V Rao's critique of Andhra Thesis which he propounded in the late 1950's or the 'Immediate Programme for the Srikakulam Movement' chalked out by the Andhra Pradesh Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries from 1969-73.They negate positive contribution even of Nagi Reddy influenced Punjab Co-Ordination Committee or PCRC led by Harbhajan Sohi from 1969-75.It hardly gives credit to the work and analysis of APCCCR.

Since the death of Mao tse Tung no Communist leader made such a sound and concrete analysis and thesis of the agrarian revolutionary line or massline as D V Rao in his lessons of the 'History of the Telengana armed Struggle' and 'Path of Indian Revolution'. He most dialectically explained how base areas were made and volunteer squads created to link with mass movements. He differentiated the nature and practice in plain areas and forests. Arguably no practice or line was so close to the Chinese path as practised by D V Rao in Telengana and later with TN in Srikalulam. DV brilliantly defended the polemics of protracted people’s war as against insurrection. He explained how deploying strategy of insurrection would be suicidal in the Indian context and did not blindly copy the Chinese or Russian path. Today what is needed is to imbibe the teachings of TN and DV in accordance with the prevailing conditions.

No communist revolutionary group implemented the mass line as correctly as the organisations led by DV, namely the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India, formed in 1975.He strove to bring about the principled unity of communist revolutionaries in India exchanging mutual criticism with leaders like Satya Narayan Singh and Chandra Pulla Reddy. He produced exemplary theoretical writings assessing the left adventurist line of Charu Mazumdar as well as Chandra Pulla Reddy and the rightist S N Singh trend. He exposed the negative aspects of the Charu Mazumder line at its very roots. Sadly after 1979 DV virtually undid all his positive practice by upholding the 3 worlds theory and taking the party to the path of participating in elections and openly projecting the party banner. The rightist deviation in the UCCRI (ML) in 1979 led to a total reversal in the building of the party and the massline in India with the upholding of the theory of 3 worlds. Later a series of splits took place inaugurated by late Harbhajan Sohi of Punjab and later Viswam creating a new set of permutations and combinations of groups in later periods.

The writings of DV upto 1975 are an encyclopedia for maoist cadres. 'Some problems connected with the Srikakulam Girijan movement', 'Immediate programme', 'Lay foundations for Struggle oriented mass movement', 'Left trend in Indian revolutionaries', 'Left trend in the party', 'Right opportunism within the party' and 'Fundamental line and question of Unity' etc. His writings on fascism also have great relevance which are described in his document on 'unity'. Here he summarises the roots of left adventursim and right deviations. He brilliantly analyses the advantages and disadvantages of India in implementing protracted people's war line.

DV's work as a Communist revolutionary spans nearly five decades. It is interesting to note that the first criminal case foisted against DV was in connection with his role in the land struggle of the Lambada peasantry of Mundrai village. It was the then Nizam Government which foisted this case. In fact it is the first tribute by the autocratic regime to a revolutionary who became the father of the theory and practice of agrarian revolution in the country. A considerable part of his revolutionary work was occupied by underground activities against the various autocratic governments. During the Telangana armed struggle he led nearly 7 years of underground life (1946-1952). After 1968 he led nearly 10 years of underground life (1969, 1975-1984). He was arrested under the Defence of India Rules in 1962 (November '62 to July '63) for opposing Government of India's aggressive posture towards China, and in 1965 (December '64 to May '66) during India's War against Pakistan. In 1969 he was arrested along with Tarimela Nagi Reddy and others and kept in detention from December '69 to May '72. A conspiracy case was foisted against them. This is known as the Hyderabad Conspiracy Case. The Conspiracy case was based on the 'Immediate Programme' drafted by DV. He was then released in May '72 along with TN and others on conditional bail which they jumped in June '75 to resume underground activities when Internal Emergency was proclaimed in the country by Indira Gandhi's regime. DV along with TN and some others were sentenced to 4 years of rigorous imprisonment in the Hyderabad Conspiracy case. However DV was leading an underground life all these years due to which the Government could not carry out the sentence. Thus DV spent nearly 17 years in underground activities and about 5 years in various jails in his life. These facts are apparent examples which go to show his indomitable revolutionary spirit and the depth of his revolutionary convictions and practice despite his rightist deviation in the last phase of his political career.

T Nagi Reddy founded the UCCRI(ML) in April 1975 to carry on efforts for unification of communist revolutionaries. He continued his ideological struggle against opportunist, careerist and disruptive forces while trying through his political life to unify all genuine communist revolutionaries.

During the course of this struggle he summed up the experiences of Srikakulam and Naxalbari struggles along with elaborating the experiences of Telangana. He paid utmost importance to the task of building up a communist revolutionary organisation and a mass revolutionary movement of a new type.

Tarimela Nagi Reddy gained his baptism in Commmunism in Benares University in 1939 when confronting the British colonialists and being exposed to the reactionary politics of the RSS. From then on he illuminated the ideology of Communism treading the most hazardous paths with unflinching commitment in spite of being born in a very rich landlord family and guaranteed of a lucrative practice as a lawyer. But Nagi Reddy chose the life of a Communist revolutionary. He was associated with the then existing communist party ever since he started his political activities. He was a good orator, agitator and organiser. He had organised and led many a struggle of the rural poor against the atrocities of the landlords. He led the underground life during the period of 1947-51 when he was the leader and Secretary of the Regional Committee of Rayala Seema in Andhra Pradesh (then the composite Madras province). The authorities could not arrest him in spite of the best efforts till he himself had come out in 1952. Ever since he was either a member of Legislature or the Parliament, till he resigned from the Legislature of Andhra Pradesh in 1969.

Some sections have tried to dissect the line and practice of TN and DV from 1972 itself which is grossly incorrect attributing left adventurist mistakes to DV, contravened the ideology of TN. All what TN practised was based on the theoretical writings of DV. However TN played the greater role as a mass leader and propagator of the line giving it concrete shape being a considerably better orator than DV. He played a major role in the formation of the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India in 1975 with his letter written to the central committee of great historical relevance. His 'India Mortgaged' was a true classic which has relevance even today when even in the era of globalisation—the semi-feudal, semi-colonial character of the Indian state has not changed and trends of Brahmanical casteism and Hindu fascism have accentuated themselves.

The impact of the Nagi Reddy line was felt in Andhra Pradesh when a struggle oriented Democratic Rights Organisation, the Organisation for Protection for Democratic Rights (OPDR) was formed in 1975. This upheld the practice that Democratic Rights Organsiations must uphold the right to struggle against Economic oppression as a Fundamental Right and also identify with the class struggles of the toiling people. It fought against the trend where the democratic Rights platform was used as a platform for promoting political ideology. This is what differentiated the OPDR from the APCLC (Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee). It was OPDR that was the founder of the slogan ‘It should be broad-based, pro-people, and recognise the right to struggle of the people as the fundamental right’, in contrast the APCLC propagated that the democratic Rights Movement should uphold the path of armed struggle. The first major work of OPDR was the report on the Srikakulam Girjian Movement of 1977 with regard to police encounters.

In Punjab only after the death of Nagi Reddy did the Punjab Co-ordination Committee led by Harbhajan Sohi join the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India and a movement was oraganised by Punjab Students Union and Naujwan Bharat Sabha implementing the 'mass revolutionary line' of Tarimala Nagi Reddy. On July 17th 1979 Prithipal Singh Randhawa, the leader of Punjab Students Union was murdered. Today even journal Surk Leeh of Punjab upholds Nagi Reddy's contribution as well as that of the Communist Party Re-organisation Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist) which is the chief protagonist of massline in Punjab. In the view of Jaspal Jassi, editor of revolutionary journal Surk Leeh, TN never morally advocated stages theory but was waiting for the water to reach the boiling point in terms of reaching the stage of armed struggle. The death of TN was a great loss to the revolutionary movement particularly in light of the overall re-organisation of the Communist movement in India.

Vol. 50, No.31, Feb 4 - 10, 2017