Red Salutes to Comrade ‘Srikakulam' Rama Rao on 10th death anniversary

Harsh Thakor

On October 31st we commemorate the 10th death anniversary of Comrade Srikaulam Rama Rao, who was a crusader of the Srikakulam Girijan movement. Significant that he left for his heavenly abode on the very day the flame of Srikakulam armed struggle was lit with the martyrdom of comrades Koranna and Maganna. His name carves a permanent niche in the annals of the martyrs of Srikakulam.

Com Rama Rao was an example of a person shimmering the torch of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (or Mao Tse Tung Thought) till his last breadth. His life was an illustration of how a comrade could resist the most hazardous hurdles and stitching every wound by imbibing the teachings of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought. He exuded spirit of death defying courage in resisting the ruling classes throughout the journey of his life .I am compiling this information from revolutionary journal 'The Comrade' of 2009.He rendered a great service towards the mass line in terms of sowing the seeds for the armed agrarian revolutionary movement in Srikakulam .Thus his example is an ideal illustration of practice of mas line for even comrades today. The struggle of this veteran comrade illuminated the heart of comrades. like red lamps shimmering. He stood for the liberation of the masses treading the hazardous of paths,

Comrade Rama Rao was the secretary of the Vizianagaram-Srikakulam Area Committee of the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist) for a period of 14 years., an organization that qualitatively practiced mass line in that region more than any revolutionary group. He sculpted or rekindled the essence of the trend of the Tarimela Nagi Reddy line and that of Vasantada Ramalingachari, displaying the planning of an architect, skill of a sculptor and tenacity of a boulder in defending the proletarian revolutionary mass line. Sadly, the comrade was hardly given justified coverage by the social media.

Sadly, he succumbed due to jaundice on October 31st, 2009.Inspite of efforts to save him.

Comrade Rama Rao was born in a very poor Dalit family in Dundugopalapuram village of Srikakulam district on March 8th,1948. Rama Rao gained his baptism in revolutionary politics by prominent communist teacher, Pondala Venkata Ramana Murthy, and gained his first lessons from him as well as the teachers of the office of the Andhra Pradesh Teachers federation. From 1965 he joined the Students federation and supported the agitation for a steel plant in Visakha.

His contact with APTF leaders like Ramana Murthy, A.V. Chainulu, Blakrishnamma and Appaya Master, he was drawn to the Srikakaulam Girijan Movement. There he met comrades like Panchadi Krishnamurthy, Vasantada Ramalingachari, Vempatu Satyanarayana, D.V. Rao and T. Nagi Reddy.

During the Srikakulam movement he participated in a people’s action against a money-lender, Akala Bhaktala Krishnamurthy of Kapu Umilada village in September 1969.After 2 weeks he was arrested, spending 2 years in prison. In 1971 he was released on bail. This was one of the most significant actions representing the Srikakulam armed struggle.

After being released he went to work in Bhillai Steel plant. In 1973 Venkata Ramana Murthy, inspired Rama Rao to return to Srikakulam. In that period, under the leadership of T. Nagi Reddy, mass political struggle was conducted to revive the Srikakulam movement. In 1975 he joined the Unity centre of Communist revolutionaries of India and became the district secretary of the Srikakulam-Vizianagaram Area Committee.

From 1976 he joined the Andhra-Orissa Border regional Committee, and from July 1983 to December 1985, became it’s secretary. In this period, he made an impact in 3 areas. In Cheerupali area a youth organization was formed. In the Agency area agitations of Girijans were launched over issues of forest products and remunerative prices, and for the construction of the Varthada reservoir and check dam. In Bobbili he gave political direction to the Kalasi Sangham. In this time he married comrade Shanti.

Rama Rao bravely fought against wrong trends combating D.V. Rao’s right deviationist line in 1980 and later in 1988 became a part of the Centre of Communist revolutionaries of India. From 1989 he made immense efforts in reviving the revolutionary movement for massline in Srikakulam in spite of pressure from family and friends he persisted with his work like swimming in the most turbulent of seas. With consummate skill he combated the left deviationist actions of armed squads of the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) Peoples War group and right deviationist tendencies of groups of Chandra Pulla Redy trend. He also played a significant role in the 2nd Conference of the Srikakulam Girijan Sangahm in 1989 October and in the struggle for defending regulation 70, which defended the tribals right to land.

In 1995 after the formation of the Communist Party Re-Organization Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist), he took the task of reviving the Girijan Sangh. He initiated the building of pocket wise committees in place of a district-wide committee thus applying concept of dividing blocks.

In this period a struggle was launched for the demand for the Dekuraigedda reservoir and distribution of forest lands between Chintalakoridi and Arikakoridi villages among the landless grihastha Srikakulam Girijan Sangh resisted tenaciously.

A new village called Vempaturam was formed after great revolutionary martyr Vempapatu Satyanarayana. The villagers heroically resisted attempts to disperse them and to loot their timber which they collected. With great perseverance com Rama Rao guided the people in solving the contradictions.

In Bobbili town, he devoted his attention to the Kalasi Sangham defending the aspect of workers themselves becoming leaders of the Union. He refused an offer from the workers to accept the post of official adviser to the Union, explaining it was improper. In 2008, on May Day, all the unions of the Bobili council participated in the May Day programme. Even if mobilisation was small it was an ideal illustration pf practice of massline in light of powerful rightist and left sectarian trends within trade union movement of the naxalite camp. There was also a very encouraging solidarity conference to the Nellimarla workers firing in Bobbili.

He meticulously studied the literature of all genuine Communist revolutionary groups, particularly the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.)

Com Rama Rao was the most modest of comrades .He never resisted in initiating self-criticism and was always balanced in making criticism of actions of other comrades. He would above all strive to work which those who were critical of him or had differences, abstaining from factional methods and applying principled political method of struggle. Thus, cadres from other groups liked him immensely. He displayed great balance when the inter-group killings took place between armed squads of revolutionary groups and propagated the correct mass revolutionary approach of groups top work with each other. Never did he openly condemn the erstwhile PWG actions but built a healthy mutual liaison to engage in positive criticism. He never demanded even the smallest facility from the Girijans, even when he stayed at their homes.

Before his death he displayed exemplary courage in battling his disease which reflected his great qualities.

His work is of great relevance today when powerful trends of left and right deviations permeate the Communist revolutionary camp even today. The Girijan community literally treated him as their own brother. In the gathering on October 31st in memory of martyrs of the Srikakulam movement their tears poured from their eyes like rainfall in peak monsoon season-weeping uncontrollably. His death in October 2009 was a loss to the communist revolutionary movement as a whole.

When times have changed with the accentuation of imperialism on agriculture comrades should apply Rama Rao's lessons in accordance with given situation.

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Nov 2, 2019