Comrades and Friends,
I feel elated and highly honoured by the invitation you extended to me to deliver the inaugural address at the 50th Anniversary Meet of Revolutionary Writers Association. At the very outset I offer Revolutionary greetings to the Members of VIRASAM, writers and the people who have attended this conference and I wish great success to this grand meeting.
In this context, I feel it appropriate to recall a few historic momentous events. It was the meeting held in connection with the sixtieth anniversary of the poet SriSri in the month of January 1970 in Visakhapatnam. A Reception Committee was formed to felicitate SriSri in a big and splendid manner. Almost all celebrated Telugu writers attended the meeting. In that meeting, a pamphlet by the name ʹWriters! What is your Direction?ʹ was released in the name of Visakha Students. That was the pamphlet that questioned the writers, poets, artists and thinkers as to which side they were at a time when the people from Srikakulam district were participating in agrarian revolutionary war. The popular peopleʹs poet and artist Comrade Subba Rao Panigrahi had been a martyr and the Government unleashed reign of barbaric terror on the people and the leadership that participated in the struggle. In this context, the Visakha Students darted a direct question whether they were with the people or siding the ruling classes.
That was a question which was quite necessary and appropriate. That question led to new political mobilisation among the Telugu literary circle. In the month of July of the same year, the Progressive Writers Association and the Seven Star Syndicate decided to jointly felicitate SriSri in Hyderabad with the aid of the State Government. Consequent upon the developments after the Visakhapatnam conference, SiSri declared that he was boycotting the Government-sponsored 60th anniversary celebrations of himself. In that process, a statement was released on July 4th, 1970 in Hyderabad announcing the formation of Revolutionary Writers Association. In the same year, in the month of October, the First Conference of the Revolutionary Writers Association was held in Martyr Subba Rao Panigrahi Nagar in Khammam. Maha Kavi SriSri was elected as the Founder President. The popular novelist and literary critic Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao and famous story writer Rachakonda Viswanatha Sastry became the Vice Presidents. The renowned socio-literary critic and historian K V Ramana Reddy was elected as the Founder General Secretary. Several writers belonging to new and old generations joined Virasam as members. The Naxalbari politics served as a bridge to overcome the generational divide between them.
From the 1970s onwards amazing revolutionary poetry, ballads, stories were written with astonishing creativity and enthusiasm. This kind of literature reflected the then ongoing Naxalbari struggle all over the country. But later, the movement had to face many difficulties politically due to the brutal repression by the State. During this time the Andhra Pradesh Revolutionary Association played a proactive role. The revolutionary writers contributed for the sustenance of the revolutionary zeal in the people through their writings and fiery speeches. The political leadership too came out of hardships within no time and the scope of Telugu revolutionary literature widened. The literature expressing deep disapproval and protest flowed like a stream throughout the nation.
Now, let us examine the present political scenario. The BJP government has assumed power for the second time by winning 303 Lok Sabha seats in the General Elections held in 2019 under the dual leadership of Modi and Shah. This one-sided majority turned them into more tyrannical. Because of this brute majority, they have taken certain decisions due to which the Indian economy is almost on death bed. The demonetisation move has rendered a death blow to the small and middle level business establishments.
The celebrated economists like Raghuram Rajen, Amarthya Sen, Abhijit Bandopadhyay and several others have opined that the Indian economy is leading towards a serious crisis. The unemployment rate is growing unprecedented. The cost of living is turning out to be burdensome gradually. The Government in these circumstances is not resorting to any steps to resolve the situation.
The distinguished historian Irfan Habib has commented, ʹdecisions taken by Narendra Modi government are nothing but the manifestations of the long term designs of the Hindutvaʹ and also added that those policies are framed with a view to suppress the dissent and protest.
They have made the already existing NIA, UPA and the like more stringent. Nobody is questioning the Modi Government since there are no TV channels or media that are pro-people. But, the Students who have shouldered that responsibility are not turning back.
The goons of Hindutva forces attacked the Dalits who had assembled in Bheema Koregaon. The police have arrested the victims and let loose the forces who have attacked them. In this context, the Government have arrested the well-known democratic forces, human rights activists and activists who are working on societal problems.
The present day rulers abhor secularism. Their aim is to establish the Hindu State. The Citizenship Amendment Act is the first step in that direction. Its intention is to differentiate and divide the persons who have migrated to this country on the basis of religion. This is totally antagonistic approach to the spirit of our Constitution. The preparation of National Citizenship Register is aimed at nothing, but to snatch away the Voting rights from Muslims. This is the last weapon the rulers are contemplating to use to totally suppress the Muslim minorities.
It was on Sunday, the December 15, 2019 the students of Jamia Milia Islamia University students came on to the roads to protest against the above mentioned two Acts. The Government cruelly attacked the protestors who were expressing their dissent in a peaceful manner. The police entered the University campus without obtaining permission from the University authorities and mercilessly attacked the students. The students who were studying in Library and the students who were taking shelter in the canteen were subjected to serious physical torture. They used tear gas indiscriminately. The library incurred a loss of Rs. Two and half crores due to atrocities committed by the police. A researcherʹs leg was broken and another student suffered eye loss. A bullet was taken out of a studentʹs limb. Fifty students were detained and fifteen students were arrested.
The protest waves started in Jamia Milia spread to Aligarh Muslim University. There too students protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Citizenship Register preparation. Whoever has seen the inhuman treatment the students have met with are sure to get frightened shivering in their backs. Students were subjected to violent harassment in police stations. It has become obvious that the government will go to any extent to curb the dissent voices.
The solidarity expressed by the JNU, Delhi University students, advocates, civil society activists and general public was heart touching. Thousands of people gathered in front of the police headquarters and brought tremendous pressure to release the detained boys.
A pro-government organisation like press information bureau too expressed regrets for the incorrect news it published. Nazir Azmi was the in-charge of video division in G-Media. He resigned to his post in protest against the police excesses, saying ʹI never wanted to be a witness for the degradation of Jamia Milia into battle field. I studied here. I cannot tolerate this situation.ʹ
The State is all powerful. It destroys whoever comes in its way psychologically and physically. The Shaheen Bagh (nearby area adjacent to Jamia Miliyaa) tried in all possible ways to defeat the rulerʹs crookedness. They are exhibiting their iron will even to this day.
For the past 70 days, the JNU students have been up against the fee hike. On 5th January in the dead of night, the ABVP goons with tacit support of police severely attacked the JNU students, teachers with iron rods. It was a pre-planned attack. This kind of anarchic act and terror was never witnessed in JNU campus. In fact, whoever wants to enter the university campus has to show their identity card. There was nothing like on that day. So many number of wicked persons entered the university and created havoc for two hours and left the campus unidentified. The electricity supply was cut throughout the university premises during that time. The villains were after a woman who was the wife of a professor. Luckily she escaped from them and reached her home without any untoward incident.
CP Chandrasekhar is a celebrated economist, a great statistical expert. After his retirement as Professor in JNU, he became a member in the panel headed by Pranab Sen. He left the panel to express his protest against the crime against humanity that happened in JNU.
Shaheen Bagh is a place situated near the Jamia Miliyaa Islamiyaa. Students and people of that area together have transformed the area into a protest centre on permanent basis against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Citizenship Register. They are requesting us to form Shaheen Baghs throughout the nation that will enable the democracy-loving people to gather and to fight on behalf of the people. It is now our responsibility to build Shaheen Baghs everywhere.
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