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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Proletarian and revolutionary woman: "Anuradha Ghandy, the rebel"

From the Communist Blogs Network (RBC); with a translation to English by Google:

The Communist Blogs Network wants to commemorate Working Women's Day, the day of the woman who is at the forefront of the struggle against exploitation, remembering Anuradha Ghandy, a militant and naxalite leader and of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) .

Already at the University he joined the Progressive Youth Movement (PROYOM), which was inspired by the naxalite movement. She would later become one of the leaders of the civil liberties movement in Mumbai. In the mid-1990s, Anuradha entered the direction of the Naxalites in the jungles of Bastar, and finally went underground. At the 9th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2007, Anuradha was elected a member of the Central Committee.

Anuradha always played a very active role in the struggle for women's rights, against the caste system, and for her active role within the party and movement. Undoubtedly, Anuradha Gandhy is an example of a revolutionary proletarian woman, the woman who claims on this 8th of March, who fights side by side with her fellow men for the end of all exploitation of man by man whatever his gender , Your race or your nation.

" How is it possible that the daughter of a great lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bombay, graduated from the prestigious University of Elphinstone, and M.Phil in Sociology, a girl born in abundance, chose a life of struggle and hardship In the treacherous jungles of Bastar, accompanied by a rifle and a bed sheet? "

That is what is explained in the article translated by the blog member RBC, Cultura Proletaria , from the original Rahul Pandita in  Open the Magazine , which we share next

Up with the revolutionary proletarian woman!
Long live the working woman!
Glory to Anuradha Ghandy, a naxalite guerrilla!



She was born in abundance and could have chosen the easy life perfectly. But Anuradha Ghandy chose the path of arms rather than the path of roses, to fight for the oppressed.

On a sultry night in 2008, somewhere in Mumbai, a doctor desperately wanted to get in touch with his patient. The patient was a woman of about 50 years old, who had entered that morning with a high fever. The doctor had recommended doing some blood tests, and while watching the results, he tried to call a number that the patient had scribbled on a paper with an illegible handwriting. He quickly realized that the number did not exist. He was restless. The results revealed the presence of two deadly strains of malaria in the woman's bloodstream. She had to be admitted to the hospital without delay. Time was flying and she gave no sign.

When the woman returned to contact the doctor, it had been a few days. The doctor wanted to put her under intensive care immediately. But it was too late.

The next morning, April 12, Anuradha Ghandy was dead. He suffered multiple organ failure, his immune system was weakened by systemic scleroderma, an autoimmune disease responsible, among other things, for his bad handwriting.

The news spread rapidly among Anu's friends and followers, as they affectionately called her. Even before reaching Indora, a poor area of ​​Nagpur, where Anu had lived for seven years. This was before her name appeared in Ministry of Interior records such as Janaki, Narmada, or Varsha, the only woman on the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the main organ of the Naxalites.

How is it possible that the daughter of a great lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bombay, A graduate of the prestigious University of Elphinstone, and M.Phil in Sociology, a girl born in abundance, chose a life of struggle and hardship in the treacherous forests of Bastar, accompanied by a rifle and a sleeping sheet? The answer may be at the time in which he lived. Or the kind of person he was. Or maybe a little of both.

Anuradha is the daughter of Ganesh and Kumud Shanbag, both activists, who opted to marry at the headquarters of the Communist Party of India (PCI). As a young man, Ganesh Shanbag had to leave his home in Coorg to join Subhash Chandra Bose's army, and later, as a lawyer, he would fight alongside the communists arrested in the Telangana rebellion. While her briefcase was filled with petitions filed on behalf of the arrested comrades, Kumud was busy knitting sweaters for soldiers fighting in China.

Anuradha's brother, Sunil Shanbag, who is a progressive playwright, recalls that she was a good student and that as an extracurricular activity she liked to dance. But he was very aware of what was happening around him. Sunil said: "When I was in boarding school, He sent me letters, he wrote on topics such as the nationalization of banks.

She was only 12. "But beyond this realization, Anuradha was just like any other girl when she entered college in 1972." I would come home and fix my hair with the help of a hot iron, as girls did In those days, "recalls Kumud Shanbag," the beginning of the 1970s was intoxicating for young people. "Things were happening all over the world, Mao had inaugurated the Cultural Revolution in China, Vietnam showed fierce resistance to US forces. , The spring thunder of Naxalbari had exploded Hundreds of students from elite colleges quit their careers and joined the Naxalite movement Young people from wealthy families, Who had gone abroad to study higher education, became radicalized. One of them was a student of Doon's school, and classmate of Sanjay Gandhi. Kobad Ghandy's father was a senior Glaxo executive, and the family lived on a large oceanfront flat in Worli. He had gone to study accounting in England, and there he began in radical politics. Leaving his studies halfway, he returned.

Meanwhile, Anuradha had been giving lectures, but was dedicated to the Progressive Youth Movement (PROYOM), which was inspired by the Naxalite movement. She would later become one of the torchbearers of the civil liberties movement in Mumbai. It is more or less at that time when Anuradha and Kobad came into contact with each other. It is not clear who inspired whom, But soon they became "strong activists," as several friends they had in common said.

The two fell in love quickly and Kumud perfectly remembers the day Kobad visited them. "My husband was here in this chair," she points out, "and Kobad came, got down on his knees and said, 'Can I marry your daughter?'"

They were married in November 1977.

In 1980, the naxalite squadrons of the old Communist Party of India (ML) (People's War), entered Dandakaranya - a strip of forest that extends through Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Orissa - to establish a guerrilla base. In 1981, Party founder Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, Expressed his desire to meet Kobad during the conference of the Radical Students Union in Andhra Pradesh. The Party was anxious to enter Gadchiroli, Maharshtra region. The naxalite ideologist Varvara Rao said that the meeting between the two paved the way for the formation of the Party in Maharashtra.

The commitment of the couple was total. A year later, Anuradha moved to Nagpur, which had Maharashtra's second-largest marginal neighborhood, and also a significant number of Dalits (it was in Nagpur in October 1956 when BR Ambedkar accepted Buddhism). First he stayed in barsati (in a small one room apartment with terrace) in the Lakshmi Nagar area. Kumud recalls having visited her with her husband. "When we saw where he was staying, we could not believe it," Kumud said. The roof was damaged by many places. And that night it rained. "The assistant who was with us crawled to a table and slept there underneath," he recalls.

However, in 1986, Anuradha moved to Indora, north of Nagpur, the epicenter of Dalit policy. He rented two small rooms in the house of a postman, called Khushaal Chinchikhede. "There was absolutely nothing in his house except two shelves with books and an earthenware jar," he recalls. Anuradha also worked as a part-time teacher at Nagpur University. Later, Kobad would also live there. Both were out until midnight. Anuradha used a bicycle to get around, and it was later that, at the insistence of other activists, Kobad bought a TVS Champ motorcycle.

Indora was famous for the revolts. "No taxi driver or auto rickshaw driver would dare to get in there," says Anil Borkar, who grew up in Indora. But Anuradha was imperturbable. "I was passing by the district at midnight alone, on her bicycle," recalls Borkar. He met Anuradha through a friend. "She made me realize some things. It was as if a world opened up for me."

Due to the influence of Anuradha, Devanand Pantavne, black belt in karate, became poet and singer of a radical cultural group. Pantavne recalls that he was very demanding with deadlines. "He was very angry if we accepted a job and then we did not turn it in on time." Another young man, Surendra Gadling, was motivated by Anuradha to study law. Today, Defends cases of several naxalite activists and suspects. "She's the light that guides me," she says. And it's no accident. Anuradha was an example, he lived the life he wanted the basti youth to wear.

In 1994, a Dalit woman, Manorama Kamble, who worked as a servant at the home of an influential lawyer, was found dead, and the lawyer's family claimed that she had accidentally been electrocuted. But the activists suspected that she had been raped and then murdered by the lawyer. Anuradha led the revolt, and it was thanks to his efforts that the case was brought to the state assembly and to Parliament.

In Indora, one of Anuradha's trusted men was Biwaji Badke, a four-foot-tall Dalit activist. " Every morning Badke went to his house and shared all the news with Anuradha while they were having tea, "his friends remember. Later, when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, Anuradha took him home and took care of him for months. , Shoma Sen, recalls that he was very sensitive to others. "His house in Indora was open to everyone. Every time someone came, I added another cup of water to the tea, "he recalls.

Thanks to her and her influence, many others from wealthy families became activists. Her old friend and fellow activist Susan Abraham said, "When I became an activist, I was always excited to see people from the Anu circle working with us."

It was in the mid-1990s when Anuradha entered the direction of the Naxalites in the jungles of Bastar, and finally went underground. Maina, a member of the Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), recalls her efforts to mingle with the local tribes of Gond: "Many people questioned Didi (Anuradha), saying that she was not of this Didi approached them with a smile, saying: 'I know what you want, please teach me your language, I will learn all of you.' "

Life in the jungle is very hard. The guerrillas are always in movement, from one town to another, carrying heavy provisions. Anuradha did not shy away from difficulties; Did everything the guerrillas did. A naxalite leader who was in Bastar when she first arrived recalled that she spared no effort in the military exercises: running, dragging, doing push-ups, jobs, etc. Maina said, "She slipped and fell many times while walking in the mud, but she got up and laughed."

In 1999, Anuradha camped alongside other guerrillas in the village of Sarkengudem in Chhattisgarh, when they were surrounded by police. There was a meeting. Lahar, a high-ranking guerrilla, remembers that Anuradha took position and aimed with its weapon to the 'enemy'. I would always remember this incident, urging the younger ones to learn the skills of guerrilla warfare. However, Sunil remembers her talking about the "strange thing about carrying a gun".

Life in the jungle did not make it easy for her body. He suffered frequent bouts of malaria. In the same summer, one day he walked for hours, when he stopped and lost consciousness. His comrades made him drink water with glucose. He had suffered sunstroke. "After recovering, he refused to let others carry his luggage," recalls Lahar.

When southern Bastar was affected by a severe drought in 1998-99, tribes were forced to eat rice, which Maina said: "I had more stones than grain." The same rice was also offered to the guerrillas, who ate it with tamarind paste. "We ate handful after handful drinking a lot of water, it took a long time to finish the meal," recalls Maina. He also developed ulcers in the stomach. "

Anuradha also took on the responsibility of building new models of learning for women. He had regularly received classes on the problems facing the guerrillas, and he wrote and translated Naxalite propaganda material. He prepared pictures with pictures of political leaders and explained the international issues to the local illiterate population. At times, he also lectured on health problems.

In the midst of all this, Anuradha made secret trips to Mumbai. "When I came, I applied oil in her hair and massaged her body. I wanted to pamper her as much as I could," Kumud said.

"The most amazing thing was that she always knew more about us than about movies and other popular cultures," said Sunil. During the staging of one of his pieces in Mumbai, Anuradha entered, saw the work and left silently. "Only later did I know that she had been there," Sunil said.

At the 9th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2007, Anuradha was elected a member of the Central Committee. At that time, Kobad had become one of the main Naxalite leaders, responsible for the documentation of the Party. (He was arrested in Delhi on 20 September).

Drawing on the work of Anuradha, the Naxalites prepared the first political document on the question of caste within the Marxist movement in India. He also wrote his "Marxism and Feminism", of which the Naxalite leaders took note.

During his time in Dandakaranya, Anuradha helped the guerrillas overcome the limitations of collective labor by making them realize that cooperatives had to play their part in increasing agricultural production.

At Bastar, Anuradha questioned the patriarchal ideas that prevailed in the Party. At the time of her death, she was working with female cadres in designing plans that would help them take on more responsibilities. It was in Jharkhand, while teaching tribes questions about the oppression of women, Where he contracted cerebral malaria, which led to his death.

In his memoirs, his friend Jyoti Punwani wrote, "The 'naxalita threat,' said Manmohan Singh, is the greatest threat to the country. I only remember a girl who was always smiling and gave up a life well-off in every way To change the lives of others. "

In Nagpur, I told Chinchikhede to open the rooms that Anuradha had occupied. All that remained of those times was a sticker on Bhagat Singh's door. It was late, and the sky had crimson. A comrade who was with me lay down on the floor, the soil that was so familiar to him.

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