By Ch SN Murthy and Dr S. Jatin Kumar
We are grieved to learn and inform the sad news that Com. PS Hochimin ( 51) died June 17 morning in Thrissur, Kerala. He fell sick some weeks ago, his friend reported, subsequently tested Covid positive, developed complications, hospitalized, and died. His last rites were conducted as per Covid protocol.
We convey our Red Salutes to com Hochimin. We condole his death and convey our deep feelings to his family and friends.
We knew him for the last 15 years, and cherish his memory.
Hochimin, born to parents Sri Sekharan and Smt saratha, was born on 9/5/1970. He completed his MA from Calicut University. Born and brought up in a working class family of Thrissur, he was a typical hard worker who had to toil for his livelihood with no regular job. Covid and related Lockdown were a double burden to him as to so many millions of toilers. He was doing odd jobs, in particular dredging, for which he travelled all across Kerala. The economic crisis had a telling effect on him, more so after Covid, and he suffered like lakhs of toiling people. His family had a small piece of paddy-land near Thrissur, and he used to work on it to meet part of his expenditure.
He left behind his aged parents, siblings, wife and two children. The first child, then aged 4-5, died of eye cancer a few years ago, and that caused agony in his life. Others in the family were also covid positive.
Hochimin hailed from a working class family of Thrissur; he was introduced to late Com AV Aryan (former communist MLA from Thrissur district representing Ollur constituency, who had met comrades DV Rao and TN too during 1970-1975 period) by his father, a trade union activist who was a follower of com Aryan. His very name suggests the communist tradition of his father, inspired by the Vietnamese struggle of 1960-70s, and its victory in 1975.
Young Hochimin had developed interest in Marxism, particularly had an aptitude for its philosophy with a stress on dialectical materialism. He learnt to study Marxism, spent years with the learned Com Aryan who used to take his assistance in copying notes and other materials, and this helped to train Hochimin in Marxism. He had college-level education, with history as a subject, and that enabled him to study more. He had a good idea of history and politics of Kerala, in particular the ups and downs of the Left.
In course of time, young Hochimin realized about the Right opportunist trends in Marxist politics, differed with com Aryan, but had cordial personal relations that were maintained with Aryan’s family even after his demise. He was in India China Friendship Association, ICFA Kerala unit, then led by late com Kosala Ramdas, former mayor of Thiruvanantapuram. He came in contact with UCCRI-ML founded by comrades DV Rao and T. Nagi Reddy, and in course of time became a strong supporter of the revolutionary mass line they had developed and practiced, in particular their thrust on agrarian revolution.
Despite limited means, he travelled all the way by train without reservation, from Kerala and attended conferences: of India China Friendship Association-ICFA at Hyderabad (2006 April), of Grameena Pedala Sangham (GPS-Organization of Rural Poor) at Warangal (2013 April) and Vijayawada (2015 April), attended by thousands of people from across (undivided) Andhra Pradesh, apart from fraternal delegates from several states. He was sharply opposed to Left adventurism, kept away from opportunist factionalism, and was impressed by the mass line and mass movements. He along with a friend presented to GPS conference a brief report on the plight of the oppressed masses of Kerala. He had a dream that such a mass movement is badly needed in present-day Kerala that is lost in opportunist parliamentary Left politics, and other small Left factions that were getting isolated from people in the absence of sustained mass work.
He was a silent, unassuming worker, had a good circle of friends, Leftists and democrats, in Kerala, particularly in and around Thrissur, and was known for his sincere commitment for the cause of the oppressed people. He was an optimist who silently carried on these activities even while struggling for his livelihood.
He was the key man who helped organize two meetings (see below) in Thrissur Sahitya Academy Hall, to stimulate re-thinking the politics in Kerala. Both of us, invited by Hochimin and his friends, had the opportunity to speak and present our views, which he believed would stimulate re-thinking politics.
- 2017 August 16, to mark the occasion of Quit India-75. It reviewed the history and politics of Quit India, which became a controversy in every political organization, horizontally and vertically, from far Right to far Left. DV Rao made a unique review, which Hochimin wanted the Leftists to know. (For more on this, see link below)
- 2019 October 26, a meet on Punnapra Vayalar-Telangana: History and Lessons. Despite tall claims by the Kerala Left, it never was prepared to understand the agrarian revolutionary character of Punnapra-vayalar, and it admittedly remained an unfinished task, and ditched the landless poor of Kerala, he felt. For a little intro to this meet, see link below.
Hochimin desired to compare and contrast the two, and invited us to speak on the revolutionary perspective of Telangana (1946-51), which the Kerala Left, neither CPI, CPM nor CPI- ML groups, ever allowed to reach the Kerala comrades, beyond verbal claims about its legacy.
Hochimin desired to introduce, to Kerala comrades, Telangana’s Unique place In Indian Communist Movement, and expose the distortions made by the parliamentary Left, by misusing the name of Stalin. He also helped bring out a booklet by DV Rao (translated by veteran Com Gouridasan Nair) in Malayalam. He was a silent worker who helped the cause he believed. See the relevant links below on the subject.
He desired to promote education of communist ranks in Kerala. Efforts to fulfill his desire is the best tribute we can pay to him.
Red salutes to com Hochimin!
Ch.S.N.Murthy is a Trade Union Leader, General Secretary of Federation of Independent Trade Unions, FITU from Andhra Pradesh. He is a functionary of UCCRI-ML founded by veteran communist revolutionaries D.V.Rao and T.Nagireddy. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Dr S. Jatin Kumar is a practicing orthopedic surgeon. He is associated with India China Friendship Association-ICFA as joint secretary Telangana state unit.
Both have contributed articles to countercurrents.org .