Born 1949 June 1 – Died on 2021 Sep 29
Com.P.Suryanarayana, President, Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights-OPDR, Andhra Pradesh (AP).
Nearly 25 leaders of Girijan, rural poor, teachers, and other organisations paid rich and revolutionary tributes to Com.PSN in an inspiring meeting to pay homage to him held on 10th October 2021 in Srikakulam and that indicates the love and respect he earned from different sections of people.
Inspired by a revolutionary Programme, Line, Movement and Organisation, ‘Suryanarayana master’ as he was called by many, had extended remarkable services to various people’s revolutionary movements, in particular of teachers and Girijans, that worked closely in Srikakulam adivasi movement, aided by OPDR. Minutes before his death, he was speaking to an activist on problems of the movement. Thus PSN was an inseparable product and later, an activist and leader of these movements. His life has a message for grass-root level activists.
This writer was closely associated with PSN in the course of his many visits to the adivasi movement areas and conferences he was connected with. Thus a recap of his life is inseparable from mass movements in which we worked together.
There are thousands of comrades in India who completely dedicated and sacrificed their lives exclusively to work in the people’s revolutionary movements. People’s revolutionary struggles and movements can not be expected to be successfully built without such comrades.
Similarly, the success of people’s movements requires also such comrades who worked part-time, who identify with, understand and support a correct revolutionary line, movement and organisation and contribute their mite for the cause of such movements, though not by dedicating their entire time and energy exclusively for the movement, but, by dedicating considerable amount of their valuable time and energy to work for the movements whilst on one hand leading their personal and family life as usual. In fact the present people’s revolutionary movement India is in profound need of such comrades in more numbers.
Com.P.Suryanarayana, who recently passed away on 2021 September 29, and who was till then working as the AP State President of -OPDR, was a great comrade of such kind. Federation of Independent Trade Unions-FITU pays its rich tributes to com.PSN and places on record its deep condolences at the sudden demise of the respected leader.
Com.PSN stood as an inspiration to several leaders and activists with his best characteristics of truthfulness, frankness, discipline, honesty, humility and simplicity. Love for people, deep understanding about the people’s problems, vehement opposition against the injustice and atrocities on people, strong desire to fight against such injustices and atrocities and zealous effort to stand by the struggling masses formed his nature.
I am personally and closely associated with Com.PSN. We together participated in several activities and meetings in connection with the struggles of people. I was always astonished at his inquisitiveness to learn about the national and international political and economic developments and about various people’s movements going on in the country.
He had a good sense of humour and was trying to explain to the people about the anti-people policies of the governments with some satire. He travelled to and stayed in small tribal hamlets in hilly regions without asking for any facilities. The fact that he underwent angioplasty in 2007 and a heart surgery in 2009 did not deter him from actively participating in the activities of people’s movements. He was quite regular in doing Yoga and exercises like walking. He was survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, son-in-law, daughters-in-law and grand children. His wife and other family members are also kind and affectionate persons and they extended good help to him to carry out his activities. FITU shares their grief caused by the sudden demise of Com.PSN and takes pledge to continue to work for the success of people’s revolutionary movements taking inspiration from the ideals, life and work of Com.PSN.
PSN worked and retired as a Govt. school teacher but simultaneously and continuously he worked also in the people’s movements, particularly among Teachers, Girijans (STs) and Democratic Rights movements; village-level school teachers had live connections with rural people.
He was born on 1st June 1949 in Ippalavalasa village located on the way from Bobbili to Parvathipuram in the present Vizianagaram district of AP. He studied Telugu Bhashapraveena in Maharaja Sanskrit College at Vizianagaram during 1968-72 and later in 1980 did MA(Telugu) through distant education from Andhra University. He joined as a village school Teacher in 1974 and retired in 2007.
He performed his duties as a teacher for 33 years with utmost sincerity and commitment and strove hard for implementing higher and better values and standards of education, within the scope permitted in the system. Having an in-depth understanding of the subject he taught, he could make a very good imprint on his students with his attractive methods of teaching that always inculcated also social consciousness among them. He firmly stood against corrupt practices in education like government itself encouraging copying in the examinations for the sake of records of higher pass-percentage and he had to face many threats and difficulties in this connection.
Since the very beginning of his career as a teacher, Com.PSN developed good connections with the organisers of teachers’ movement and started to work in that movement. These connections served as motivation for him to further participate in various revolutionary people’s movements. Besides, since childhood, he had the nature of fighting against injustices and atrocities. He worked in Andhra Pradesh Teachers Federation, APTF (Regd No 1938) for a long time and discharged responsibilities of leadership ranging from an ordinary activist to chief leader at district level. He actively participated in several district and state level agitations.
PSN strongly detested and opposed various wrong trends – in Teachers’ movement and organisations, particularly at the level of leadership – such as opportunism, casteism, regionalism and careerism. He earnestly desired that the Teachers’ movement should overcome all these wrong trends and develop in a right path. He did his best in that direction.
Com.PSN had been greatly educated and inspired by communist revolutionary ideology, specifically by the revolutionary programme, path and practice developed by the great communist revolutionaries of India, Com.D.V.Rao and Com.T.Nagireddy Reddy. He firmly believed till his last breath that the Indian people’s revolution would certainly be successful with the correct line developed by Com.D.V. and Com.T.N. His close association with the movement and organisation developed by these leaders greatly influenced him to devote much of his valuable time and energy for the cause of people’s revolutionary movements.
In this process, Com.PSN understood that the people of our country still have to fight for democratic rights including the right to struggle for achieving their just demands. He therefore actively participated in the democratic rights movement led by OPDR beginning with his attending to a convention of OPDR in 1982 at Budumuru Village in Srikakulam district till his death. He took the responsibility of the AP state leadership of OPDR in the capacity of its state president in 2017 and sincerely discharged the said responsibility till he breathed his last. Just minutes before he died, he discussed over telephone with a leader of Girijan Sangham regarding certain activities to be taken up in support of the people’s struggle for land in Garlapadu village.
PSN with the democratic rights movement and Srikakulam adivasi movement revived after 1990
Needless to say, the Srikakulam revolutionary Adivasi movement had a great influence on several people, particularly teachers and writers, and Com.PSN was also one among them. I was in my childhood when that movement was being drowned in blood during early 1970s. But decades later, I had occasion to see it revived and expanded; I heard of the first generation leaders (Vempatapu etc); and later I was meeting and speaking to many of its leaders and activists (see photos below), some of who are no more, but left behind the movement that is alive for about 60 years. I met PSN, a middle class teacher, among these leaders and activists with whom he identified so intimately and in the activities of this Girijan movement.
(Photos, along with an article, were earlier published, on 28/07/2019, by countercurrents.org.
CRs led by DV and TN, post-1967, headed and activated the Srikakulam Girijana Sangham (SGS) that was founded in late 1950s, and played a stellar role in the adivasi peasant mass movement, which however was later (around 1969) hijacked by Charu Majumdarites. The Girijan revolutionary movement was drowned in blood and suppressed by 1972-73; about 350 comrades, many of them adivasis, were killed in encounters by the government, and were mostly unreported. OPDR guided by TN and DV did a pioneering field work and published a Fact-Finding Report that detailed all the encounters and names of martyrs. Com.PSN was greatly influenced and fascinated by this revolutionary movement and firmly resolved to devote his time and energy in the activities connected to reorganizing this movement.
The Srikakulam Girijan revolutionary movement was not to be extinguished with the worst repression unleashed by the government. It was re-orgnized and is being continued till date by Communist revolutionaries.
As part of inobjective, exaggerated and biased accounts particularly with regard to movements, organisations and persons in Telugu states, one report stated:
“His loss possibly caused a dent in the Girijan Sangham blossoming to the full. It is sad we hardly even hear about any constructive movement led by the organization today…”.
The reference was about Nimmala Krishna Murthy, one of the Sangham’s leaders, who died in later 1990s. it was further written:
“it is a regret that today in very few areas in India does true practice of mass agrarian revolutionary mass line blossom…”
However, the objective reality is otherwise. UCCRI-ML, the communist revolutionary (CR) organisation founded and developed by Com.D.V.Rao and Com.T.N (1917-1976), had done a great work in building and re-building the revolutionary mass movements and mass organisations, as opposed to Right opportunism and Left extremism.
Com.D.V.Rao (1917-84) in early 1980s, guided and gave a call to revive and re-organising the Srikakulam adivasi movement along the agrarian revolutionary mass line. The non-revolutionary Right wing inside UCCRI broke away.
The Srikakulam adivasi movement that was revived and developed with painstaking efforts by CRs of UCCRI amid repression and Black laws, witnessed an upsurge by 1990, spread to more than 150 village panchayats and around 600 hamlets. Around 10,000 acres of land was occupied and cultivated by and is in possession of landless peasants, including adivasi masses. The movement was sustained and continued for decades. Landless peasants led by Girijan Sangham in adivasi tracts and Grameena Pedala Sangham (GPS) elsewhere, fought for their rights including land. The movement has been continuing at present also. Militant anti-feudal land struggles by tribal and non-tribal poor under the banners of Girijan Sangham and Grameena Pedala Sangham were organised encountering severe repression unleashed by the state and land lords and thousands of acres of land under the illegal occupation of land lords was distributed among the poor. Thousands of tribal and non-tribal poor have been mobilised into this movement. Struggles for land in some of these villages are still continuing.
While some old leaders like Nimmala Krishna Murty and Vempatapu Bharati became inactive and joined ruling class parties like TDP, some other adivasi leaders of 1970 period became active again in this phase and played a great role until their last breath: Among them were Arika Gumpa Swamy (who at age 70 died in 2013, while being the SGS President; he was imprisoned for 6 years, but was undeterred), Biddika Radho (who at age 80 died in 2013), Nookanna Dora (died in 2006), and non-adivasi leaders like Gedela Raminaidu (died at age 67 in 2012; active since his 16th year, he was jailed for 7 years but was undeterred), and BVN Patnaik (now 80 plus but still very active heading the GPS-AP, and hundreds of new cadres were born and trained in this movement. They would go by walk, travelling 20 to 40 kms, to hamlets and to attend meetings, agitations etc. where I had occasion to see them invariably along with Com.PSN.
Com.PSN has been inspired by this revolutionary work of reorganising the revolutionary Girijan movement and he extended valuable services to the same movement.
In quite contrast to many retired employees, instead of personally enjoying the retired life and taking rest at home, he was closely associated with this; his home was open to these activists; his wife was also sympathetic to them. He was with Girijan movement without any hesitations after he retired from his employment as teacher. He actively participated in the activities of the Girijan movement. He strenuously toured several tribal villages, even without caring his heart-ailment, in support of people’s struggle for land and democratic rights and participated with much enthusiasm and excitement in many meetings and other activities.
It was in this phase in 1982 PSN had attended a District conference of OPDR, was greatly influenced by the CR and adivasi movements, and never looked back. He was a silent associate even as he was in govt. service.
In 2013, GPS (Organization for Rural Poor) had a massive 3-day conference at Warangal, attended by thousands of rural poor, including hundreds of women, who joined a massive procession in mid-summer. PSN was closely moving with the delegation from Srikakulam, who had travelled for about 700 kms. Next day he was angry with the media who almost ignored the conference. He wondered and had said: You cover in big detail the visit of a flimsy cinema actor but do not see these fighting masses. Is this how the media sees suffering people? Is this the democratic value you uphold? This was typical of his identification with the rural poor and his approach to democracy.
Com.PSN had a staunch belief that development of full-fledged friendly relations between India and China is a must for defeating imperialism and is necessary for the benefit of the people of both countries. He participated in the India-China friendship movement led by India-China Friendship Association, ICFA. He used to state that active participation in the struggles of oppressed people, without just confining himself only to the Teachers’ movement, gave him immense pleasure and satisfaction. Nearly 25 number of leaders of Girijan, rural poor, teachers, and other organisations paid rich and revolutionary tributes to Com.PSN in an inspiring meeting to pay homage to him held on 10th October 2021 in Srikakulam and that indicates the love and respect he earned from different sections of people. More such meetings were planned to be held in other districts of the state.
Red Salutes to Com.P.Suryanarayana!
Ch.S.N.Murthy is a Trade Union Leader and General Secretary of Federation of Independent Trade Unions-FITU, Andhra Pradesh. He contributed some related articles to countercurrents.org.