Comrade Dilip Mondol

Veteran revolutionary leader Comrade Dilip Mondol (Probodh Bardhan) breathed his last at around 8 am today on 22 November 2013 at Sangamahal village (Shyampur-B colliary), Nirsa area of Dhanbad district. He was around 70. He was a member of the Jharkhand State Committee of the party.

After passing his junior engineer training Comrade Probodh Bardhan had joined Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in West Bengal as a supervisor. He spent his early childhood and got his primary education in Comillah, now in Bangladesh. Thereafter his father shifted to Behala, Kolkata, where he continued with his education. It was in Chittaranjan that he came into contact with Naxalbari movement. A very popular leader among co-workers, he led workers’ militant movements within the CLW before he became underground and left his service in 1972 and started working as a whole timer among coal workers in Kumardhubi area of Dhanbad.

To integrate with coalworkers he himself joined a coalmine as worker and soon assumed leadership of trade union activities. It was then he took the name of Dilip Mondol as a cover and started residing in Sangamahal village of Nirsa area. However, this cover was to become his real identity and the family he lived with became his real family for the rest of life.

He undertook fractional work within Bihar Colliery Kamgar Union led by AK Roy and soon became a very popular leader, in fact one of its top leaders. After 1973, when the Party got disintegrated, he lost contact but never went back and still continued to work among coalworkers on his own. In 1978 he renewed his contact with the Party and took an active role in building Party organization from scratch in Dhanbad district. Since then he has served in different responsibilities in Jharkhand and became a member of its State Committee and Standing Committee.

Comrade Dilip was a hardworking revolutionary full of initiative who considered no difficulty as insurmountable. He strictly followed the principle of plain living and high thinking and was a model of self-sacrifice. He integrated himself fully with the masses he was working among and adopted their language and style of living so closely that he became one among them.

A revolutionary of the first Naxalbari generation, Comrade Dilip was always prepared to go anywhere to assume any responsibility entrusted by the Party, even if it was to build an organization from a scratch. He was sent to Santhal Pargana region and there he started developing the Party organization. He was instrumental in the Party’s expansion in the Dumka and Jamtara districts and the Santhal Pargana region as a whole. He gave energetic and inspiring leadership in struggles of sharecroppers and resistance to corporate landgrab.

It was there that he, along with a promising young leader Babudhan Kisku, contracted the fatal disease of cerebral malaria before the 8th Congress of CPI(ML). While Comrade Babudhan could not survive, Comrade Dilip could not recover fully from the attack and his health deteriorated day by day. Later he developed Parkinson’s Disease that made him nearly immobile and he had to stay at his home in Sangamahal. He attended the Charu Bhawan inauguration ceremony held in Delhi and recently the 9th Congress of our Party braving his illness. But at last he suffered a stroke and died of heart failure.

Comrade Dilip’s untimely demise is a great loss of the Party and with his departure the Party lost one more valuable and longstanding asset of the first Naxalbari generation.

The sad news of Comrade Dilip’s demise has sent a wave of grief among comrades throughout the Party. His example will continue to inspire comrades to accept every challenge and build the communist movement in the most tough of conditions.

Comrade Ramdev Yadav

CPI(ML) leader Comrade Ramdev Yadav was shot dead on 11 November by assailants in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district. The armed assailants barged into Comrade Ramdev’s house and shot him dead while he was asleep. His home is close to the University police station. Comrade Ramdev, aged 60, was the CPI(ML)’s town committee member and veteran AICCTU leader (Vice President of the district’s AICCTU unit).

In protest against this heinous murder of Comrade Ramdev Yadav, the CPI(ML) called a Bhagalpur bandh. Schools, as well as streets and markets, remained closed in response to this bandh call. Comrade Ramdev was known to have taken up a range of struggles of the oppressed and downtrodden, and to have exposed instances of corruption and high-handedness of the local administration. Like Comrade Bhaiyyaram Yadav of Rohtas, Comrade Ramdev Yadav too has been targeted and eliminated at the behest of the powerful and corrupt.

Red Salute to Comrade Ramdev Yadav !

Dr. Arun

Dr. Arun, 57, a veteran member of the CPI(ML) who was a practicing doctor in Delhi, suddenly passed away in a private nursing home. He was being treated there for fever and pain, and it seems that a severe brain haemorrhage failed to be detected till it was too late. He was diabetic and also suffering from hypertension.

Dr. Arun was associated with the party since the 1980s. He always remained closely concerned with the Party’s work in Delhi. He was always eager to extend all sorts of medical help to comrades.

He got his medical degree from BHU. He used to go from Delhi to his native village in Gaya district for at least a fortnight in a year to offer free medical aid to his fellow villagers. Since he was a gynaecologist, this free medical aid was invaluable to rural women, since there is a complete absence of skilled gynaecological care in rural Bihar and India.

The entire party is grieved by Dr. Arun’s untimely demise and expresses deep condolences to his bereaved wife and son.

Long Live Dr. Arun!

Comrade Mahesh

Born in a poor peasant family, Bechu Ram (popularly known in the party and among the people as Comrade Mahesh) was extremely hard-working and committed activist strongly grounded in working class consciousness.

During the Emergency, Comrade Mahesh came into contact with revolutionary comrades, and he became a party member in 1978-79. He played an important role in organising agricultural labourers and peasants and leading many struggles in Lakhimpur Kheri and Pilibhit districts of Uttar Pradesh. He also worked in Deoria district for a time, and had been a member of the UP State Committee, and former secretary of the Pilibhit District Committee.

Jailed for long periods in the course of struggles, he organised prisoners in jail as well, raising their issues and pressurising the jail administration to comply with their just demands. A cheerful and enthusiastic comrade, Comrade Mahesh’s good cheer never dimmed even during the long periods of incarceration in jail. He remained fearless in extremely unfavourable situations. Ever ready to work anywhere that the party required him to, he had been ready to begin working in Sultanpur district recently, but his poor health did not permit him to do so.

He suffered his first heart attack on 2004. Comrades took pains to ensure timely treatment and he recovered. But the disease retained hold of him nevertheless. In spite of his illness, he remained active and committed. Recently, doctors installed a pacemaker in his heart and he triumphed for a while over the disease.

On November 3, he fell extremely ill and was rushed to AIIMS in Delhi and admitted there. In spite of the doctors’ best efforts, he passed away on November 18th at 11.50 pm. His loss is a huge blow to the entire party.

A memorial meeting for him was held on November 20th at which party PB member Ramji Rai, State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav, Central Committee member Krishna Adhikari, senior leader Allauddin Shastri, advocate Kishanlal, Comrades Raja Bahuguna (CCM), Bahadur Singh Jangi KK Bora from Uttarakhand, Lakhimpur Kheri district committee members Jawahar, Ramdular Bharti and other comrades paid him tribute. His mortal remains were cremated at ahul Nagar (Pilibhit). Comrade Mahesh’s commitment, his courage, and unshakeable faith in the party and the people are an example for us all. Long live Comrade Mahesh!

Omprakash Valmiki

Noted Hindi litterateur, revolutionary thinker and author of world-famous autobiography Joothan, Omprakash Valmiki is no more. His untimely demise is an irreparable loss to Indian literature committed to democratic values and social change. Born on 30 June 1950 in Barla of Muzaffarnagar district in U.P., he had been fighting cancer for the past few years and was to have undergone a kidney surgery, but the operation could not be done as his immune system had become too weak. After treatment in Delhi, he was brought to Max hospital in Dehradun where he passed away on 17 November. Apart from Joothan, his other notable works are Salaam, Ghuspaithiye, Ab Aur Nahin, Safayi Devta, Dalit Sahitya ka Saundaryashastra, Dalit Sahitya: Anubhav, Sangharsh Evam Yatharth, Sadiyon ka Santaap, and Bas Bahut Ho Chuka.

Literary, cultural, and socio-political movements against oppression and inequality have lost a true comrade in Shri Valmiki. Hindi literature as well as the literature of other Indian languages cannot be called truly progressive and people-oriented without the realistic and heartrending portrayal of dalit life which came into Hindi literature through his writings. His literary and critical works hold permanent significance not only for Hindi literature but for all Indian literature. Always struggling against Brahminism, feudalism, capitalism and gender bias, he made an important contribution towards making Indian literature democratic and pro-people.

Valmikiji threw light on the necessity, strengths and contradictions of dalit literature. Fighting discrimination and oppression against human beings on the basis of caste, feudalism and capitalism, he was ever concerned with unifying the weak, dalit and marginalized sections of society. His autobiography Joothan has a poignant scene where the boy Omprakash enters, dusty and blood-spattered, with a bundle of animal skins on his head, when his mother weeps and his sister-in-law cries out in anguish, “Don’t make him do this! We will remain hungry…but don’t drag him into this filth!” At the end of the autobiography he writes, “I have come out of that filth, but there are myriads still forced to live that despicable life.” All his works are concerned with freedom for those forced to live in inhuman socio-economic conditions and the ‘dalit aesthetics’ he demanded is also concerned with ensuring human dignity for the marginalized. We reiterate our commitment towards his dreams and struggles for the empowerment of the dalits and the marginalized sections, and pays tribute to him with his own words:

We of this generation have engraved struggle on

Our breast,

No flood of tears shall course down

Our cheeks,

But the spark of revolt shall light up

Our eyes,

Rising smoke from burning hutments shall give strength to

Our clenched fists

To shape our own history anew.