I belonged or rather made myself belong to the SFI Movement in college - always believing that I was a Communist at heart - but am I is the big question that comes to me today. Was I accepted or rather did I feel I belonged? Well the answer is a Direct NO. Why so . Well the answer to that Why will come later (if at all I dont stray away as I usually does with thoughts). Where did I first hear about Marxism and Communists or Socialists. Well from my father. Did I hear a lot -Oh no I dint . Do I know a lot now. Not at all. All I know is still just 4 or 5 names and some of them a result of Economics I did in school for 3 years. I did not think I had to educate myself with names and history. Whenever I think it is a shame not to know enough I pick up a book but somehow or the other they don't interest me as much as I thought it would (I would rather say maybe I am not able to comprehend the thoughts and writings- If I in spite of my education cannot , I wonder how the working class understood the high ideals as spoken by Marx , Lenin and the rest --Maybe as is heard that was where the movement failed. The divide between intellectual thought and working class comprehension of the high thoughts. It could also be that they don't strike me as effective as other thoughts does. Filtering done by brain to respond to only situations I am familiar or rather fond of). Coming back to the only man I knew was a Communist in the circle of my relations and friends - My Father.
From the time I knew how to understand things happening in the family I knew my father belonged to a Party and whatever it was at that time , all I knew was that he was never home. From my age 4 until 11 , he was in Palaghat & Malappuram on deputation (a result of the changing Government and my fathers deep rooted principle not to use influence to come back home when his party was in power). During the years he was home , many a day was spent in the party offices and in meetings. He never spoke or discussed ideologies. Why ? I do not know. Maybe he wanted to keep it within himself. Maybe it was a deal between my amma and him. Mother was a practical lady and stuck to her ideologies and beliefs and never once tried to change appa . She always listened. Now why did I speak of Change and having to change. I forgot. My appa happens to be the first (maybe last too) Catholic in his village to ever be a comrade (The hungama it created is a story of its own) even though as a teenager he resented EMS and his land reform act that resulted in his father losing a lot of land to offer the landless. Friends and family and the religious did spend some many days praying, thinking God would change his mind.......All to no effect at that time, though I think the prayers were answered after some 35 or so years later.
No Marxist ideologies or philosophies were discussed t home. No pictures of Karl Marx or AKG hung on the walls. " The Manifesto of the Communist party" in itself was not there. So naturally I grew up not knowing any of these revolutionary ideologies or the founders of these thoughts that moved nations to progress and deterioration at the same time. Thoughts and heroes who were revered by many and shunned by the majority. A class and label apart was it to be a Communist. Then what made me feel that I am a Communist myself (after going to church every Sunday). Indirect Influence of family! You grow up influenced by lots and lots of people but the major influential part is played by close family members..Appa and amma. You become indirectly a reflection of what your parents are.....No doubt about that (however much we try to argue).
What drove this thought in me that I am a Communist (A safe thought when you are a child , but difficult as you grow up becoz as you grow you are subject to questions you have to answers. failure to answer mudrakuttofies you as a duffer. I want to belong to a world where I dont have to provide answers for falling in love). What all did I see growing up , if not seeing the pictures or hearing philosophy.
Visibility lay in the fact that :
1. We had " deshabhimani" newspaper at home along with Mathrubhumi. One was to serve his kooru towards party and the other becoz he wanted an unbiased account of events. The party usually tends to become blind and may not provide the facts through a moderates eye.
2.His transfer and being away from home for 7 long years. (When all 3 of his daughters were taken care of single handedly by my mother, with his once in a month intervention)
3. Part meetings and late home comings.
4. There was this one time when I accompanied him for sticking Party poster in office (Just once , but I still remember it , with a swell of pride--hahah)
5. His standing outside church in the parking lot during Christmas & Easter nights. The only 2 nights he came anywhere near a church because he had to take us for midnight mass. He did enter churches when he went to his hometown (still puzzles me). Never restricted us from going to church , but there was always a discord between appa and amma when it came to Sunday school and the teachings. He used to disapprove the notion of any of us being too pious. Maybe he did not like the teachings that taught and acted differently. That resulted in me actually sitting different grades many a time and knowing only basic prayers, whereas my pious friends would be knowing lots and lots of things. That sort of was a good thing. I may still not know prayers , but I knew what I wanted of the church. Action/ helping others and not words / preaching is my doctrine (influenced by my amma).
6. He never took a bribe (My Mom was not a communist , but I would atttribute her to be a socialist and a better one at that ,than my appa--hahah.......Marxism as is seen today is all talks my very limited experience too) If there is something I love about him , then it is this. Otherwise I would never have been able to hold my head high and walk.
7.He had amassed a ton of knowledge during his years in CDS and kaaryavattom by reading and with interactions with other comrades of learning. To this day I think whatever he amassed then and thru daily newspapers is all that you can call his wealth. None of which got transmitted (:))
He is an Economist.
Now I know the answer to what I was seeking. He made all 3 of us take Economics in school (8th thru 10th and ICSE Economics pretty much covers BA 1st level Standards). It was the study of Economics that must have sowed the seeds of what I call my thinking that I am a Communist.
Marx , his theories on wealth , topics on poverty , food problem , land reforms , labour, capital economies-capitalistic, socialistic, mixed ,, demand and supply chains and all the concepts thats economy related was learnt and chewed upon.
So now I deviate from how I would describe my belief came about to what happened to the belief I held in the later years. I was 16 or 17 when I read Mother by Maxim Gorky for the first time. That was introduction to the concept. It remained there for many years :0 .Animal farm came years later. That was ignorance and lack of a guiding force. But do I complain. No I don't. I think its important that we discover ourselves than let othes guide us. If we let others to guide us explicitly , we become mere followers who do not think and becomes afraid to voice opinions. I am glad my father never spoke a word or tried to influence but let me grow up the way I wanted to. To accept any principle or become a follower of any "ism" I felt worth choosing.
By now I was old. I was in the last year of my teenage (sort of 2nd yr at college).In spite of belonging to a rich family and not being subjected to any attrocities , I was a youth whose blood boiled when I thought of inequality and suppression and etc. At that young age - sexual assaults , rich - poor divide and many such things made me a rebel in my mind. The Extremists (Lala Lajpat Rai is one another persons whose ideologies I embraced. The extremists movement. Rani Laxmi Bhai also. I think Naxal movies influenced me. The Naxals in Kerala were my heroes. Looting the bursting exploiting rich to help the poor. How I used to wish I was one of them then. (I do not know if I still believe so). So more or less these were the feelings within me. Did these feelings have a knowledge backed base? No! Again I always give importance to what comes naturally from within me , than what comes as a result of education/ pruning of the thought process , for I think I deliver my best when I am natural. So it is with all this that I entered 2nd year of college , dreaming that sooner of later SFI (the unknown) would be able to establish base in a KSU college. Prayers were heard. The work of our seniors were to bear fruits through us. Though backed with controversies (for so called ragging ) I was quiet popular in our small college (mainly owing to being a tom boyish Mechy, who smiled and was friendly with people).
Party came into formulation, positions and the nominees were agreed upon. I was called to stand as the VC. (Little did I know then that VC was namesake :) )..Party and its hypocrisy (am I being a little too tough- Well no tensions, these are just my musings)... Oh yes. Now i had to decide , more than that I had to ask permission , get my parents approval. So thats when I am announcing for the first time that I think I am a lover of Communism. Nobody was shocked. My mother thought I was appas girl. My parents left it to me. Thats the most difficult thing in any game. Leaving the decision to ones own self (the worst form of punishment too). I was finding it difficult to make a decision, but the process was made very easy towards the evening. I was sitting with my parents when I got a phone call from a pass out senior (who was a very good friend of mine) of ethirkakshi but a Communist at heart , asking me not to stand for the election. I tried to reason my way trying to make him understand that I grew up in a Communist environment and that I was left inclined (Who is Karl Marx, What is the basic foundation of Marxism are still unknown to me , but as I told you there are some who are driven by impulse than by reasoning and knowledge and I belong to that ).One classmate cum then best friend too tried to dissuade me . Then another senior to whom I had a liking demanded me to back out. Did I mention earlier about that blood that boils. Well I was one of that kind who did not like threats nor one who could be threatened. So my answer all of a sudden became clear. To top it all , my parents asked me to go ahead when such silly threats came into effect . Very surprising but thats what I like about them. Their blood boils the same way mine does .....
All those loss of relationships was for what. Why couldnt a person respect the difference in another person and still be friends. Did the team who was setting up a party know that I was left inclind (pretty sure they did not )--All they wanted was the Namesake position / seat to be a sure winning seat for a majority in the Union, so that if at all there will be a hung situation this one otherwise roleless vote could be made use of.......
Loving the thought of being a Left and proving one to be one were really different. During the enactment stage I realized that I was in a wrong place but nevertheless I learnt a lot. Campaigning started. More than talking on what you would be caable of doing , more efforts had to be spent on pointing out the faults in others and when we are the center of the controversy , figure out speeches to contradict. Those were tough days and I was a tough one to handle too. I did not think it appropriate to give false statements or to say sorry for things I did not mean (for ragging) just because I had to win. I believed that a person had to be chosen for what he or she is for which positive campaigning is all that is required . I know things don't work the way I think it should. Few juniors helped me sail through the campaigning. Those were my first days at standing on elevated grounds(shivering deep inside) to speak a word or two to a crowd of juniors (half of whom who disliked me then) and seniors. The election was won. ( A situation which we thought was a puttu fight -for VC, did face tension the last moment...but better off a tougher fight than an easily won game)....
VC had to appear only whenever a Programme needed Vote of Thanks to be said. That was for every programme. My classmate wrote me all the speeches (Was I so shameless as to ask her all the time to write down simple speeches, but LD was always good. She wrote me good ones. If it was Malayalam, my father would tell me..... Never knew that a Marxist cannot take the name of God in speeches until then, first lesson learnt - among the few lessons learnt)...
Our Chairman was one of a kind. To be very frank , I really couldnt bear his one man show. Was he a typical failure that was talked off as a trademark of the party. Top heavy. Not that I cared , but when people nodded in general, I was not ready to do so. Second lesson learnt- There is no place for disagreement in the party. "" Party acchadakkam""Rules are set and it was upon us to follow it without questioning.......The biggest realization of my life came then ---I am not the disciplinarian who could tie myself down to any doctrine. I need room for questioning . Couldnt force myself to be a blind believer just to flow with the crowd or gain position or respect or to protect a principle which had flaws but which protected by protectionists who did it mainly to gain their ends is what I think it was all about.
Soon the party driven by outsiders understood that I would never become the comrade (imposed restrictions on voicing opinions) that they modelled / envisioned to see grow in GEC. The robots had to be knowledgeable but whose knowledge and thoughts , thinking and speech would be dictated by a bureaucracy (How is it different from a Catholic church in its functioning - stupid question indeed but still this came to my mind just now). Musings are afterall not based on rights and wrongs. Anyways I was called very less for any party meetings. I did not like the outside link that supported the inside party, which dictated what had to happen in college and what shouldnt happen. A higher authority is good and support is always much sought after but it should not be let to dictate everything that a person or institution should be doing. I saw the birth of many vaalatti pattikal & some real strong fellows but none that I would say that influenced so as to keep one sailing. Whether one truly believes in it or not , one has to really feel like saying Ingulab Zindabad from deep within to know that one truly belong and I couldnt and I knew I was a mere visitor never again to belong to the dream world she envisioned as a child but always to carry on with the old beliefs untainted forever , without letting the winds carry it or announce it to the world.Silent to questioned arrowed at you since there are no answers I can them. All I have is the knowledge that my blood still boils for the red ideology that initially stood for the rights of the working class and later on emerged to be an ideology criticized as one not keeping in sink with the times. There are certain things (unexplainable even to my questioning ) that I preserve within myself and move on
A supporter of an ideology is subject to persecution more than the perpetrator of the problem creator that taints the ideology and this is what had ultimately prompted me to write this meaningless so called musings....It is somewhat like this case. Just because you say you like Africa to someone and the person blames questions you about the rampant situation of AIDS and malaria and civil wars and sexual torture etc and holds you responsible in giving a solution or suggestion as to why all these are happening and whether you think they are right and should be happening. Where will you find yourself in such a situation. Thats what I feel when people look at me when harthals and strikes happen in Kerala and ask me for an explanation for the actions of the Left Government. When pacts for Industrial agreements are not made , when the youth turns to other countries and states for jobs and for the umpteen other problems that is claimed as a result of Leftist ideology , I am questioned by my friends. What do I have to answer. I am no spokes person for the actions of the Left Government. You and me are equally responsible for bringing about change , if thats what your questioning is directed at . If its merely as always just a question or insult posed for starting a useless debate to feed ones ego, then you better claim yourself a hero for all the facts and figures you have in your data base ready for show off......I do not have the data to back me up nor do I have the interest to have yet another talk unless it makes me wiser by a few sentences. I have nothing to offer but my silence..................
(Will edit this later --or completely delete one another day...........So an evening was spent in a different way...... Scribbling away my energy & incoherent thoughts after a long long time.............)