Our mind often warns us of the perils and obstacles that lie ahead. But the heart still urges us to go ahead ….which will prevail… the mind or the heart?
During the late fifties and early sixties, the picturesque state of Kerala was the first and only state ruled by Communists. The whole society was under the vice like grip of the communist movement.
Streets corners and Junctions in the towns were occupied by protestors, shouting “Inquilab Zindabad! (Long live the Revolution!!)
Mass protests, rallies, Strikes and civil disobedience became the order of the day.
The communist ideology soon spread into the educational institutions as well.
My maternal Uncle Rajan, who was barely 14 years old and he too was deeply influenced by the movement. However my grandfather remained a staunch Congressman.
My uncle used to attend the meetings of the Communists and repeat the statements and slogans at home. My Grandfather would be very angry and admonish him and warn him to stay away from the Communists.
One day a teacher caned his student for not completing his work.. The neo-communists sprung into action. They demanded an apology from the teacher. When he did not, they trooped out of their class and disrupted all the classes.. Uncle Rajan started shouting the slogans he learnt from the meetings, “Inquilab Zindabad!! Down with the injustice! Long live students unity!! Down with teachers atrocities!!
The Principal tried to broker peace between the students and the teachers but to no avail.
“Principal, should be principled!! We want justice!! Down with atrocities…they shouted!!
The students intensified their protests. Uncle Rajan was the leader. They began to lie down at the school gate.
The strike was total. Not a single student or teacher was allowed into the school.
The strike started to run out of hand and the school authorities called in the Police to quell the mob of students.
The Inspector of Police used his megaphone, “Boys, I am warning you. Please disperse from your group and go home or you will face severe action”. However, his voice was drowned in the din of the slogan-shouting students.
Suddenly a few students broke away from the group and started pelting stones at the police.
Exasperated, the Inspector, ordered a lathi (Cane) Charge. Everyone in the vicinity faced the wrath of the policemen. The unarmed students were beaten mercilessly.
Many students fled the scene. But barely 30 meters from the policemen, they regrouped and pelted stones again. The policemen quickly rounded up the leaders and whisked them away to the Police Station. Uncle Rajan was the first to be inside the police truck. He continued to shout slogans from within the truck, “Long live students unity!! Inquilab Zindabad!!
The police used tear gas and the crowds dispersed.
Uncle Rajan and his flock were locked up inside the Police Station to pre-empt any further deterioration.
The politicians intervened the Principal had to relent. He apologized. Uncle Rajan and his friends were released.
Senior Communist Part Members joined the students to welcome the heroes. A huge rally and meeting was organized All the Speakers showered praise Uncle Rajan for leading the valiant struggle.
The slogan-shouting students carried the garlanded Uncle Rajan and paraded him through the streets. Uncle Rajan became a leader!!
However, my grandfather was furious He was pacing up and down the hallway, waiting for his prodigal son to return. Uncle Rajan walked into the house bedecked with flower garlands, his face beaming with pride.
Alas! His pride and happiness was short lived. My grandfather pulled out his cane and beat Uncle Rajan blue and black.
My poor Uncle’s dreams of becoming a politician evaporated under the heat of the cane blows. He promised never to take part in political activities again.
The next day, my Grandfather banished Uncle Rajan from Kerala and sent him to Visakhapatnam, to stay with his sister and brother-in-law, pursue his further studies.
At Vizag, Uncle Rajan changed his ways. He pursued his studies with passion. After a short stint in a small company, he moved to the greener pastures of the Middle East.
After his long stint in the middle east, Uncle Rajan decided to follow what his heart told him.
He returned to Kerala to begin where he left off more than 30 years ago -as a leader of the Communist Party!!
Whether his ideology is still valid, whether his mind was right or his heart was!!
Only time will tell!!