Remembering I K Shukla

I knew Indu Kant Shukla, interacted, debated, discoursed, fought bitter fights together against the religious fundamentalism of the BJP variety, walked in rallies in US and organized with him on human rights questions. Unwittingly a camaraderie developed between him and me, in spite of our differences.

Born on 26 May 1928, Shuklaji, as he used to be called died of cancer on 17 September this year in the USA. Before migrating to the USA, he taught in several colleges in north India. He settled down near the famous working class city of Long Island. In addition to his eloquence in English, he also knew Hindi, Urdu and most interestingly Bengali. I was spellbound hearing Shuklaji sing “Achhe Dukho, Achhe Mrtiyu /birawha Dahan lagey/Tobuo Shanti, Tobu Ananda, Tobu ananta jagey (There is pain, there is death/ amidst the flame of separation/ … But still peace and bliss prevail!/ Yet the infinity soars)- a famous song of Rabindranath Tagore. His demise reminds us of the same song.

Defying age, he was committed to unfailing activism, be it on American issues or Indian issues. Nothing seemed to go unnoticed and un-reacted by Shuklaji. His writings were a matter of inspiration to every one who had been activists.

Shuklaji was a close observer of our party, CPI(ML) Liberation, and avid reader of our literature. Singur and Nandigram perturbed him at a time when he was disturbed by the rise of the ugly head of obscurantism and communalism.

Let us remember IKS as he was living!

No Good bye to you Comrade!

Long Live Comrade IKS!

- Soumitra Bose

(Below is an excerpt from a typically insightful article by Prof. I K Shukla, warning of the Sangh Parivar’s terrorist and fascist character well before recent revelations in the Malegaon blast probe. The article appeared in the Dhaka weekly, Holiday, 20 July 2007. – Ed/-)

Hindutva: Violent Saffronazis’ Vile Communal Agenda

Even in the states where Congress or other political combines rule, the spread of the feral and obscene cult, Hindutva, is becoming a major threat to India’s national stability and social peace. Historically, national treason has been the ID, as communal terrorism the signature, of Hindutva. No one without avowing treason as his creed can be a votary of Hindutva. No one without pledging life-long commitment to terrorism can be trusted by the Black Caps as a genuine fascist.

Sworn to secrecy and criminality that the Hindutva cult stands for, it keeps its recruits ever “disciplined”, that is, morally decrepit, mentally robotic. Why it creates a soup of acronyms (various organizations), and why it never maintains a register of its membership, are no mysteries, but inextricably tied to its vile agenda.

A Sanskrit scholar in Varanasi, Mrs. Naheed Abdi, failing to get a permanent job in her speciality, is not just a personal tragedy for a Muslim, and a highly educated woman, it is symptomatic of the rot that the Indian democracy signifies. (Milli Gazette/July 1-15 ‘07, Delhi, p.20). This, under Mayawati, the saviour of minorities in U.P., next to Mulayam Singh. She also deprived hundreds of Urdu teachers of employment (as above, p.19). Great Dalit leader!

Since it remains so tied, it creates an imaginary history of its own - phantasmagoria of wishful invention which omits its lack of patriotism, its innately destructive impulse, and its atavistic strain, but which also conjures up monsters and midgets as its heroes. Beset by a crushingly nagging sense of imbecility it reconciles itself to its innate inferiority not by accomplishment or exertion for excellence, of which it has proved incapable, but by brutal and wanton violence against innocents.

Gujarat will become the graveyard of Indian democracy and its secular credentials if Modi is not removed. Pussyfooting in the matter can only exacerbate the intolerable situation. Congress having decided not to save its own MP Jafri in Ahmedabad in 2002 boosted Modi’s machine of administrative mayhem and mass murder. Its own MLAs participated in the rape, robbery, and murders of Muslims that Modi had instigated and inspired.

Not to arrest Hindutva ogres – Thackeray, Togadia, Modi, Katiyar, and their ilk – implies tacit consent to and state encouragement of the saffro-fascists. How else to understand the apathy vis-a-vis continual and horrendous atrocities against minorities be they Muslim, Christian, tribal, Dalit?

This is the hallmark of a failed state. Why are criminals of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh getting away scot-free as a rule? If they go unpunished the state will remain impaired and its viability untenable. For a V. Shekhar, the commander of a criminal outfit of Hyderabad, to threaten bomb blasts against minorities seeking reservation, not to be slammed behind bars indefinitely, highlights the conspiracy of the state against Muslims. (Milli Gazette as above, p.1).

For the Indian state tacitly to join the fascistic saffronazis as collaborators is not just a roaring scandal and a blazing shame, but also its repudiation of India as a nation state, its Constitution, its founding fathers, its heritage, and as a civilisational idea, uniquely all-embracing, and gloriously proud of its plenitude of diversity.

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