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Semi-Column: Love in the time of Maoism

Several commanders have recently left the party with their loves, including the one who led the team that abducted then Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon.

January 24, 2014 12:47:41 am

Annoyed with recent desertions of comrades with fellow women cadres, Maoists would do well to read up what Karl Marx wrote: “The relation of man to woman is the most genuine relation of human being to human being.” The German ideologue refused to police a couple, and Chairman Mao, another ideal of the guerrillas, was hardly a puritan. Pablo Neruda, the unswerving communist who wrote perhaps the greatest love poetry of the last century, is treasured by revolutionaries across the globe.

Precisely therefore, the recent surrender of senior Maoist G V Prasad  with a woman is significant for both what it reveals and conceals. Prasad has conceded, after being targeted by his former bosses, that she is not his wife, but asserts he intends to spend the rest of his life with her. The CPI (Maoist) accused him of “leaving the party for wealth and woman”.

His case is similar to that of former central committee member Lanka Papi Reddy, who surrendered in Andhra Pradesh in 2008. Maoists disowned him, apparently suddenly discovering that he had committed “serious mistakes” and “misbehaved” with woman cadres.  Prasad had left the party  in the early 1990s, came back and was later punished for “misbehaving” with women cadres. But the party went on to promote him.

They are not the only examples. Several commanders have recently left the party with their loves, including the one who led the team that abducted then Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon.

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It may be the genuine need of a guerrilla army, largely located in forests, to avoid relations and families, but by condemning the transgressors who once served as loyal soldiers as “traitors”, they decry their own ideology.

Politburo member Kishenji was killed in an encounter in November 2011 following a “booby trap” helped by his aide Suchitra Mahato. Interestingly, Suchitra got close to Kishanji after her husband Sasadhar, also a senior commander, was killed in March 2011. After Kishenji’s death, Suchitra married another comrade before the couple surrendered in March 2012.

However, despite the fact that Kishenji had committed what may be seen as a graver error, in allowing himself to be misled in a relationship, he was never denounced by the Maoists.

Ashtuosh is a special correspondent based in Raipur

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