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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Vote comrade vote!

USSR was a superpower after the World War II & only other competitor was USA. It was a role model for newly liberated & developing countries including India. It was largest country spread over 2 crore sq kms across 12 time zones having longest boundary over 60,000 kms including coast line. Soviet Union had made significant achievements including first ever satellite & manned spacecraft. Russian literature had fascinating array of writers like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pasternak, Gorky, Pushkin & so on.

Enjoying the literature in original writing rather than politics, made me take up study of Russian language in evening classes. Under Cultural Exchange Program I got selected with 9 others for a trip to Moscow Friendship University for 45 days in July, 1979.

Church in Red Square Moscow

All this led to frequent & lengthy discussions with friends & colleagues on communism, socialism, imperialism, capitalism, unionism, naxalism  etc. etc. Colleagues like Com T A Virmani & Com S P Nanda who prompted & persuaded me to join CPI though I was not very keen. On a Saturday we went together to attend a meeting with office bearers of Delhi State unit in Urdu Bazar, Darya Ganj, Delhi. Com Farooqui, Com Manna & certain others were present. As soon as Com Virmani introduced me there was an objection that before bringing in a new person, matter should have been discussed. My suggestion that I wait outside was waived & Com Virmani cleared the issue. Thereafter I attended a few meetings there & on two occasions in Ajoy Bhawan as well.

During ‘79 the ruling alliance of Janta Party broke up as some constituents like Bhartiya Jan Sangh withdrew support & Morarji Desai lost trust vote & resigned. Charan Singh became PM but he also could not muster the number as Congress backed out. He declared elections which were held in Jan, 80.

Com Prem Sagar Gupta had filed papers from Delhi Sadar & was pitted against Jagdish Tytler & 20 others if I am not wrong. Volunteers for canvassing were required & I reported to a makeshift office in a workshop in Karam Pura. They had only one banner, no posters, no fancy handbills & no sumptuous lunch. Not found suitable for industrial area, three of us were assigned Rajouri Garden. This area was dominated by Punjabis & was much more posh compared to Karam Pura.

Pressed the call bell. There came out a gentleman who graciously listened, accepted the handbill, read it & politely refused to vote to any communist candidate & returned the handbill!

Another bell & out came an old lady. She immediately started complaining about overflowing drains about which authorities did not care. Her middle aged son also came out & listened to us. He told his mother that these poor people had never won any election so how could they get the drains repaired?

Name plate on the gate indicated that house owner was SBI employee. He came out & answered that to be in union of comrades is one thing & to vote in election for a comrade is another. No vote sir!

Next one gave us a sermon that communist philosophy is not of Indian origin & therefore does not deserve to be voted for!

One of the responses was ferocious indeed. The gentlemen asked us to move away immediately or else he would unchain his bulldog!

One response was that commies are out to destroy all religions of the world which is not good at least for Indian society. Therefore no vote!

One gentleman was surprised on seeing communists asking for votes. He said that commies wanted guns & not votes!

Barring a few houses general response was not very favourable & result could be anticpated in advance. Com Gupta could gather about 10,000 votes & lost of course.

Soon thereafter got promoted & with promotions came frequent transfers & I lost touch with party comrades. As they say bye in Russian-Dusvidania!
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