June 19, 2022

Rich Tributes Paid to Comrade Sivaji Patnaik

Ali Kishor Patnaik

RICH tributes were paid at  Bhubaneswar in respect to the memory of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik, veteran leader of  CPI(M) and toiling people of Odisha. Comrade Patnaik breathed his last at the age of 92 after a brief illness in a hospital in Bhubaneswar on  May 23.

 In a state-level condolence meeting held in Institution of Engineers Hall of  Bhubaneswar on June 10, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary CPI(M), Surjyakanta Mishra, Member of Polit Bureau with hundreds of Party workers joined the condolence meeting.

Janardan Pati, a member of the Odisha state secretariat presided over the meeting. State secretaries of Left parties like CPI(M), CPI, CPI-ML(Liberation), All India Forward Block, SUCI(C), CPI-ML(Red Star),  along with senior state leaders of  Odisha Congress committee,    AAP, BJD, Samajwadi Party, RJD, NCP, Samata Kranti paid rich tributes in respect of Comrade Patnaik and recounted his contributions in the advancement of Left, democratic and progressive movement of Odisha during his more than seven decades of public life.

Comrade Sivaji Patnaik was enrolled as a party member of the CPI on November 7, 1947, and was instrumental and played a key role in forming CPI(M) in 1964 in Odisha. He toured the length and breadth of state to shape the CPI(M). From his student days, he was active in the students’ movement in the 50s and was one of the state functionaries of the then Students Federation. His participation and leadership in the anti-fee hike movement in Ravenshaw College of Cuttack in the 50s was the first student movement in post-independent Odisha. His fasting inside the jail for 42 days along with other inmates is noteworthy. From then onwards till death he was a full-time functionary of the Party. Comrade Patnaik was the secretary of the CPI(M) Odisha state committee and was also a member of the  Central Committee. He was the founding president of the CITU Odisha state committee and was keen on building a united struggle of the working class. He was also active in the peasant movement of the state, initially, in the Khordha area of the then  Puri district,  under the leadership of late veteran Comrade Prana Nath Patnaik, who was one of the first three Communist Party members of Odisha.

Comrade Patnaik was also elected as a member of the parliament three times from the Bhubaneswar parliament constituency in 1977, 1989 and 1991 elections. His honesty, integrity, simple lifestyle, hard work and discipline have attracted many youths to join the CPI(M)  in the late 60s and early 70s in  Odisha. Though not physically fit for the free movement was mentally sound till the end of his last breath. On April 6, 2022, on the first day of the 23rd Party Congress, CPI(M) Odisha state committee called upon all the branches across the state to hoist Red Flag. At Bhubaneswar, state headquarters in spite of his old age restrictions  Comrade Sivaji Patnaik hoisted the flag. 

Paying rich tributes in honour of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik, Sitaram Yechury revealed how Sivaji Patnaik was worried over the political developments taking place in the country with the concerted move of the divisive politics to wreck the unity of the toiling people during this period and used to express his concern while talking. Paying revolutionary homage in memory of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik, Yechury said he was having vast experience of many struggles in the post-independence period. He was one of the pragmatic leaders who could make effective interventions both inside the parliament and outside, by building struggles. He had a clear vision of the ruinous outcome of communal corporate nexus in the country and the danger posed by communal fascistic forces to destroy the secular fabric, democracy and constitution of modern India. Intensification of the class and mass struggles on the people`s life and livelihood, struggle in defence of the rights of the working class and dispossessed section, fight against obscurantist unscientific propaganda and championing the secular values and building a strong Communist Party will be the befitting homage and tributes to Comrade Sivaji Patnaik, said Sitaram Yechury.

At the outset, a condolence resolution was moved by Janardan Pati in the meeting  Apart from the political parties,   leaders of central trade unions like CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, AICCTU,  AIKS, AIAWU, AIDWA, DYFI, Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Manch paid tributes.

Eminent journalists, professors and intellectuals, and civil society activists also paid their tributes at the meeting. It was also attended by the family members of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik.

On May 24, when the body of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik reached the CPI(M) Odisha state committee office, hundreds of party workers, leaders of all the political parties of the state, ministers and former ministers, mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation,  leaders of mass organisations, journalists, social activists and common people thronged to the Party office to pay their tribute and placed floral wreaths. Surjyakanta Mishra, first paid the floral tributes on behalf of the CPI(M) Central Committee followed by the secretary of CPI(M) Odisha state committee and others.

A procession with the body of Comrade Sivaji Patnaik reached AIIMS Bhubaneswar to hand it over to the department of anatomy for biomedical research and teaching. This was the wish of Comrade Patnaik that instead of cremating his body it should be handed over to the medical college. A communist whose life is dedicated to the interest of the people also cherishes dedicating his body after death for the use of society.  


Tamil Nadu Progressive writer Ku Si Pa  is no more

V B Ganesan

ONE of the 32 writers who formed the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers’ Association in 1975 at Madurai and a pioneer Left writer himself Comrade Ku Chinnappa Bharathi (Ku.Si.Pa) passed away at Namakkal on Monday evening, June 13, 2022,  after a brief illness. He was 87 years old. He is survived by his wife, Chellammal and daughters, Kalpana and Bharathi.

Comrade Ku.Si.Pa. who was one of the earliest writers, who spearheaded socialist realism in Tamil literature, wrote novels like ‘Thagam’, ‘Sangam’, ‘Sarkarai’, ‘Pavalayi’, ‘Thalaimurai Maatram’, ‘Surangam’ and ‘Palaivana Roja’,  and two short story collections and an anthology of poems. He was also an activist of kisan front and also a pioneer in organising the sugarcane grower’s movement in Tamil Nadu. He was one of the kisan activists who undertook a padayatra from Coimbatore to Chennai under the leadership of legendary leader B Srinivasa Rao demanding a land ceiling for the landlords. He was closely associated with Marxist stalwarts like B Srinivasa Rao, and N Sankaraiah through his ground-level activism.

As a pioneer in Left writings, he published a quarterly in English - ILA (Indian Literature and Art Quarterly) with an intention to mobilise progressive writers at the all-India level.  In Tamil too, he started and ran a literary monthly ‘Semmalar’ which he handed over to TNPWA after its inception in 1975. He was in close contact with writers in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and Malayalam besides in many erstwhile socialist countries. His novel ‘Surangam (mine)’ was written after a long field study at Asansol, West Bengal. His writings were translated into 13 languages namely, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, English, French, Danish, Sinhalese, Uzbek and Sanskrit. He was also a recipient of many literary awards.

After giving away cash awards for best writings in Tamil for many years through a trust named after him, he has handed over the corpus fund to TNPWA in order to undertake the venture on behalf of the organisation.

In a meeting held before his final journey at Namakkal on Tuesday evening, TNPWAA general secretary, Aadhavan Deekshanya, Honorary president, Tamil Sevan and Su Venkatesan, MP, spoke about his contribution to the progressive writing in Tamil Nadu and also about his relations with progressive writers from other languages across the country.

The CPI(M) Tamil Nadu state committee also conveyed its condolences to his family and comrades and recalled his contributions to the Left movement in Tamil Nadu.