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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
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  COUNSELING
 
Back to infancy -- they n
 
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  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
     
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  OBITUARY  
   
   
     
   
  By P.K.V  
     
  KANU SANYAL lit the fire of a violent revolution along with two other members of the Naxal triad that led a peasant uprising in West Bengal in the late 1960s, though in later years he shunned his own anarchist past.

As he battled senility, advancing age, and a blurring eyesight, the bachelor 78-year-old founding leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) abhorred the violence unleashed by present-day Maoists.

He was the last surviving member of the Naxalite triad that included another legendary revolutionary and comrade-in-arms Charu Majumdar and Jungle Santhal.

The three were behind the abortive Naxalite insurrection attempt by radical communist to initiate an "Indian revolution" by violent means.

Sanyal had even actively solicited help from the communist government in China to further his goals, but it could never be established whether this was moral, tactical, or financial.

He was a critic of land acquisition by the Left Front government in Singur and Nandigram and criticised it, calling it capitalist.

Sanyal believed that led by a selfless and strong leadership, the protests in Nandigram had the potential to surpass even the Naxalbari movement.

"Maoism is not the path of Naxalbari. The violence being indulged in can't solve things. I don't support this," he had said of the stepped up violence by Maoists.

"There is a distinctive difference between our way of revolution to that being pursued in the name of Maoism," he had said, dubbing Maoists as people without ideals and direction.

Born in Kurseong in 1932, Sanyal while working as a revenue clerk at the Siliguri court, was first arrested for waving a black flag at then West Bengal chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy to protest against the Centre's ban on the Communist Party of India.

He was lodged at the Jalpaiguri jail, where he met Majumdar, who was then a CPI district secretariat member.

Influenced by Majumdar's ideology, Sanyal joined the CPI after his release, and later sided with the CPI (Marxist) after the party split over the war with China.

He together with Mazumdar and another leader, however, became disillusioned with the CPI(M) and broke away to found the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969, aiming at an 'Indian revolution through armed struggle'.

The Naxalite movement, started by the three, began from a peasant uprising in Naxalbari village in West Bengal on May 25, 1967, when the officer in charge of Phansidewa police station, Amarendranath Pyne, was shot dead by an arrow.
 
   
     
   
  By A.J. Philip  
     
  ON Sunday morning we woke up with the chilling news that Billy, my wife's younger brother, was no more. It did not really surprise us as the news was in many ways anticipated. After all, he had been ailing and the doctors at the Regional Cancer Research Centre at Thiruvananthapuram had indicated he would not live for more than three months.

Yet, we found it difficult to reconcile ourselves to Billy's death. My first encounter with him was long before my marriage when he joined our college. One afternoon as I was leaving the college for home, he virtually intercepted me on the way and began asking a lot of questions, which were annoying.

When I expressed my exasperation, he told me that he was sizing me up for he had heard that I was courting his elder sister. At the end of his "cross-examination", he said he would be with me in my amorous pursuit, for I had passed his test of earnestness and, perhaps, endurance. "What a brother-in-law!" I thought as I wriggled out of his "captivity" with my ribs and jaws intact.

Thereafter, I tried to keep our "encounters" as brief as possible, an uphill task given Billy's penchant to talk. Although he was no prodigy, he was a bright and curious child. As the story goes, a childless couple, a close relation, showed interest in rearing him up as their own child but the whole plan of adoption collapsed like the plan for the tower of Babel when at the first available opportunity, Billy returned home, much to the delight of his distraught parents.

By the time Billy was seven or eight, his relatives had come to consider him bookish and slightly odd. While his siblings rode stick horses, cut paper dolls out of old pattern books and played hide-and-seek in their large house, he could always be found in his upper floor room with his nose buried in a book or magazine.

Billy considered himself a leader in the making when he joined Balajana Sakhyam, nurtured by the Malayala Manorama group, and his oratorical talent was recognised. A short story he wrote for the College Magazine attracted my attention for the dash of brilliance it contained. Based on phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from the ashes, the story dealt with existentialism. For once I realized, he could have a career in literature. He also had a good command of the English language, thanks in the main to his voracious reading and the "Billy's Library" he had built up over the years.

It is said that for Dorothy, wife of William Carey, the famous missionary, grief at losing her child tipped her over the edge of sanity. In the case of Billy, I do not know what happened but he began to lose touch with reality. One day when he talked about extraterrestrial influences on him, I had a rude shock.

When I asked him how a young, well-read person like him could talk like that, his answer startled me. Years later, when I read John Nash's biography where he was asked by a visitor from Harvard, "How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?", the Nobel Prize winner answered with equanimity, "Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously", I realized Billy had given me a similar answer.

Tragically, he internalized all the problems of the world and agonized over them. But never once did he waver in his faith or allegiance to the church he was born into even when some of his fickle-minded siblings sought solace elsewhere.

Like the phoenix in the only story he wrote, he rose when after a paralytic stroke, doctors had virtually given up hope. A year ago when life was ebbing out of him with the blood count reaching perilous level, I happened to rush him to a hospital. After four bottles of blood platelet transfusion, he sat up on the bed and had a regular sumptuous lunch to my delightful surprise.

Because his name was Billy, he was nicknamed "Cat". As I watched him eating food in the hospital room, I realized he was like the cat with its proverbial nine lives. But even cats cannot live beyond their lives.

In the case of John Nash, it was the selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community that helped the genius to emerge from decades of ghostlike existence to win a Nobel and world acclaim but in the case of Billy, he was destined to live a life of solitude with unwavering faith in God and steadfastness to truth.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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