2009 - Red Salutes to Balagopal
Published in leading newspapers
The sudden demise of the veteran leader of the civil rights movement in our country and a great people’s intellectual, Dr. K. Balagopal, due to heart stroke on October 8, has come as a great shock to all democratic and revolutionary forces in the country. The oppressed people of our country and particularly the people in the police state of Andhra Pradesh have lost a close friend and an indefatigable, bold champion of their cause. As a steadfast and intrepid fighter against state terror, fake encounters, violation of basic human rights and police atrocities, Balagopal has remained a close friend of the oppressed people of our country and a well-wisher of the revolution throughout his life. The CC, CPI(Maoist), on behalf of the entire party rank and file and the oppressed people of the country, expresses its deepest anguish and extreme grief at the sudden demise of this untiring fighter for the democratic rights of the oppressed people groaning under the weight of the semi- colonial semi feudal Indian fascist state. Belagopal’s death is an irrecoverable and grave loss to the civil rights movement in India.
Balagopal stands out as a shining example to the intellectuals of the day. He has set a glowing poorest of the poor- a trait that is lacking in most intellectuals who only have contempt for the toiling masses, lack of ego and individualism that are generally the traits of the intellectual section, single minded devotion to the civil rights cause, enormous courage on the part of an individual to confront the might of the state in the face of continuous persecution by the police, all these qualities stand out in sharp contrast to the hypocrisy, sycophancy, snobbery, elitist and self-seeking attitudes of the pro-establishment and ivory-tower intellectuals who dominate the country’s political scene today. Balagopal’s bold exposure of the fake encounters staged by the AP police under the Congress and TDP regimes, his objective investigation into hundreds of fake encounters in Andhra Pradesh and his critical writings against the government and the police raj in AP had infuriated the oppressive rulers and their mercenary police to such an extent that they made several attempts to silence this bold voice. He was arrested in the mid-1980s, again state-sponsored terrorist gangs kidnapped him in 1989 and threatened him not to take up investigation into encounter champion of people’s rights and he continued his fight against state terror until his last. His analysis on several contemporary issues too had helped the people in getting a correct grasp of even very complex issues. He was a mathematician, historian, social scientist and civil rights leader combined into one.
Ever since the mid-1970s when he was doing his research in Warangal, Balagopal had close relationship with the revolutionary movement led by erstwhile CPI(ML) [People’s War] but by the mid-1990s he gradually drifted away from the Party due to ideological-political differences. Although by late 1990s he drifted away from Marxism Leninism and went under the influence of post modernism, and though he made sharp criticisms on the Party line and practice, Balagopal had always remained sympathetic to revolution and a well-wisher of the Maoists. He chose the civil rights front to carry on his battle against the state as he felt he would be able to contribute more to the people in the civil rights movement. And in this field he remained most committed, tenacious and unshaken until his last breath. The intellectual sections of our society have a lot to learn from Balagopal’s life and work.