Friday, August 21, 2009

The Hindu - Book Review of Nirantara - Friday Review on 21-08-2009

Friday Review Bangalore

Chronicling a life and spirit

Some interesting reads in Kannada


Navakarnataka Publications

Nirantara is a volume of selected writings by well-known Marxist scholar, Kakkilaya and also reflections by other eminent writers. The book edited and produced by K.S. Parthasarathy, like any other commemorative volume tends to heap praises and list the contributions of Kakkilaya. Nevertheless, a good part of the book is a scholarly collection of articles on various burning issues and hence makes a good handbook for social activists and also a reference material for scholars.

This volume is divided into six sections including one English section and an appendix. The first section on the personal life of Kakkillaya describes how he maintained a balance between his feudal Brahmin family and ideological independence. Even though this section on his personal life is very important to understand the early years of the communist movement in the State which mainly comprised of leaders belonging to upper caste and class, it makes only twenty percent of the book. Mr. Kakkillaya with his deep commitment and exceptional clarity was fully involved in the freedom movement, worked underground and had faced many difficulties and state repression. In post-Independent India, he continued his involvement with the Karnataka Unification Movement and Goa Liberation Movement. He strived to bring real meaning to the concepts of regional unification and national integration through his exceptional Marxist Scholarship.

Apart from Kerala and West Bengal, Karnataka is one state which is known for its land reforms introduced by the Devraj Urs Government. But the role of five communist legislators and especially the role of Kakkillaya, who was part of the committee which amended the legislation more in favour of the landless, are not well recorded in the history. Likewise, with the rise of rightist current in the Kannada movement, the role of communists in the Karnataka Unification Movement and Kakkillaya’s role in particular is neglected by the later historians. Mr. Kakkillaya’s contribution to the Kannada language and literature is also enormous. He is among those who mooted the idea of founding the Navakarnataka Book Trust. The book has other three sections which are entirely collections of articles from eminent personalities and scholars about issues ranging from secularism, communalism, capitalist onslaught, nation building and the question of nationalities with in the nation, Modern Kannada Literature and the concept of resistance, Feminism, caste question, the challenges before the social movements today... so on and so forth. There are more than 45 such articles written by eminent writers like H.S. Doreswamy, Ko. Channabasappa, Dr. G. Ramakrishna, Prof. H.S. Ragavendra Rao, Dr. Rahamat Tarikere, Sara Aboobacker, A.B. Bardhan among others. It is a compulsory reading for both activists and scholars.

Most importantly the book captures the indomitable spirit of a great human being and his exemplary commitment to the cause of liberation of mankind. One may not concur with many of his political positions and understandings; some are definitely inadequate and at times incorrect as well. But his firm belief in “Hum Honge Kamiyab” is the perfect prescription the society needs in this hour of gloom. The title “Nirantara” (Everlasting) gains significance in more than one sense.


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