The Vara Vara Rao Chat Archives posting it here for Archives
Acerbic and dogmatic, Dr Vara Vara Rao, ideologue for the outlawed Peoples War Group and poet of renown, provided considerable illumination on why the Naxalites continue to battle the Indian State 30 years after that spring uprising in Naxalbari.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 19:58 IST)
Friends, I'm here to answer your questions. I hope you are ready with your questions. Since you know my views and convictions and world outlook you will be putting questions bearing that in mind.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:1 IST)
I'm from a small village of Waranagal district known for its 500 years of protest movements, it is in Andhra Pradesh of India and in particular, in Telangana, a very backward area ruled for 200 years by the Asafjahi kings.
A M Khan (Thu Jul 31 1997 19:56 IST)
Hullo, Dr Rao, you told this news service that democracy was not for India? What would a dictatorship by the proletariat achieve?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:5 IST)
A M Khan: Mr Khan if I can remind you I did not say that democracy didn't suit this country. I said parliamentary democracy does not suit this country and I gave historical and sociopolitical reasons for that. I said that parliamentary democracy is in consonance with capitalism which again is the outcome of the Industrial revolution in England and France. India has not gone through all this process. It is still predominantly a feudal society crushed under colonialism and imperialism. I was suggesting an agrarian revolution for this agrarian society to usher in a new democracy, so I'm for people's democracy in this country.
Charu Baba (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:1 IST)
Shri Rao, I think you Naxalites are agents of China, out to destroy India at Beijing's behest. Is this not true? What is the PWG's objective?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:12 IST)
Charubaba: Its funny while naming Naxalities as Chinese agents you choose to coin a name of yourself imitating Charu Majumdar on one hand and Saibaba on the other hand. It is difficult for such persons to explain things without calling a spade a spade. Firstly though the Naxalbari movement has taken inspiration from the Chinese proletariat's Cultural Revolution, it is not an imitation of it. The objective conditions in India were ripe for revolution and the Chinese Cultural Revolution was only a external inspiration. To put it in short, do you know that today the Naxalities call China and its leadership regionists and capitalist roaders. So the question of playing an agent doesn't arise. After all, the Indian revolution is to be achieved on Indian soil, going a long way with greater struggles and sacrifices.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:9 IST)
Hello guys. I see that the killer is in? Tell me Dr Rao, if you believe in human rights how do you justify the killing of people opposed to your ideology without even a pretence of a trial??????HOW??
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:18 IST)
Capitalboy: Oh I see a killer entered into a chat rom. Since I'm very far away I'm very safe here. I suggest others in the chatroom to be careful about the Killer. No revolutionary will kill anybody who opposes their ideology. In fact, killing is not the philosophy of any revolution. Revolution is to stop and resist exploitation. Exploitation is in many forms; the cruder form is killing. It's not so simple to understand or define revolution by using the word killing. Because in class society the yardstick for class struggle is to understand and locate the enemy -- and when I say the enemy, the enemy it is the exploited to the oppressive system which operates through the ruling classes, their philosophy and culture and use the State as an oppressive instrument in their hands. You yourself say it is an ideology. Ideology believes in conflict, in debate and ultimately to win over to its side. Killing will not resolve a conflict or a contradiction.
Akriti Verma (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:18 IST)
I beg to disagree Mr Rao, to generate a people's revolution is quite impossible in today's time and age. Gone are those times when people could be roused by revolutionary anthems and be charged with the ideas of radical changes, it doesn't make any difference. Neither does it spell any hope.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:23 IST)
Akriti Verma: I agree with you, that the revolutionary anthem alone cannot arouse the people. It is the objective conditions again which will arouse the people for revolution. As long as this society is uneven and you know uneveness is violence and the system is unjust and people are suffering terribly under the yoke of oppression and suppression, with hunger, disease and utter poverty. For us who are debating on this latest technological device it's very difficult to understand what basic problem the people can resolve through revolution. Most backward people in this country, the adivasis in Bastar, the dalits in Telengana and Bihar have taken up arms to fight the feudal and imperialist onslaught on them by the Indian compradors and their imperialist bosses.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:16 IST)
Tell me Dr Rao: do you believe in human rights? And if you do, how come you shoot down people opposed to your ideas without even a sham trial?
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:21 IST)
Dr.Rao garu What have the naxalites done to improve the lot of the tribals in AP? If you are so sincere about your intentions why dont you target corrupt officials in the administration ? In fact, I think that the naxals collude with the timber mafia and corrupt officials for money who in fact exploit the tribals and lose their livelihood.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:34 IST)
Capitalboy: There is a saying in Sanskrit Sarvejano Sukhino Bhavanto, Bhootadaya (Love for animals is good, but you cannot treat a tiger and cow the same way). So for me it's nothing like an abstract term like human rights. I believe in democratic rights. Democratic rights for me means the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothe and the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, belief and association. Whatever law, constitution or governance takes away these basic needs and rights I will oppose them.
VENKAT: The Naxalities in AP -- not only in AP but in the adjoining districts of Maharashtra, MP and Orissa which they call Dandakaranya -- have taken up the issue of the right of tribals on the forest land and the forest belt. They believe they are the adivasis of this country -- that means that they are the aboriginals who have got a primary right to this land. Wherever the Naxalities are, they are asking the tribals to occupy the forest land which they are cultivating. And they are asking for reasonable wages, a just price for forest products and, above all, to treat them as equals to the people. Now in these areas the tribals are fighting for land, liberty and self dignity. It's not true that the Naxalities have colluded with forest officials or contractors or any such person for entering into the forest with a view to exploit the forest wealth and the tribals. In fact, it is the tribals under the leadership of the Peoples War Group who are fighting against the entry of MNCs into Bastar and on the other hand they are implementing development programmes like drinking water, irrigation water, resources based on self reliance.
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:33 IST)
People in the Nellore-Ongole belt still curse the naxals for the brutal murder of Congress MP and industrialist Magunta Subbirami Reddy who is considered a great philanthropist. Why did the Naxals kill him? Haven't the poor lost a friend in need?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:40 IST)
Raghav Rao: Firstly, it was a misfire. They wanted to kidnap him to free their comrades languishing in jail under TADA for more than 4 years. So it was a mistake in military operations. Coming to the point of philanthrophy, Subbarami Reddy was the owner of a Telugu newspaper called Udayam. He announced he would start 9 editions of his newspaper, acquired land in nine important district headquarters in AP, built pucca buildings in Ongale and closed down the newspaper not even paying wages to the staff in Hyderabad. For months together the newspaper workers went on strike and when they ultimately went to the high court he had the audacity to tell the court that if the ban on liquor was lifted he would restart his newspaper. I don't know whether this so-called philanthrophist was a McDowell agent in Andhra who was next only to Vijay Mallya the king of liquor in Karnataka.
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:39 IST)
will the left have another ravi narayan reddy? does the naxal feel the absence of such a towering figure who lead the telangana peasant struggle?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:44 IST)
Raghav Rao: Left is a very loose word. If you mean revolutionaries I may answer it. The role of Ravi Narayan Reddy in the Andhra Mahasabha was commendable. He was also in the lead in the Telengana armed struggle till 1947, but he belongs to one of those "comrades" who believed that the red rose in Nehru's sherwani will bring socialism to this country. So he is not as great as you think him to be. In fact, the Naxalbari and Srikakulam struggles and the ongoing armed revolution in Telengana and Dandakaranya are creating real, greater heroes who are the sons of the soil.
Bhavani (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:44 IST)
Good evening Mr Rao, what do you think of the song and dance being created in India and abroad (much more abroad) about the 50 years of Independence? Do you think its worth celebrating?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:52 IST)
Bhavani: No. In fact the 50 years of India are more in dependence and this independence is a sham. Even by going with the statistics of the government, more that 50% people are below the poverty line. Thousands of villagers don't have minimum facility of drinking water, leave alone the protected water scheme. On the other hand the rich are growing richer amassing huge benefits by exploiting the toiling masses. Today not only the industrialist and contractors, the politicians of today involved in hawalas are selling this country to imperialism. It is correctly being observed as 50 years of Pepsi independence than the People's independence. The People are yet to have achieved that independence. They have choosen an alternate path, 30 years ago in Naxalbari and they are relentlessly waging their struggle to achieve real independence. As dreamt by people like Bhagat Singh.
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:28 IST)
You have said that democracy is not for India, then by going by past history do you think that the Killing Fields of Cambodia and Stalin's regime are better? I think the reasons for the Communists failure is that nobody trusts you, not even the tribals and the depressed classes, rather they act in fear and repression by you.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:46 IST)
Venkat: The word repression is used particularly for the State which will help the agencies of the governing arm -- jails, courts, etc.
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:36 IST)
Has 'the Visala Andhra' dream gone sour? Why else would the PWG decide to support the separatist Telangana movement, which is raising its ugly head again?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:0 IST)
Raghav Rao: Yes the 'Vishal Andhra' dream is not fulfilled. Interestingly the national movement, particularly from the 1920s, coincided with the nationality movement for the Telugu people because they were divided for 200 years into British India and the Nizam'sHyderabad state. That is why they fought under the Andhra Mahasabha earlier and the Communist party later, for 'Vishal Andhra' and their aspiration is for 'Prajarajyam' (Peoples Power) in 'Vishal Andhra' . But the power came for the Sanjeeva Reddys, Vengal Raos, P V Narasimha Raos and maybe N T Rama Raos. So a Vishal Andhra cannot be a sentiment and if people want to achieve at Telengana , removing the uneveness and the opression of the coastal ruling classes and usher a relatively demoratic society, the people have every right to choose it. Agitation cannot be called as raising an ugly head. If Vishal Andhra makes only one or two particular districts and one or two particular communities as the head making all the other 23 districts their tail, there is every right for Telengana -- maybe for Rayalaseema or even Uttara Andhra -- to raise their heads in protest. It cannot be called as raising an ugly head.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:4 IST)
(Contd) Raghav Rao : Peoples War has categorically stated in its document that it will not lead the movement for a separate Telengana, but it will support it if it comes from the people under the leadership of genuinine elements and it also put its demand before the leadership. The primary being the land to the tiller, distributing the resources in a just manner, opposing the entry of MNCs in industrial development and guaranteeing democratic rights by withdrawing the paramiltary and police camps from Telengana and to stop fake encounter killing etc.
TheBigGun (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:31 IST)
Please don't go away without answering my question Dr Rao? What does freedom mean to you?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:5 IST)
TheBigGun: To me Freedom is realising and recognising necessity. As I earlier answered, it covers the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, and the basic rights, i e, freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of belief.
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:56 IST)
It is very easy to condemn a dead man by saying that he (Ravi Narayan Reddy) thought the red roses in Nehru's sherwani would usher in socialism. Is it not true that he was a most selfless revolutionary? Did Ravi Narayan Reddy poll the highest number of votes in the first general election because of Nehru's red roses?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:9 IST)
Raghav Rao: Whatever name I have given to Ravi Narayan Reddy, I gave in 1967 itself when he was alive. It is not a personal thing; it is about CPI politics. Ravi Narayan Reddy polled the highest votes in 1951 because of the impact of the Telengana armed revolution. It's not because of Nehru who tried to crush it by military action, killing 4,000 people in Telengana and adjacent Andhra districts.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:8 IST)
Dr Rao, let us presume that your goal, your END, is correct. Then the question is what MEANS are you adopting to achieve that END. Do you believe that WRONG MEANS can achieve the RIGHT END?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:12 IST)
CapitalBoy: Yes, wrong means cannot achieve the right end. That's why revolution is a long process, it is a protracted struggle, it's a struggle within oneself and outside. In fact, the new democratic revolution itself has a protracted programme of liberating the villages with an economic programme of land to the tiller, and a military programme of guerrilla war and a political programme of power to the people.
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:7 IST)
Why do you destroy public property ? Why don't you target corrupt officials in revenue, electricity, forests and irrigation who cause a lot of the trouble to the common people ?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:18 IST)
Venkat: Is what is called public property really being enjoyed by the public? How much control will the basic classes have on public property, say for example, the telephone exchanges, the mandal offices and even the roads constructed with World Bank aid? Don't you think all these amenities are created with public taxes for the propertied people? The concept of destruction of property itself is based on the concept of private property. As long as governance doesn't create confidence in the people -- that what is called public property really belongs to the public -- the public will not treat it as their property and they don't think it as destruction of their property. When the system itself is corrupt, why do you name certain departments as corrupt and ask for punishment? Corruption is the other side of the coin of private property or private sector or privatisation. Japan, Korea etc, which are taken as the best models of development, are also the best examples of corrupt systems because they believe in privatisation.
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 20:59 IST)
Regarding your empowerment of tribals they are still in the same status as they were in the East, West and Vizag hills. Either they are exploited by the government and non locals or by the Naxalites. Well the Naxalites were the cause of all the poaching of the tigers in the Srisailam tiger reserve. I thought balance of ecology was part of your movement.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:23 IST)
Venkat: It is not right to say that the tribals in Adilabad or Bastar are in the same position as those who are not in the struggle. At least let me remind you that now they have realised that they will not tolerate enslavement any more. It also explains that their empowerment is not complete, it is a transitionary period.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:23 IST)
North Korea!!!!! An example! Dear MrRao! People are starving whereas military parades are being held with all pomp and show! Is this the idea of a true just and Socialist society??????
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:30 IST)
Russianhero: I said Korea, meaning South Korea, not North Korea because, for our chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, Korea is the model for development. About socialist countries, I don't agree with the loose word which is used for Russia or East Europe -- socialism. They ceased to be socialist in 1950s itself. Moreover, Soviet Russia has turned to social imperialism by 1966 and invaded Czechoslovakia. So the collapse in 1990s is not that of socialism, but it was the sign of the cracking of the capitalist system in Russia and east Europe.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:28 IST)
MrRAO I'm in Russia! People here are ready to struggle and survive through the injustices of a capitalist society but under no circumstances would they want to get back to communism! Your comments?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:34 IST)
Russianhero: I can't take you as a representative of the people in Russia. One of my friends here, who recently had been to St Petersburg, told me that people cherish great love for Lenin there. In Russia, where Marx's statues were destroyed, the red flag was thrown in the dust, today we see again the flutter of red flags. Even by common sense, the capitalist system cannot be a substitute for socialism, which guarantees an even and egalitarian society. Capitalism's principle itself is exploitation, unevenness and competition whereas socialism, even if you say that it is Utopian, guarantees equality of the people.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:39 IST)
MrRAO! You couldn't be farthest from the truth! Well you talk very much like the beaten Communist leaders here in Russia. When we talk of a general opinion we are talking about the majority. Talking about flutter of Red flags, it is the democracatic system that allows all people to express themselves in the manner they feel like. A Communist system crushed all individual aspirations and freedom of thought, expression and belief.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:32 IST)
Dr Rao, do you believe that the ideas of Marx and Lenin and Mao can get outdated? If not, then what is the difference between you people and the Pope in Rome who believes that Christ's words will hold good through all times to come.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:38 IST)
Russian hero: I have already answered your questions. I did not hear you but, yes, I clearly read you. CapitalBoy: The ideas of Marx are not mere ideas; they are the outcome of the study of the whole history of human society from the stage of slavery to capitalism, while Marx was living in capitalist society, organising the workers, the products of the capitalist system to overthrow that exploitative system.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:40 IST)
The question remains: Will Marx's teachings ever get outdated? And if no, then you are implying that you are as dogmatic as a religious leader who believes in the holy scriptures and their validity for all time to come.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:41 IST)
CB (contd): Since Marx's word is not the last word, there is development in the ideas and Lenin has come in the Russian revolution, interpreting and improving the ideas of Marx to suit the objective conditions of Russian society. Likewise, Mao has come in China and sinified Marxism to suit Chinese objective conditions. The point here is Marx could derive certain universal social laws based on historical materialism. Marxism, in general, speaks about the classes in society, their contraditions and struggles which holds true till today.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:39 IST)
MrRAO! You couldn't be farthest from the truth! Well you talk very much like the beaten Communist leaders here in Russia. When we talk of a general opinion we are talking about the majority. Talking about flutter of Red flags, it is the democratic system that allows all people to express themselves in the manner they feel like. A communist system crushed all individual aspirations and freedom of thought, expression and belief.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:44 IST)
Russianhero: I want to remind you only of one thing, that while the Communist party was in power, other political parties were not banned in Russia. Whereas after Yeltsin, the Bolshevik party is banned in Russia.
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:40 IST)
You say you fight for people's rights. But your revolution -- mindless blasting of tracks and stations -- has deprived the people of telangana a vital rail link. the railways were so disgusted that they suspeded the services to nizamabad. as a people's outfit, do you know plan to run a truck/ bus/ bullock-cart service for the people?
raghav rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:43 IST)
mr rao, you have not answered my first question. if ntr did not lift the ban slapped by n janardhan reddy, your organisation would have been crushed by now. is that true?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:48 IST)
Raghav Rao: I humbly submit to you to follow the news and events regularly. The People's War is banned by Chandrababu Naidu immediately after coming into power. It's more than one year. With or without a ban, there are everyday encounter killings right from 1969 with some small pauses till now, for almost 30 years, killing thousands of revolutionaries. So your dream along with Janardhan Reddy may not be realised.
CAPITALboy (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:44 IST)
Are the laws of historical materialism cast in stone? Don't you have any doubts as to their validity and truth?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:51 IST)
CapitalBoy: History cannot be cast in stone; history is made by people and history is a continuous process. People also cannot make history as they wish without respect for objective conditions. When we say we believe in historical materialism it shows that history is not shilayanas or rath yatras; history is the participation of people in production and class struggles which is a continuous and unending process.
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:46 IST)
One thing is for sure you cannot kill the human being's craving for more materialism. An equal society would be great, but it is a dream, I think it goes against evolution.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:54 IST)
Venkat: It's not a question of killing the craving for material goods, it's a question of even distribution of the resources available.
venkat (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:43 IST)
In your praja courts you do not give the accused a chance to express their views. How do you expect people to trust you for their empowerment ?
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:58 IST)
Venkat: They are not praja courts, they are praja panchayats. As the conflict itself assumes there are people to participate, check and judge the decisions. It cannot be a one-way route, thrusting the judgement on the people.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:51 IST)
CAPITAL BOY: Be it Marx or Adam Smith, Ideas never get outdated and specially the ones that have been revolutionary in nature. The question is of the evolution of fresh ideas that are in keeping with the times and are progressive , as well as futuristic. No system is perfect.But this last century has shown us one thing. Socialism is defeated.Mind you not by the so-called imperialist forces of the West but by itself. The reason, even animals like freedom of thought and the right to live their lives in the way they themselves feel is right.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:53 IST)
Russianhero: I think you are in a hurry to pass judgement on history. You could wait 400 years for capitalism to survive and you are very eager to celebrate the fall of socialism which, in reality, is not achieved at all.
Russianhero (Thu Jul 31 1997 21:57 IST)
Mr RAO!You are wrong! No party is banned in Russia! Please !!! You made me and my friends here laugh when you said that no party was banned during communism here in Russia. There was no other party. Mr Rao! I have had the chance to stay in Russia between 1978 - 82 , during the height of the communist rule. And now during democracy. Just look at the people's faces here. They may be having a tough time, in economic terms, but they love the freedom that democracy has given them!!!!!!! Please do not mislead the people here in the room by distorting facts about Russia.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 22:0 IST)
Russianhero: You made me laugh this time. Because earlier you said you were logging in from Russia.
Dr Vara Vara Rao (Thu Jul 31 1997 22:5 IST)
Thank you all very much for putting questions, but one amazing thing is that none of the questioners, as it is understood by the questions they put, were on the side of the toiling masses and struggling classes. All of you have an aversion for revolution or the Marxist approach to achieve it. You have very abstract ideas about freedom itself. That way, though the chat was very interesting, I was disturbed by the dearth of idealism on the part of the literate people to take the side of the basic classes. I conclude once again reminding you about the days of the Spanish civil war, when the intellectuals took up arms in support of the democrats. Or let me remind you of the days of the national movement when the middle class cherished certain dreams and was idealistic. Anyway, I thank you, one and all, once again.
Recitation of poem - Maa Oori Surya Chandralu