George Reddy oka unsung hero . Entho mandi leaders ni influence chesina person tanu. Alaanti oka leader gurinchi telusukune process lo maaku oka blog kanipinchindi. Aa blog ni George Reddy gari junior ayina Asvini Kumar garu 2012 lo raasaru. George Reddy tho athaniki unna connectio ni. Appati consequences ni, Aa consequences ki George Reddy ela revolt ayyaro chaala baaga explain chesaaru. Ee sentence taruvatha meeru chadivaboye article Asvin Kumar gari blog nundi teeskunnadhe.
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I am advancing in years (1953 born) and before I kick the bucket, I decided to put down in writing some impressions and memories of the remarkable and extraordinary research scholar and activist, George Reddy (b. 1947 – d. 1972), whom I had the opportunity to meet and interact with on numerous occasions during my days as a graduate student, 1971-72, in the Osmania University College of Science. It is now 4 decades since his death and almost 35 years since I moved out of Hyderabad, into quite a different career trajectory, founding and running a mid-sized business. It is quite possible that the mists of time have blurred some of these memories, especially in the case of dates, places, sequences, names, etc.; and I would like to be pardoned in advance for any inaccuracies and any omissions that may have crept in. I am writing this in the form of a narrative consisting of recollections of events as they happened and as I remember them. It is best treated as a personal account, a sort of notes to myself and to some of those who knew him and liked him for what he was as a person. I am sure that many others would also have innumerable and interesting and inspiring anecdotes to relate to, and so it should be. I have also consciously tried to avoid any partisan dimensions and attempted to keep this as “anecdotal“ as possible, with the sole motive of trying to provide readers a glimpse into the persona and exemplary character of George Reddy and to recapture some of the flavors of those bygone days.
This narrative is arranged in the following sequence:
1. How I first met George Reddy
2. Banda-Canteen discussions
3. Books, books, books…
4. A trip to Nellore
5. On cycles to Warangal
6. George Reddy on himself
7. Groups and circles
8. A portrait of George Reddy
9. Death at age 25
1. How I first met George Reddy
It was in the year 1971, at the age of 18 that I landed up at the University College of Science to pursue an academic course then called “Special B.Sc. (Physics)”. Born and bred in an urban middle class family, after excelling academically in school, taking a shot at joining the army (which did not happen for various reasons), severely castigated by extended family and friends for dropping out in my first year at IIT, happy-go-lucky by nature, enjoying the company of friends, here I was looking forward to a new phase in my life. I immediately struck up new friendships especially with Venkatramani (Ramani) and a few others and we were a jolly good bunch of fellows, enjoying what life had to offer having a good time. One day as I was walking along with Ramani, he greeted someone walking past us in the opposite direction and told me that it was George Reddy who had been his physics lecturer in AV College and that he found his classes to be very interesting and informative. Something rang a bell and I remembered that one George Reddy had manhandled a gatekeeper, Yusuf, in my school (St. Pauls High School) some years ago. Our school principal had announced that some rowdies had roughed up Yusuf. I had also heard stories from the campus grapevine that there were two rival student factions who had violently clashed repeatedly in the recent past. The factions were known to belong to the youth wings of the two main political parties of the day. A certain George Reddy, known to be a good pugilist and fighter, and a brilliant scholar with an M. Sc. Physics Gold Medal, was the charismatic leader of one of the factions. This was the impression of him I carried at that time; and so did many others like me. So when it was announced that there was to be a University level debate organized by George Reddy, on “The Indian People Can Achieve Liberation Only Through An Armed Revolution”, I decided to go and check it out for myself. Towards the end, George delivered an informative valedictory talk and then a group of us proceeded to the OUSC canteen and there was a heated discussion on the topic with George. I also decided to join the discussion and piped in with my two bits. Then the group dispersed, but something kept nagging me inside.
2. “Banda-Canteen” Discussions
Thus it was that I landed up a couple of days later brandishing a magazine called “The Plain Truth” to prove my points on the Vietnam War This was dismissed by George and Kulkarni as Western-backed propaganda and misinformation from the military-industrial complex of the West. I was new to all this and did not have much to say while they were really prepared with a lot of ammunition. I was advised to read “At War with Asia“ by Noam Chomsky, which I did. Ramani had also joined in on the discussions and this was to be the pattern of things for a few months when we hotly discussed and debated everything. I call this the “Banda-Canteen Discussions”. I hope this also serves to explain the title of this narrative “Banda-Canteen Broadcasts”. Banda-Canteen was so named because it consisted of granite boulders, adjacent to the canteen proper, at the base of a huge neem tree and which could accommodate about 12 people all around. Here, I must mention “Khaalu” or “Khaalajan“ (meaning ‘aunt’), a name by which we addressed the matronly canteen attendant who would keep sending hot half-cups of chai and snacks to us on demand. George always ate very modestly and at fixed times made sure that everyone got an equal share in the pie.
It is in this fashion that I became exposed to alternative points of view, especially the socialist ones, and my earlier opinion of George Reddy as a “student goonda” began to change. I began to see the makings of a brilliant physicist and an intellectual trying to visualize and work out his ‘larger than life’ vision and mission, a rebel in the transition to an ideologically committed actor.
It was around this time that there was a vicious attack with iron rods by hired goons on Vijay Kulkarni and 2 others in their hostel rooms, in which Kulkarni broke his elbow joint, which then had to be fixed with a bolt and screw from the inside. After this incident, Ramani and I decided to take boxing classes from George and we met for many a practice session at the OU gym. Here is where I learned about hooks, jabs, uppercuts, footwork, etc. Also, I clearly remember getting many black eyes in the process. There were some interesting incidents also at the “Banda-Canteen”. Aniruddha, a guy who used to live in my locality, once landed up and told George and Kulkarni that he was an absconding student revolutionary from Calcutta, who had fled the city to escape police capture. When I showed up that day he was sitting on the Banda with everyone in a posture of deference. Not knowing the background I just went up and gave Anirudhha a hearty backslap and asked him jokingly as to what had brought him to OU Science College and why he was wearing white pajama and kurta with a brown shawl. This really caused some flutter and confusion and I had to explain the background of the situation, and Aniruddha never forgave me for it, I guess. Anyway, Aniruddha dropped in at the Banda more often and we became a little friendlier.
3. Books, books, books …
On a regular basis, George used to give us books to encourage us to read and expand our knowledge and deepen our perspective. I noticed that they were stamped “Socialist Youth Forum-SYF”. I asked him one day about this and he told me that Raghunath Reddy (then a central cabinet minister for Labour, if I remember correctly) had encouraged and funded him to start a library under that aegis. I do not remember where the library was located but I think some of the regularly circulated books were at his home itself. The book titles were carefully selected, wrapped in neat plastic covers, stamped with an ID no. and date of purchase with value. There was also a notebook that kept meticulous accounts of every penny spent and it was reported regularly. It was thanks to these efforts of his that many of us got to read a number of books. George also took part in a fundraising campaign by SYF called East Bengal Fund to support the Mukti Bahini liberation forces in what is now Bangladesh. He used to pro-actively put forward many topics for discussion – the War in Vietnam, the Palestine Problem, events in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala (United Fruit Co), 1968 French Student Revolt, Black Panthers of America, the Naxalbari, Srikakulam, and Telangana movements, bourgeois culture and the need for de-classification, foco theory and guerrilla warfare, peoples’ liberation movements in Africa, were some of the constant themes. Che Guevara, Regis Debray, Cohn Bendit, Sartre, George Habash – these were some of the names we heard. By what he carried around I judged that he had some favorite books, the chief among them being those by Ernesto Che Guevara (Guerilla Warfare, On Revolution, Selected Writings, Venceremos, Bolivian Diary). I also saw him seriously poring through the tomes of Friedrich Hegel (Science of Logic), Sigmund Freud (Complete Psychological Works) and Karl Marx (The Collected Works). Three other large-sized volumes were those by James Joll (The Anarchists), Michael Bakunin’s Selected Writings and Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His light reading consisted of books like Regis Debray’s Revolution in the Revolution?, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, and Noam Chomsky’s At War with Asia.
4. A trip to Nellore
One day George said that he was off to Nellore for a couple of days, to provide campaign support to Raghunatha Reddy, in the latter’s election campaign, and invited some of us to join him. He said that we would all go in a jeep and then come back by train. I readily agreed, and five of us set off (George, Sharif, Aniruddha, Ajay Sinha, myself). It was a long drive and I don’t remember where we halted for the night, nor do I remember the details of the election campaign. But I remember one incident very clearly. A local farmer hitched a ride with us for some distance and while getting off took out some money to pay for it, but Sharif condescendingly told him to keep it. George intervened and said we should take the money as the guy didn’t look like a poor peasant but a rich one.
Soon it was time to return and for some reason, we were dropped off at Tirupati somewhere near the Akasha Ganga. We decided to spend the night in the open on a choupal under a huge tree near the edge of what seemed like a forest. In the middle of the night, Ajay got up on spotting a set of “eyes” moving in towards us from the direction of the forest. He immediately jumped up and readied himself to defend against any eventuality, but soon we all burst into laughter on recognizing a horde of foraging monkeys. But we could not sleep in peace as they proved to be quite a noisy and unsavory lot. The next morning, on the way back, we decided to have a bath at a lake and headed towards it. When we reached its shore, there was a general hesitation to get into the water as some local who passed by cautioned us about a crocodile which had made its home in the lake. George, in his underpants, all of a sudden pulled out a switchblade and rushed into the water, knife in hand like Tarzan, and started bathing. It was only then that all of us very cautiously entered the water, had a quick bath and got out in double-quick time.
We reached Renigunta station and waited to board a train. Having only unreserved tickets, we jumped into the unreserved bogie of the next express train towards Kazipet, that arrived in the station. We found that some para-military jawans were sleeping full-lengths in all the seats, thus forcing other ticket holders to stand all the way. When all requests failed to elicit any response George suddenly went and jerked up the nearest person by his collar and asked everyone else to come and occupy the seats. When the train stopped in the next station the doors opened and we were suddenly surrounded by dozens of para-military personnel, who evicted us all from the train. All the passengers who could sit comfortably thanks to our strong protests, watched silently, without speaking a word in our support. Then we found that it was almost fully a para-military train bound for the north.
Anyway, we caught the next train and got off at Kazipet junction in the morning. After some breakfast on the platform, we waited for a train to Hyderabad. During the wait, George called us over and challenged “Can you go and beg for money from those passengers over there?“ When asked “What on earth for?“, he replied, “It is a test of your ability to overcome your bourgeois attitude and de-classify yourself“. I think Aniruddha was the only guy who passed the test.
5. On cycles to Warangal
Ramani and I were of an adventurous disposition and one day we announced our plan to go on a cycling trip to Warangal and back, a distance of about 275 km. While we were asking around for other interested participants, George said that he would also like to join in. So it was that one night six of us (George, Sharif, Mazher, Sharma, Ramani and myself) took off on rented bicycles toward Warangal, starting out from the OU PG hostel area. We slept the first night, on the Alir railway station platform, about half way to our destination. It was pretty cold that night, and all of us, being unprepared for this, were shivering. Finally, we got close to each other for warmth and were glad to see dawn coming. As normally happens on trips of this kin,d we would burst into song and George also hummed his favorite Hindi songs. They were Woh subhah kabhi to aayegi (movie: Phir subha hogi), Jinhe naaz hai hind par who kahan hai & Jalaa do ye duniya (movie: Pyaasa), Rahi tu mat ruk jaana (movie: Door gagan ki chaon mein) and Raat kali ek khwab me aayi (movie: Buddha mil gaya). I must mention that all of us also sang bawdy songs to boot!! During wayside stops to rest, George would talk about guerrilla warfare and foco theory as expounded by Che Guevara and would imagine the mountains around us to be the “Sierra Maestra”. He would also give us brief lessons in hand to hand combat. During one of these, I tried a trick on him which I had learned from a martial arts book and he tripped and fell. He was so incensed that he lunged at me and pushed me so hard that I nearly fell into open irrigation well. In the process, I developed a huge swelling on my forehead and had to endure George playing a para-medic every few hours.
In this fashion, we reached Warangal and rested in a friend’s room in a college hostel. During this time George excused himself and disappeared for a few hours saying he had to go and meet some people. To this day nobody knows who they were. The very next day we headed back for Hyderabad. I will never forget this – our buttocks were so sore that we had to put dry hay wrapped in bath towels on the riding seat and rub our buttocks with Vaseline to be able to keep cycling on during the return journey.
6. George on himself
By the time we did the cycling trip, a few of us became more informal with George and out of curiosity asked him many things of a personal nature, to which he would sometimes reply and sometimes diplomatically avoid or shrug. I have narrated below his response to some of my queries. After completion of his M. Sc. 1st year, he was involved in a campus clash for which he was “rusticated“ (debarred from attending classes) for a period of 1 year. During this period he set up a study routine for himself in the OU library. Every single day he would get up at 6 am, finish his 1-hour exercise routine, have breakfast and read for some time. Then he would go to the library by 10 am and study Mathematics and Physics from first principles. He told me that he had completely worked through the Math textbook series by Markov from cover to cover. Similarly, he comprehensively covered the field of Physics (not sure if it was Berkeley Physics course or Feynman’s lectures) and took his own detailed notes in the process (his famous “study notes” were handed over to a junior of his named Shankar, who in turn showed them to me). As a result, when he sat for the final M.Sc. examinations he effortlessly came out on top. Such was the quality of his answers that an external evaluator from Bombay traveled all the way to meet in person the student who could write such brilliant answers. He never tired of mentioning that if you learn and understand a subject properly, you will surely be the topper. He recorded 100% attendance in M. Sc. classes. Though he was invited on an attractive scholarship to a famous Mumbai institute, he refused the same and instead preferred to pursue his research at the OU Science College, as he had decided to divide his time between academic work and revolutionary work. He mentioned he had chosen not to do any experimental work and was working on “Unified Field Theory”. He would now study at the Physics Department library from 10 am to 1 pm (engaged in reviewing state of the art in Theoretical Physics) and later at the OU library from 2 pm to 5 pm. He said that his early morning and the afternoon sessions were to read and study to sharpen his knowledge to aid his revolutionary work and interests.
Once, in flashback mode, he mentioned these two incidents relating to his B.Sc. days. He was traveling in a crowded city bus when a swarthy person standing next to him started pawing him deliberately. George said that to teach the bully a lesson he caught hold of the man’s genitals and squeezed so hard that he screamed horribly in pain. It was while being told this anecdote that I heard the words ‘gay‘and ‘fairy’ for the first time in my life. In another incident on a city bus he said that he was sitting behind a beautiful girl who was wearing thin muslin dupatta or odhni, which was fluttering in the wind. He could not resist the temptation of gently blowing some air on it to make it fall on the floor of the bus. The girl had no clue as to how it fell off, and George played Mr. Chivalrous by picking it up for her.
While returning home one evening, he was surrounded and attacked with rods and lathis, near his house, by hired goons. They were out to kill him but George narrowly escaped by jumping over a neighbor’s wall into safety. From there he managed to reach a hospital and get admitted with severe lathi wounds. He had also damaged one of his thumbs in this incident and was nursing it for many weeks afterward.
When asked why he never mentioned or talked about women and romantic love, he said that he was wedded to his credo and such a relationship had no place in his life. A couple of gorgeous-looking girls did try to pursue him but to no effect. He once showed me a poem he wrote while standing at the gate of his house, observing the beauty of a scene where Lambada women laborers carried loads upon their heads, their swaying bra-less bosoms matching the rhythmic sound of their anklets. I do not know what happened to that piece of paper and would love to see it again.
When asked about his heavy-duty reading schedule, George said that it went way back to his high school days when he would regularly bunk classes and bury himself in the City Central Library at Himayatnagar, where he devoured all the classics they had on their bookshelves.
7. Groups and circles
George had the ability to simultaneously engage and interact with multiple groups in different contexts and keep them in separate compartments.
The Engg. The college group consisted of his brother Cyril, Mahipal, Rajiah, Yadagiri and some others. ‘Daya Canteen’ in the Engg. College’s main building was the nerve center for this group. They were a brazen, well-knit, confident lot. This was the daredevil group that was involved in supporting and providing the cutting edge to George Reddy in all the campus clashes and face-offs with the opposing factions and their hired goon squads. The OU Science & Arts College group regulars consisted of the likes of Vijay Kulkarni, Sharma and Ajay Sinha, who identified more with the intellectual side of George. Many of his M.Sc. classmates were working as Physics faculty in various university-affiliated colleges and would come to look him up, once in a while. Due to his academic honors, some of the junior post-grad students like Salauddin Razi and Shankar would also keep in touch with him, though more from the Physics angle.
He was always trying to attract and inspire new youngsters like Javeed, Ramani, Srikrishnan, Pradeep, Mazher, Aniruddha and many others, through discussion groups, book reading, and study circles. His approachability, friendly disposition, knowledge, and simplicity was a huge plus point in his favor and gave him the force of magnetic attraction.
We never discussed many castes, community, and religion as George felt that “Religion is the opium of the people” and was totally against organized religion of any kind. However, I felt that he was in the process of engaging with some students and youth from the Dalit fraternity to help them sharpen their perspective from caste consciousness to one of class consciousness.
He made regular appearances at a cycle shop in Himayatnagar in the evenings at a scheduled time and there was a set of people who would meet him there. The same was true of the Narayanguda Taj Mahal hotel which was an informal hub for budding mainstream politicians. In Sultan Bazaar he sometimes met with Prakash Chandra, a school and college batch-mate, S.N. Kabra, an M.Sc. batchmate, Iqbal and Sultan, both local shopkeepers.
I must also mention the loyal “Sharif Bhai“, a wiry, sneering guy, who mostly swore instead of conversing. He was, during the last year of George’s life, a constant personal companion and odd job man. Sharif was holding a clerical job in the science labs of one of the universities affiliated colleges. He was also a regular at gambling clubs and I supposed he had other associated activities. Until today I have not figured out how “the twain happened to meet”.
8. Portrait of George Reddy
What did George himself look like? He was of medium height, about 5‘ 6“, athletic, with a strong grip of a wheat complexion. Most of the time he sported a beard but on occasion would be clean-shaven sporting only a trim mustache. His hair was normally combed with a left side parting, but sometimes he reversed this style. While he wore half-sleeved bush shirts, towards the later part he preferred a full-sleeved olive green shirt with wide pockets worn with cotton jeans and rubber slippers. He used reading glasses.
While he had a very limited set of clothes, they were always cleanly washed and manually pressed. He shunned alcohol and tobacco, his food habits were simple, Spartan, and very timely. Towards his last few months, he had started skipping a meal every day in empathy with those who went hungry to bed every night. Thrifty and frugal, he used everything carefully, with economy and efficiency. Nowhere was this more evident than when he put pen to paper. You could see hardly any white space left.
His exercise routine consisted of warming up followed by push-ups, sit-ups, backbends, abdominal crunches, and martial art steps. Aware of his vulnerability to be set upon by goons, he always carried a knuckle duster and a 6″ switchblade knife. He mostly conversed in English and the Hyderabadi dialect (with the customary sprinkling of swear words, a habit which was he consciously trying to overcome). I have never seen him converse in Telugu, but he was in the process of teaching himself the formal written and spoken versions of the Hindi and Telugu languages; and given his voracious capacity to absorb new things, he would have mastered them in no time.
As far I could remember, he always traveled by city buses, covering the ‘last mile’ on foot, though he would once in a while ride pillion with some student or colleague, and only on very rare occasions travel in someone’s car or use a cab. He was an excellent teacher and during the interval between his M. Sc. and the approval of his research grant, he taught Physics at AV College as a lecturer. He bought books with his savings. In the latter part of 1971, George was featured in a documentary film on student unrest in Indian campuses in which he appeared in his olive green shirt, beard and all. I watched this documentary film in the OU Tagore auditorium. If one could get hold of this film we can see him in flesh and blood again, although only as an image on the screen.
9. Death at age 25
On the evening of 14th April 1972, George died from multiple stab wounds (32, if I recollect right) inflicted in broad daylight, near the OU Engg. College hostel, by a gang of armed students from an opposing faction, who had buttressed their forces with hired killers from the bootlegging underworld. Going there to assist a college student who was being intimidated, threatened, and roughed up, George was surrounded pounced upon, and furiously battered by the fully armed gang, and repeatedly stabbed by multiple persons. He died on the spot. Though he fought them off bravely, it would have been a miracle had he came out of there alive. All this took place in full view of the police posse posted just outside the college hostel to prevent just such an incident. If one could pinpoint a weakness in George, ironically, it would be his utter contempt for danger. It appeared almost as if he had ‘transcended fear’. It is said that Fidel Castro, while describing Guevara as an intelligent, daring, and exemplary leader who “had great moral authority over his troops”, further remarked that Guevara took too many risks, even having a “tendency toward foolhardiness”.
There was immediate and widespread outrage on the news of this killing. The police released the body after a post mortem and it was taken to his modest home. The entire family and his large body of friends, well-wishers, and sympathizers were in a state of shock. Students from all parts of the city came to get a glimpse of the body and there were long lines building up. Politicians from the ruling party as well as the Left parties, also came to pay their respects and expressed their outrage and condemnation. Such was his charisma, that the burial procession was a sea of humanity and thousands accompanied the cortege to the cemetery, where he was finally laid to rest – many shouting slogans, some silently grieving, some tearful, many too angry unable to speak, all with a sense of disbelief at what had occurred.
The killers went into hiding and finally surrendered to the police. The murder trial itself turned out be a farce – all the accused being acquitted on a mere technicality. The concrete testimony of eyewitnesses, who were present, was of course, completely ignored. I do not recollect the entire details about the case, but on a few occasions when some of us attended the courtroom proceedings, hired goons of the accused sought to intimidate and threaten us. It was widely believed that key members of the judiciary and police were either bribed or coerced or both.
In the last few months before his death, George had come into contact with revolutionary intellectuals of many persuasions, professional trade unionists, student activists, youth leaders, and representatives of Indian revolutionary organizations. I think these were at the initiative of the latter, who sought him out and wanted to win him over to support and join their particular entity.
The discussions centered on the strategy of how to organize and carry forward the peoples’ liberation struggle in India. Many disagreed with George’s ‘Guevarista’ approach, terming it unsuitable for Indian conditions. They advocated the relevance and significance of building mass movements, of relentless propaganda, agitations on economic issues, integrating the working-class movements, while at the same time funding and building a revolutionary organization. In particular, he seemed to be impressed with a couple of individuals, saying “if this is the caliber, commitment and sheer dedication of these persons, I am convinced that my place is with them”. However, there is not enough known about this matter to conclude that he had thrown in his lot with one or the other entity. But it was clear that he had made up his mind to “cross the Rubicon” and give up his much-loved Physics research in favor of full-time work ‘in the trenches’.
This is particularly important to underscore, as in the years after his death, the Revolutionary movement in Andhra Pradesh welled up strongly and many organizations claimed his legacy. It was commonplace to see him being praised as a hero and martyr, in gatherings of rival organizations. Anyway, as a result, George Reddy was transformed into a powerful symbol of the democratic, progressive and radical student protest in the state, and memorial debates, anniversaries and related gatherings in his remembrance continued to be held regularly. Many students, youth, activists, and others, who went on to play key leadership roles, proudly acknowledge the influence George Reddy had on them.
His vision and credo stemmed from Karl Marx’s historic words “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” and he sincerely believed that he should exert every ounce of energy, every sinew and muscle, till his last breath to work towards realizing this dream, both for India and the world. He was a revolutionary in the making and was preparing himself to play a key role in the liberation struggle of the Indian peasantry and downtrodden classes. He never tired of quoting one of his favorite passages from Che Guevara’s writings:
strong>“Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.”
Steven Spielberg produced a movie series titled “Back to the Future” based on the modern physics theories about multiple simultaneous universes in action. Sometimes, in idle moments, I have stretched this concept to indulge in some wishful thinking about an alternative scenario – had George Reddy lived on, how would he have responded to the unprecedented historical events that unfolded in the past 4 decades? Independent Vietnam, Collapse of the Soviet Union, Chinese Capitalism, Global Terrorism, Islamic Fundamentalism, Middle East Crises, Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Globalization of Capital, Population Explosion, Irreversible Environmental Damage, and so on…. Would his participation have led to a different outcome from India’s own multi-layered peoples’ movements? Would he have surely been martyred sooner than later or survived to be 65 years old today? No one is expected to know – it was a hypothetical universe!! Some of his professors, peers, colleagues, and friends were of the opinion that had he continued his researches in Theoretical Physics, he would surely have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. But he chose instead, another, truly arduous path, stemming from his convictions and sustained by something akin to ‘missionary zeal’.
Would I have preferred him to see him alive today as a famous physicist, our own Einstein, or should I rationalize that at least I caught a whiff of the flower’s scent just in time before it was nipped in the bud? I don’t know – it’s a hypothetical question!!
But, to have known such a person who so completely transformed himself, to live and strive for something immeasurably larger than his own self is indeed a rare privilege bestowed on me.
I have very often wondered why memories and impressions of George Reddy are so clearly imprinted in my mind as if they happened only very recently. Especially, since, for nearly 35 years
I have been am far removed from any political, social or public arena. I have developed my own views of the world, which are far from revolutionary and I judge myself guilty for not being able to practice even an iota of the values and principles George lived by.
But, somehow, I can never forget the sight of him, clad in his trademark olive green shirt, top button open, in jeans and Hawaii slippers, a book by his side, glasses in his shirt pocket, perched on the rock at ‘Banda’ canteen stunning a group of youngsters with his intellect, commitment, passion and sincerity.
I cannot end this narrative, in any other fashion, other than by recalling that George, when quizzed “Aakhir Kyoon? “ (what’s all this for?), would quote Che Guevara’s description of himself:
”Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort, one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes”.
Original Author: Asvini Kumar, Alumnus (1973, Spl. B.Sc. ( Physics), University College of Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad
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