Friday, October 25, 2013

Bandits Have No Political Aims - Dr.B.V Keskar

The Straits Times - 9th May 1949

Statement by Indian Deputy Minister for External Affairs Dr Keskar showed Indian Government’s disappointment over information received with regards to Ganapathy’s case.

This went along with Nehru’s remarks stating folly act by the British administration for hanging Ganapathy and refused to comment over his death.

I am not very much agreeing to the statement that the unrest was just “nothing but bandits having no political aims”. I feel that it is wrong to brandish Ganapathy as bandit in the first place, and totally not agreeing with Keskar as there was a strong political aim to established a socialist soviet state in Malaya. Miners struggle in Batu Arang proved this beyond doubts:

In the vast domain of the Malayan Collieries of Batu Arang in Selangor was a "state within a state": "Here the management saw its elaborate controls over a 6,000-strong workforce as modern and enlightened. But it was… most severe. In March 1937, a soviet was established, and Malaya’s principal source of power was paralysed by strikes. It was part of a wave of protest that enveloped the mines and the rubber estates along the west coast, involving as many as 100,000 workers. The Batu Arang Soviet was crushed ruthlessly by 250 police and 200 Malay troops". But this did not prevent the rise of workers’ resistance which became, at one stage, the major base for the MCP.

There was a fall out between the CPM and Ganapathy as stated by Rajeswari Ambalavanar in her book. This was due to Ganapathy was more interested in fighting for rights of workers instead of political gains. But later years, after the emergency was declared, the struggle path changed. Ganapathy may have realized that political gains will ensure rights for workers.

Interesting also to note broadcast news over Radio Malaya where Ganapathy and Veerasenan were branded as outlaws and criminals. Also to note a photograph of light mobile tanks of Chinese Communist.

“Bandits Have No Political Aims”

DR.B.V Keskar
 Dr.B.V Keskar Indian Deputy Minister for External Affairs, who recently visited Malaya, told Reuter today that Malayan unrest could not be described a struggle for liberation.

He described the insurgents in Malaya as “nothing else but bandits, having no political objective.” He did not think the British were using a “Communist scare to suppress people’s independence.”

Referring to the execution of the former PMFTU president, A. Ganapathy for unlawful possession of arms, Dr. Keskar said,

“We are not trying to question the authorities’ right to try him. What we are concerned about is that they did not have the ordinary courtesy to consider our recommendation.

“If they did, they did not keep us informed.”

In a broadcast talk over Radio Malaya last night, Mr. Alex Josey said: “Ganapathy was a trade union leader who turned bandit. He was ganged last week, because, contrary to the law he carried a loaded revolver. He tried to use it when he was arrested.

“Veerasenan was another trade union leader who turned bandit. The day before Ganapathy was hanged Veerasenan was shot dead after a gun battle.

“Both these men were outlaws. They died because they placed themselves deliberately outside the law.”

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