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“And this rottenness has spread into every facet of our lives including into our universities.. Today, we have no other course left to us open now.. We have raised our voice in protest.. Our protest has remained unheard.. We have marched in processions.. Our processions have been broken up by police..
We have erupted in violence.. And our violence has been met with greater violence.. Today what is left to us but to organize and meet violence with violence..??.. “ – George Reddy, while speaking in the documentary ‘Crisis In The Campus’ (1971) by Fali Billimoria
It is this audacity of George Reddy, with which he always had lived and spoken, that made him a rebel extraordinaire and a very powerful student leader par excellence in the glorious student history of India.
Unfortunately, it is also this ruthless rebel nature of George Reddy and this lionhearted doggedness in him, that had forced the unscrupulous communal student forces, of those days Osmania University, to brutally stab him to death and send him out of this world.
But Why Did George Reddy Become A Rebel..??
George Reddy, in a way, was a born rebel..
Right from his school days, he would always question and oppose any one, including his own teachers, if he had thought, “..these people are not fair in the way they are dealing with my fellow students in the name of disciplining them..”.
Here’s one unforgettable incident, from the child life of George Reddy, that occurred in the year 1956, at the Infant Jesus Residential School, that is there in a place called Thangasseri, near the Kollam town of Kerala.
But before knowing that, I first want you to know a little about George Reddy and his family.. Because, without knowing his family and George’s disturbed childhood, you will not be able to know, understand or appreciate either George, his genius or his rebel Nature.
George’s Mother, Leila Vurghese, is a Syrian Christian from Kerala and his father Raghunath Reddy is a Hindu from the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.. They have fallen in love with each other, while studying in the South Indian city of Madras that is there on the Coromandel coast.
While Leila was pursuing her post graduation at the Queen Mary’s College, those days in the 1930’s, Raghunath Reddy was studying B.A. (Hons) at the Presidency College, Madras.. Leila would go to Raghu’s college often to attend Mathematics tuition classes.
During that process, Leila once bumped into Raghu, during the Presidency college elections.. While Raghu was contesting for the President’s post, Leila was campaigning against him..
Since opposite forces attract each other, Raghu and Leila too were attracted to each other and had finally got married in the year 1940.. In all, Leila and Raghu had five children from their marriage.
While Karl Reddy, who later went on to become an IAS officer, is the eldest among all the five children of Leila and Raghu, Dawn Reddy (daughter), Joy Reddy (daughter) George Reddy and Cyril Reddy (youngest son) were the other four among them.
George was born on the 15th of January, 1947.. George and Cyril were always together until George was murdered in 1972.. Both these brothers have also studied in the same schools and almost the same colleges in which ever town or city their family had ever lived.
Due to some inexplicable family problems, George’s parents, Leila Vurghese and Raghunath Reddy, could not live together for a long time..
After that tragic separation from her husband – although not officially but circumstantially – Leila on her own had started taking good care of her children.
Having born in a conservative Christian family, the never compromising Leila struggled a lot in her life and had gone through many turmoils, both in her personal life as well as in her public life, to uphold the dignity of her own family and also of her parents’ family.
Life was never easy for Leila nor for her family of five children to live it the way they wanted to live.. Unfortunately, Raghunath Reddy was never supportive and in a way had left his wife and children to their own fate.
Keeping calm and maintaining great restraint, Leila Vurghese, who hails from a highly learned and respectable Kerala family, would struggle a lot to feed her family..
While feeding children itself was a big problem for Leila, those days, paying their school fees was literally a mountainous task for her.
Working as a teacher in a Missionary school, Leila would some how mange her family although it was way beyond her feminine strength.. Sheer determination to live life with dignity was her main forte those days.
Leila’s father and in fact her entire family was very supportive to Leila, however, she was never comfortable accepting charity from people, although they were her own family..
She always believed in the noble theory that “my children should ever live with pride, honesty, dignity and self esteem and should always come up on their own and not with the help of others”..
It is with this theory, that they have learned from their Mother, all the members of George’s family are still living today.. They are all soft spoken and had always maintained a very low profile all through their life..
They are always uncomfortable talking about their most beloved brother, George Reddy, and his untimely death..
They want to keep the tragedy of George a closely guarded family affair despite knowing well that “still after 44 years of his death today, George Reddy is immensely popular and has an enormous following among yesterday’s youth as well as today’s..”.
While this is the current scenario, George, in his childhood, would silently observe the pain and agony, his beloved Mother was all alone going through in their lives.. He could also see the tears hidden in her eyes behind those artificial smiles.
Leila was an equally wise lady and at one point of time had realized that her little George was constantly observing her struggle for existence.. From thereafter, Leila had started paying some special attention to George and of course George to his mother.
From there on, an inseparable bondage of great love had started developing between George and Leila..
It may not be an unusual one, to develop between a Mother and a son, but here in this case, it is something that is built on a responsibility of sharing each other’s burden which is unusual for the younger one to shoulder when there were other elders in the family.
It was with this sense of responsibility, that he had shouldered at a very young age, George had always taken good care of his younger brother, Cyril.
(With this special affection and love for Cyril, George had never left Cyril alone until he breathed his last.. Today, Cyril fondly remembers how ever caring his George was for him and how he always had spread a strong ring of protection all around him).
At that very tender age, George had also realized that to the best of his abilities he should perform exceedingly well in academics and should always be a topper wherever he is studying and whatever course he’s pursuing..
He always dreamed about living a life extraordinary, not in terms of materialistic pleasures but in terms of upholding the human values, and do all that he can, both for his Mother as well as for his beloved family..
But destiny thought otherwise and took George away from this world at a very young age.. PERIOD
Although George was too young to understand what’s going on between his beloved Mother and Father, and why is that his father was not staying with them, he could however sense that all is not well between the two and that his Mother is made a victim of circumstances.
In a way, Georges’s silent observation of his Mother’s suffering on one side and his sheer helplessness on the other, had turned this naughty kid George into a demure child..
Although he wanted to, at least on a few occasions, George still never had the guts to ask his Mother, “why is that you should all alone struggle in life when it is the primary responsibility of our Dad to stay by us and support our family”..
However, he would always keep asking himself repeatedly this same question and quite often too.
It was this constant questioning of himself; this helpless situation to forcibly remain a mute spectator to the silent suffering of his beloved Mother; and this indifference of his father to his beloved Mother and to his own children, that had turned George Reddy into a rebel in life..
Later, George went about doing in the society what he couldn’t do at home and went about showing his rivals what he couldn’t show his Dad..
And it was exactly at this point of life, that an innocent school boy called George Reddy went on to become George Reddy – The Rebel Extraordinary..
And it was also during such great turmoil, that George was going through in his childhood, this school incident occurred..
Please Go Through
For about three years from 1956, George and Cyril studied at the Infant Jesus residential school in Thangasseri in Kerala.. The Principal of that school, Fr. Stephen S Gomez, was a very strict man and would often punish his students in the name of keeping them disciplined.
He would beat the children very badly with a cane stick, if in his view, they were not adhering to the stupid disciplinary rules he had introduced in that school.. In his view, a student talking to the next student, during the class hours, is a big crime that would always deserve the strictest ever punishment.
As a rule those days, Gomez would forcibly implement the study hours by making children sit in a reading hall and study from 6 pm to 9 pm.. It was a very punishing exercise for all the children, who will normally be tired after attending the school the whole day.
Just because they were children and just because they cannot question the authority of Gomez, all the children would still silently suffer the pain – in that hell like reading hall where Angels would fear to tread – inflicted upon them in the name of “study discipline”.
There was also one hardcore rule, introduced by Gomez those days, and strictly implemented during those study hours..
As part of that rule, all the children should silently browse through their study material in the reading hall and maintain a pin drop silence all through.. Talking to one another in the reading hall was a crime, in the view of Gomez, that would almost deserve a death sentence.
Gomez was such a rotten stupid rascal who would always torture innocent children in the name of discipline, until one day he had come across a 9 – year old brave and a courageous boy, in the form of George Reddy, who with great intrepidity had raised objection to the unlawful behavior of Gomez in the reading hall.
Here’s what had happened on that historical evening, that later introduced the silent rebel in George Reddy to the world..
This is also the first historical incident that marked the beginning of a series of revolutionary incidents that had made George Reddy the most powerful student leader ever in the glorious student history of India.
One evening, when all the students were silently studying in the reading hall, a boy sitting next to George gave a small piece of paper to him after writing something on it.. This was what that boy had written on that paper..
“George, am unable to solve this problem in Maths.. If I don’t solve it in my home work today, my teacher will beat me badly in the class room tomorrow.. Please help.. I know you can..”
Without uttering a word, the 9 – year old cute boy, George, quietly smiled at his friend; took the Maths book from his hand; solved the problem in a minute; and handed it over back to his friend..
To their ill luck, Gomez, who was supervising the activities in the reading hall had silently watched everything that George had done to his friend.
With his eyes literally turning Red, Gomez picked up the sharp cane stick, that he had earlier placed on a table, and came walking slowly towards George, who at that time was sitting with his head bent down and going though his Science book.
Gomez went and stood silently beside George..
Seeing a shadow appearing on his book, George slowly lifted his head and looked quietly, with all the fearlessness in the world, at his ruthless Principal, Gomez, and the cane stick in his hand.
Continued in “The Brutal Murder Story Of Osmania Student Leader George Reddy-Part Two” which am going to post next Friday, on the 29th of April, 2016.
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