Boddapadu Youth League Celebrates Fifty Years

Boddapadu is a historic village with the legacy of being a centre of revolutionery peasant struggle. It has been the distinguished home of several heroic revolutionaries and martyrs, spanning the entire history of the Indian Communist movement. This extremely poor, backward village in coastal Srikakulam bordering Orissa, was the place where the Communist movement lit a spark in 1952. The legendary figure Tamada Ganapathi, who was later martyred, initiated the Boddapadu Yuvajana Sangam (Boddapadu Youth League) in 1954. This League quickly succeeded in mobilising youth in musical and cultural activities as well as sowing the seeds of Communism in youth as well as society. The League led popular agitations, and also sparked off awareness and voluntary activity for schools, healthcare and drinking water. Gradually, the movement spread, and 50 Youth Leagues were established in the area.

The great Subbarao Panigrahi was once a temple priest (pujari) in this village, only to become a Communist revolutionary later. There were many other great leaders, including Panchadri Krishnamoorthy and Panchadri Nirmala.

The landmark struggle of 1968 began with popular resistance to Congress goons, and grew into a popular occupation and harvesting of the landlord’s fields. Severe police repression followed, and several legendary leaders including Panchadri Krishnamoorthy, Subbarao Panigrahi, Tamada Ganapathi, Pothanapalli Appa Rao, Madanala Dushyanth, Binapalli Papa Rao, Gudala Loknadham, Dunna Gopal Rao, Tamada Chinna Babu, Telukala Saraswati and Panchadri Nirmala were killed. Several were also arrested and jailed for years. The movement suffered a setback and the Youth League became defunct. Later, inspired by the Naxalbari movement, there were some attempts to revive the Youth League, but these were not successful.

In 1982, Comrade Malleswara Rao was released from jail, and began work in Boddapadu under the banner of IPF. The Youth League was now revived. The work here continued to face assaults and assassination attempts by Congress goons.

In 2004, the Youth League decided to observe its fiftieth anniversary. A 10-day long programme, from February 1 to 10, was held. The event was held in the teeth of opposition from PWG and repression by the state in the form of combing operations. The programme included volleyball and kabaddi tournaments, conventions of students, women and peasants, a cultural mela culminating in a Rally and singing of the International youth song.

The inaugural session began with a March to the Martyrs’ Column, where Comrade Ramji Rai, CC Member of CPI(ML) and leader of the Jan Sanskriti Manch, garlanded the Column. Back at Boddapadu, leaders including the State Secretary Comrade Murthy garlanded the statue of Comrade Charu Majumdar.

At the public meeting, Comrade Ramji Rai spoke of the unquenchable revolutionary spirit of Boddapadu, and the need to take on the challenge of defeating communal fascism. The young team of the West Bengal Gana Sanskriti Parishad performed the mime dance ‘Flaming Fields’. The event drew hundreds of local people, as well as survivors of the earlier phase of the movement, to participate enthusiastically. q