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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 31 New Delhi July 20, 2019

A Life devoted to the CPI

Saturday 20 July 2019


by Sadasiva Chamarthy

Comrade Shameem passed away after battling cancer for months. After initial diagnosis, he maintained his composure, started undergoing usual routine checkups, then under- went chemocycles but in between regularly attending office, writing editorials and partici-pating in editorial board meetings either in office or at home if his health did not permit him to move out of home. But biology has its own laws. The body weakend and other infections took over leading to the final stage of illness.

He came to Delhi, rather was asked to come, to join party’s Central Urdu organ, Hayat. He was youthful, puffing cigarettes and dreaming about socialism. Ideologically fully trained as a CPI cadre of the 1970s, he started staying at the Asaf Ali Road office’s second floor accommo-dation. This is when fate fetched him his life partner and the rest is the way intellectuals say “hisory”.

Those were the times when great poets like Baba were contributing to Hayat. Comrades like Raj Bahadur Gaur were around in the Party headquarters. Raj Bahadur himself was a great scholar of Urdu.

Shameem had the advantage of learning from them.

In the early 1990s, the world turned topsy- turvy. The USSR disappeared into thin air shocking the Communists in our country. Many hurriedly left the party and decided to believe that there was no alternative to capitalism. Shameem continued to work as a full-timer. Hayat had to be closed. Shameem got shifted to New Age. Comrade Bardhan who knew Shameem right from Nagpur thought Shameem is the best bet to be entrusted with New Age.. Then.. PPH.... After 1997, Shameem naturally became a member of the Central Secretariat of the CPI. He was also was assigned a few States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, J&K. He picked up the threads. Did the best according to his ability. Incidentally, he was in charge of Gujarat when the riots were creating havoc and he had to guide the small party there. He was a good draftsman. Extremely good in framing resolutions, reports for organisational meetings from the National Council to Party Conferences. The Communist Party needs one such comrade always.

He was in later years in charge of writers and artists movements.. When the CPI decided to pay special attention to the minorities, Shameem suggested to form a new set-up “Insaf”... Shameem steered Insaf as its Vice- President.

Comrades from Maharashtra knew and remember Com Shameem as a youthful, energetic and militant comrade.. When Com Krishna Desai was murdered by Shiv Sena goons in the late 1960s, Com Shameem along with others rushed to Bombay... demanding militant response.

The author, who retired as an Associate Professor from Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, is a leading CPI activist and Deputy General Secretary of the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO).

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