Rest in power, Bojja Tharakam Sir!

 

Karthik Navayan

Bojja Tharakam (1939-2016). From Radical Students Union (RSU), Scheduled Castes Federation (SCF), Scheduled Castes Students' Federation (SCSF), Ambedkar Yuvajana Sangham (AYS), Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS - Farm Workers' Union of which he was an advisor), Republican Party of India to Andhra Pradesh Dalita Mahasabha. From a student leader organising a month long protest against the inhuman conditions at a SC students' hostel in Kakinada to a militant lawyer fighting for justice for a murdered Dalit farm worker in Nizamabad, probably the first time a Dalit lawyer appeared in such a case. From fighting for hundreds and thousands of Dalit labourers to organising political, legal battles against Karamchedu, Tsunduru, Padirikuppam, Neerukonda, Bandlapalli to Laxmipeta massacres, from Magisterial courts to the High Court to the Supreme Court. From fighting for countless victims of encounters, disappearances, atrocities to being jailed for one year for standing up for such cases (from July 1975 to July 1976). Taking the struggle for dignity and rights from the village to the Prime Minister's house in Delhi. From his earliest days in the forties and fifties, growing up in a home where his father organised the first Ambedkarite land struggles in coastal Andhra, to today's dark days when he vociferously opposed Hindutva terror and the Modi raj vociferously, and consistently. Bojja Tharakam Sir embodied the spirit of Ambedkarism for more than two generations. Who defined the meaning of human rights better than him? Round Table India mourns the sad demise of one of the greatest sons of India in recent times.         

 Who's Bojja Tharakam? The new generation may search on Google, but he does not have a Wikipedia page. But if you want to know about him, ask Karamchedu Dalit massacre victims, Tsunduru Dalit massacre victims, so many others. The rape victims, victims of state violence, victims of atrocities. Each victim will tell the story of Bojja Tharakam, equivalent to thousands pages on Wikipedia.

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He was a great promise for marginalised communities of the Telugu states. A lawyer, who roared against atrocities on Dalits, a leader, poet, orator, activist and a democratic partner of a great author, Vijaya Bharathi. Son of another great leader and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's contemporary, Bojja Appalaswamy. I should reveal it here, Bojja Tharakam was the only lawyer who asked Dalit victims facing rapes and killings everyday to retaliate against the perpetrators and assured them that he will fight their cases and free them. Salutes Bojja Tharakam sir! Rest in power! We will continue the struggle! Jai Bhim!

Whoever wants to pay their last respects to Bojja Tharakam may visit Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Bagh Lingampalli, from 7 a.m in the morning to 12 noon. Cremation at Mahaprasthanam, Near Mehfil hotel, Sheikpet Dargah, Hyderabad.

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