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#RIP- Jangalnama’ author and Punjabi activist Satnam commits suicide

People in the jungle don’t know who Nehru was, or what happened in 1947. Nor do they know about the change of rule from the Whites to the Browns. For them, “Dilli” (Delhi) is only a word associated with the government, and to them, the government means greedy contractors, repressive police, displacement and harassment.”
 
These are words of Gurmeet Singh, famously known as Satnam taken from his beautifully observed travelogue of the forests of Bastar, named Jangalnama following which he came to be known as Satnam Jangalnama.

 

 

Pen named Satnam, Gurmeet Singh, who has authored the travelogue Jangalnama, was discovered dead in his residence at Patiala. The author had been suffering from depression for quite some time. According to latest resources, after battling depression for the past six months, the author ended his life on Wednesday night. Gurmeet Singh’s travelogue Jangalnamawas based on the lives of the Adivasis of the region of Bastar. The book contains a fair account of the author’s travel experience in the Maoist-affected region. Pseudonymed Satnam, Jangalnama is the author’s most celebrated work that has been translated into Hindi, English and eight other languages.

Gurmeet Singh

Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Gurmeet Singh kick-started his literary work by translating Spartacusinto the Punjabi language. Satnam’s associates who have suffered a massive jolt after hearing the news of his sudden demise stated that the communist leader joined the Left movement during his youth. In accordance with the Head of Bhartiya Kisan Union, Patiala unit, Darshan Pal, the author had slipped into depression due to the communist party’s poor political influence and show. During the riots of Gujarat in 2002, the bereaved author Gurmeet Singh took active part in bringing the Muslims and other democratic organizations into a single platform.

The author had also essayed a crucial role in structuring the Revolutionary Resistance Manch and Mumbai resistance in 2004. Gurmeet Singh, while studying humanities at JNU also actively participated in laying the foundation of anti-Operation Green Hunt group. The Naxalite movement of the 70s had impressed the young Gurmeet Singh, then a class XII student of Khalsa College. He had started taking part in political movements from a very young age. He actively participated in voicing the menace of the labor class and the employees. He had also been a member of the People’s Democratic Front of India. The late author is reported to have taken part in protests and agitations against the wrong doings on the people of Kashmir.

Hailing from a village in Amritsar, the author lived alone in Patiala. Survived by his wife and daughter, Gurmeet Singh was cremated on Thursday. The cops are treating this case as a suicide. Vishav Bharti, who had translated Jangalnama into English in 2010 considers him to be a selfless man who had not taken any initiative to promote Jangalnama. A sequel to this literary masterpiece was being penned down by the author, currently.

Satnam, who hailed from a backward family of Amritsar, was a man of revolution, a creative writer, and a sensitive human being, who spent more than four decades of his life struggling for a better world, for better humans, and a better life. Satnam left his graduation in second year in 1970s under influence of Naxalite movement and dedicated his life for the cause of revolution by becoming a professional revolutionary.
He worked as a lathe man, a foreman, and as a daily wage worker among working class to organize them. He also worked among religious minorities, dalits, oppressed nationalities, and played a pivotal role in collaboration of different Muslim democratic organizations after Gujarat genocide 2002.
He was also a member of executive committee of People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI), and Mumbai Resistance 2004. He consistently opposed state’s atrocities on people of Kashmir, and launched a campaign against Operation Green Hunt at all India level. Satnam wrote in Punjabi and English equally beautifully, and wrote under various names in revolutionary magazine ‘People’s March’. He also remained an active member of editorial boards of Punjabi magazines ‘Sulgde Pind’, ‘Lok kafla’, ‘People’s Resistance’, and ‘Jan Pratirodh’.
Satnam ended his life at his residence on 28th April, 2016 in Patiala, struggling with our society’s complicated relations, movements’ complexities, and crisis of revolutionary movement. He will always be remembered as an innovative writer, a vigilant social scientist, a dedicated worker and at the same time, a critic of revolutionary movement. Satnam was a multitalented person who could argue about society and science, about poverty and stars, about revolution and big bang, about Marx and Einstein, about history and time machine, and about future and black holes equally well.

 

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