15 June, 2021

The Quiet Subversive

PVN, the man no one owns. On his 92nd birth anniversary...

Jitender Gupta
The Quiet Subversive

P.V. Narasimha Rao’s The Insider is fiction, reality and prophecy come together. Anand is Rao himself, albeit in semi-fictional avatar. In the book, a young comrade exhorts him: “Run, Anandji, run for your life.... No one gives a damn for your genius! Escape, dreamer...before they get you condemned, before they destroy the real you and set the hounds of their suborned public opinion against you—so that you may never rise again!”

‘Dreamer’, ‘genius’, ‘condemned’, ‘hounded’, ‘destroyed’, ‘smothered’, and not allowed to ‘rise again’. Words that capture Rao’s political life. But also a partial representation of the man. The other Rao was a quintessen­tial subversive. One who subverted every entrenched system in the country as well as every major theme in its political discourse.

Those who wanted to destroy him think they succeeded. What they don’t realise is that Rao condemned them to follow the legacy he laid out for...

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