Dr Venkat Reddy, the vice president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha passed away from a heart attack on October 21 2012.
Dr Venkat Reddy’s death is a huge loss to the farmers movement. In KRRS, he has left a legacy of his profound dedication to the movement and has inspired many, especially youth to join the struggle for a free, fair and just world and the rights of rural producers. He was at the forefront of youth training on political and idealogical issues in the KRRS. Although, he had been working very closely with KRRS since the 1980’s , he officially only became part of KRRS in 1999.
|Procession on Oct 22 in Dodaballapur, Karnataka for Dr Reddy|
Dr Reddy was a strong opponent of caste based discrimination and arranged many
“casteless” marriages under KRRS’s “simple self respect weddings” concept where no frills and intercaste weddings are arranged by the movement as a political act to defy the unjust norms of a caste ridden society. Infact, he personally became a guide and supporter of many youth who approached him when they faced community and family opposition when they wanted to marry outside their caste.
Within KRRS Dr Reddy was one of the main forces reaching out to form alliances with other social movements, groups and activists. For e.g. he was involved in a struggle for the right to land of Gypsy (Lambanis) community members and through their struggle got land titles for the landless. In his home town on Dodaballapur, he also ran a hospital where he charged just Rs 5 for their services and where medical service is provided to all irrespective of financial means or background. “I remember he provided free services to all, and inaugurated his hospital on a so called inauspicious day of the no moon and it was symbolically inaugurated by the most humble and disrespected member of society – a dalit widow. This was his way of challenging such outdated practices and taboos of society. We lost a great humanitarian and no one can replace Dr.Reddy.” recalls Chukki Nanjundaswamy of KRRS.
|Dr Reddy during a KRRS action to uproot illegal field trials of Duponts GM rice in 2011|
KRRS organized a procession to commemorate the death of Dr Reddy as a symbol of his last journey in Dodabballpur on the 22 Oct 2012. It was attended by hundreds of people who came to pay homage. He was buried in his farm “Tabarana Tota”.
Dr Reddy is survived by his wife, daughter, daughter- in -law, son and son-in-law and his four beloved grandchildren – Chukki(Star), Chiguru(Sprout), Dhanya(Grains), and Suggi(Harvest).
He was a great man and an inspirational and never to be forgotten figure in activist circles.