A 47 year old teacher in Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University, Dr. GN Saibaba, comes from the coastal district in Andhra Pradesh. Born into a poor peasant family struggling to meet ends at the household, the condition took a turn for the worse when Saibaba, at the age of five, was diagnosed with polio eventually resulting in paralysis of his lower limbs. Despite these crippling hurdles, a highly motivated student that he was and with the considerate support from his school teachers, Saibaba cleared his schooling with distinction. It was in the East Godavari District Degree College in Amalapuram where he found his passion for literature.
During his college days in the early nineties he became increasingly aware of the political atmosphere where peoples struggles were challenging age-old orthodoxies and instruments of oppression. It was in those times when the exhortations by revolutionary balladeer Gaddar from Jana Natya Mandali along with poets, intellectuals, and political activists inspired thousands of youth that Saibaba joined the All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF). While studying in the University of Hyderabad he became the state secretary of Andhra Pradesh Committee in 1992. By 1995 he was the all India General-Secretary. In this period he studied at the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) (now known as EFLU) and then subsequently came to Delhi.
Saibaba has been writing, giving lectures, and organising protest meetings against imperialist globalisation, in favour of the democratic aspirations of various oppressed nationalities as well as dalit and adivasi issues. He remained an active commentator lending his voice to the cause of the peasantry, workers and other sections of oppressed masses.
Also a strong advocate of the civil and democratic rights movements he was a strong advocate of the need to repeal all draconian laws like POTA, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and many such draconian laws.
During the Mumbai Resistance 2004, an event organised to expose the collaborationist politics of NGOs and imperialist institutions, Saibaba participated as an active organiser and helped to build a revolutionary perspective determined to uphold people’s struggles everywhere. During this time the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) was formed and Saibaba became a part of it as well. With the on-coming onslaught of state sponsored vigilante groups on adivasis in the form of Salwa Judum, Saibaba led a platform avarious people’s organizations, civil libertarians, intellectuals and artists under the banner of Forum Against War on People. The genuine aspirations of the people to defend their lives and livelihoods that took shape in the form of anti-displacement movements, adivasi struggles saw its resonance among the intellectuals, academics, students and everyone concerned for a better future for the people of the subcontinent. It was this concern that made Saibaba joined hands with every democratic and pro-people sections to expose the real nature of the politics of development promoted by the Indian State. Many people got incarcerated in this struggle to defend the jal jungle and Zameen. It is in this context that the right to defend those incarcerated for their political convictions became important. Saibaba came forward to stand for the rights of the political prisoners as the all India Joint-Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front.
During all this, he has never neglected his academic interests and went on to successfully complete his Ph. D. in 2013. He could produce numerous research papers on the Modern Indian Novel. His early works in Telugu were published in a magazine named Srijana. These early articles focused on the dominant forms of knowledge that worked against dalit and adivasi assertions in the literary milieu. Over the last few years, he attempted to take on a project on Kabir and the myriad forms of anti-feudal struggles in the medieval period in the subcontinent.
Along with his colleagues, teaching and non-teaching alike Saibaba was a persistent voice against anti-academic anti-people policies of restructuring forced at the university. He was very active in mobilising support for the teachers and students resisting neo-liberal reforms within the university and outside. At numerous instances he has resisted and helped mobilise teachers and students against increasing authoritarian functioning of the University administration, increasing police interference in academic and social life of the University.
He was also active in the struggle against an ill-thought out and destructive imposition of Four Year Undergraduate Program in the Delhi University. At numerous instances he has resisted and helped mobilise teachers and students against increasing authoritarian functioning of the University administration, increasing police interference in academic and social life of the University.
It is for this that he was being targeted very aggressively by the University administration. He has been served many eviction orders to vacate a modest accommodation despite the University being duty-bound to provide a comfortable residence to a person with 90-percent disability. His family is still fighting an insensitive and criminal administration hell-bent on throwing them out of the University space under various pretexts. In fact, as this goes to press, his family (which comprises his wife, aged mother and daughter, who is a minor) has been served an eviction notice by the University. The order has been appealed against and the matter is currently sub judice.
Outside the University, his zeal to link revolutionary politics with his everyday practice, to expose the horrendous nature of everyday oppression and exploitation, crimes of the state against the vast masses of humanity, and growing fascist tendencies permeating our institutions, made him a target for the state. Saibaba has become an uncomfortable note of dissent that refuses to give up against the might of the state. It is his unwavering stand for the struggling masses and marginalized that has now found him behind bars in Nagpur Jail far away from his family and friends in Delhi.