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Maoist or Sangh, ‘live-in’ is a no-no

Nagpur, March 8: One champions old traditions, the other the idea of a new world. But when it comes to sex outside marriage, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Maoists are on the same page.

Both have publicly condemned extramarital relations over the past week — one on the grounds of morality and “culture”, the other in the name of organisational discipline.

Sangh general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi yesterday described “live-in relationships” and “homosexuality” as challenges before the Hindu way of life in his annual general report before the organisation’s highest policy and decision-making body in Bangalore.

The Maoists’ position on the subject came, perhaps for the first time, in a statement by the spokesperson for their Dandakaranya special zonal committee on March 1.

Gudsa Usendi — which is how the committee’s spokespersons are known —was commenting on senior CPI (Maoist) leader G.V.K. Prasad’s surrender to the Andhra police in January last year.

“Prasad had been in a live-in relationship with a party cadre, Santoshi Markam, for about a year. Our party does not approve of such relationships,” the statement said.

It added that party members can marry one another with the consent of their respective committees but Prasad had neither divorced his wife Raje nor sought a separation from her.

“It comes under the purview of intra-party discipline,” the statement said. “There is no ban on mutual love or marriages, but the party doesn’t approve of any extra-marital relationship before or after marriage.”

Prasad’s desertion of the party and his wife Raje for a second woman only shows his “petty bourgeois mentality” with regard to man-woman relationships, the statement said.

Prasad was the Gudsa Usendi when he surrendered, and the statement came from his successor. Spokespersons of the committee acquire the pseudonym “Gudsa Usendi” to keep alive the memory of a young cadre who was killed in a police ambush in the Abujh-Maadh area of Bastar in 2000.

Man-woman relationships in the banned organisation have been a matter of curiosity, given that surrendered women cadres are said to have often complained of sexual exploitation within the party. The Maoists have always dismissed such reports as police propaganda.

In a statement last year, the Dandakaranya committee’s secretary, Ramanna, had said that party cadres who get married don’t raise children because of practical difficulties. While condemning live-in relationships before the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha yesterday, Bhaiyyaji Joshi also hit out at homosexuality in the context of the recent debate over giving legal sanction to gay sex.

“A highly cultured life pattern based on certain life values and moral values developed here through thousands of years,” he said.

“How can we compromise on our moral values, social system and traditions in the name of individual freedom? So, before extending legality to such things, we have to keep in mind the long-time deleterious effect it will have on our social life.”