Updated June 09, 2019 | 10:26 IST | Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Our dear friend Frank Huzur spent his last night in the open along with the piles of books and his loving cats as the urban department authorities had forcibly evicted him. It was sad to see how the authorities were in a hurry to evict Frank from his Dilkusha Colony house in Lucknow. The house was allotted perhaps when Akhilesh Yadav was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Frank started Socialist Factor magazine there and has been regularly writing and reporting about the political situation in Uttar Pradesh.
We dont know what are the rules and regulations of allotment and cancellation of these houses. I know many of the ‘journalists’ have got houses in posh areas of Lucknow. Many of the ‘papers’ dont even exists but ‘patrakars’ are there at the mercy of the government. Frank was paying market rate of over twenty three thousand rupees per month plus electricity bills. There was no reason to evict him when he was paying you the market rent as after-all many journalists and reporters live like that. Frank is no ordinary person. More than a journalist, he is an author and was a theater activist during his student days at the Hindu College in Delhi. His first drama ‘ Hitler and Madonna” was quite popular as it took the communal issue head on when Lal Krishna Advani had started his hate filled w(rath) yatra , the results are being witnessed today.
It was a disturbing and painful to see precious books and magazines lying on the roads. The problem with these ‘karmcharis’ is that they wont even understand how precious is the world of ideas. What is there if man does not have ideas. Frank’s house had many unique qualities. I had visited him several times whenever I was in Lucknow and it was always a pleasure sitting there and interacting with numerous political activists coming there and sharing their ground reports.
Frank is a wonderful host and perhaps all those who have seen his hospitality know it well. His house was always opened for visitors and activists visiting Lucknow city. The most amazing part of Frank’s family, apart from his wife Femina Mukta Singh and son Marcos, are nearly 40 + cats. Each of these cats have been given a distinct name by Frank and I have not seen any other cat lover like Frank where Cats have the same status and some time more than, human being. They would sit and lay on the sofa.and greet all the visitors. They would roam around when he would sit on the dining table. I found the love for these cats, who he called his socialist family, simply amazing. You do need a lots of patience to handle the pets and Frank has that.
The authorities in Lucknow never bothered where will the person go along with his stuff. After the Yogi Adityanath government took over in 2017, Frank became target of the BJP sympathiser media making stories about him on a regular basis. His cats were blamed to be creating nuisance for the neighbors which we all know is blatant lie as a large amount of Frank’s money was invested to taking care of these cats.
The government need to relook at these policies of allotting the houses to journalists and authors. Find out, how many ‘real’ journalists and authors are living in these allotted houses. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are known for ‘sarkari seva’ so that the patrakars become devotees of the administration. On his part, I feel Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party must support Frank and try to resolve the issue by looking for a permanent solutions. It is time for political parties to create their own professional media cells, support the intellectuals and activists and the best way is to build up their offices where residential colonies can be developed for some of the authors and writers too. That would save them from such humiliations. For netas, MLAs, MPs, we have flats and they do have their private properties, it is time they look into these issues seriously.
Our solidarity with Frank and hope he will continue to do which he has been doing all over these years. It is time to build cultural narrative of Bahujan Samaj as per the high ideals of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Jyoti Ba Phule and EVR Periyar. These challenges are part of the struggle for justice and dignity. The battle do not stop with oppression and suppression. The resolve to social change get stronger and more powerful. We must march on keeping our head high.