Saturday, October 10, 2015

I Pay Tribute

'Russians pay tribute to Solzhenitsyn,' so said The Guardian in a report.

The report was about the death and the orthodox funeral for Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize-winning Russian author, who held his Fatherland tight to his chest even as the Russian political system abandoned him, banished him to take refuge in the enemy’s abode.

Incarcerated in the gulags under Stalin, Solzhenitsyn was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and expelled from the USSR in 1974 for writing about his experiences under the brutal Stalinist Soviet system. He lived in the US until his return to Russia in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

While my interest and awe remains on Solzhenitsyn, the author of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago, for his courage and will to expose the crimes of the Stalinist era and to continue criticising Russia's post-Communist leaders even after his return, it is his unswerving patriotism that captivates me, the socio-politically inclined self.

Throughout his exile in America, Solzhenitsyn had reportedly rejected the west (the US) and continued to set his watch to Moscow time!

As I digest the American political interests that accommodated Solzhenitsyn's adamancy, the refugee’s resolve, his unbridled love for his native land continues to haunt me, intrigue me –-living in a land where the young ones faithfully submit themselves to the clocks that are set to the US times in their call centre gulags!

I join the thousands of Russians who pay tribute to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, described by fellow Nobel laureate and South Arican writer JM Coetzee as ‘a colossus of our times’ and ‘a great Russian patriot’.

And, I submit myself to the memories of my father, a communist of the old genre, who had directed me to his book shelf that had The Gulag Archipelago and The Mother among them, as I blindly took to communism at a young age.