Karnik V B Radical Humanist, writer, labour leader
V.B Karnik, great builder of Humanist Movement in India by: Innaiah Narisetti
In the picture left V B Karnik, M N Roy, Maniben Kara
I intend to introduce some builders in Humanist movement in India. I confine to those who are known to me . This might help the present generation to know contemporary history of the movement to some extent. I will commence with late Vasant Bhagawati Karnik.
V B Karnik was known as BABA in Bombay circles during freedom movement and later. He was very familiar to Andhra Radical Humanists since 1940s. He toured frequently to develop the movement and party.
I come across V B Karnik around 1960s. We corresponded and then met in various meetings, seminars, conferences. I developed personal correspondence with Karnik . He was in the editorial board of Radical Humanist after the death of M N Roy and Ellen Roy. Among the four editors V B Karnik was one who regularly contributed articles and organized matter for the journal.
A curious incident occured around 1960s. At the time Ravindranath Tagore`s centenary celebrations, Mr (late ) Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy, a prominent Radical Humanist f rom Andhra addressed few meetings and spoke critically about the mysticism of Rabindranath Tagore. I summarized the talk and sent as an article to Radical Humanist weekly. At that time it was published from Bombay. But they did not publish the matter. After waiting some time, I addressed letter to Mr V B Karnik , enquiring about the matter. Promptly he replied saying that Prof Sibnarayan ray was not happy with the criticism and hence it was withheld. I objected and insisted that it should be published. Since I was adamant , V B Karnik sent a request letter to Mr Avula Gopalakrishna Murthy and requested him to pacify me and not to persist the matter. Seeing the battle Mr AGK asked me to leave it at that stage. Much later I met Sibray and enquired about it. But he did not remember about it.
V.B.Karnik was also associated with Lesley Sawhaney programs of panchayat raj, decentralization and people`s participation. Hence Karnik frequently toured Andhra to speak in the camps. I met him during those camps.
V B Karnik was prolific writer. He wrote "Strikes in India", Trade unions in India". Those two books are very good research works with plenty of reference material. I sought the translation permission into Telugu. My Telugu translations were published by Telugu Akademy, Andhra Pradesh. Again Mr V B Karnik wrote monograph on the life of M N Roy. He gave permission to me and my Telugu translation was published by National Book Trust, Delhi.
V B Karnik was one of the earliest associate of M N Roy in Bombay as early as 1930. Since then he worked as Royist, as trade unionist, as Radical Democrat, as Radical Humanist. During late 1930s there was rift between Tayyab Shaik and V B Karnik , somehow M N Roy stood by Karnik. That led Tayyab to leave the country and the movement as well. He settled in England. I enquired about this aspect when V B Karnik visited to Administrative Staff college, India at Hyderabad. Karnik told me in polite manner without going into details. I left at that. V B Karnik was regular visitor to Staff college and delivered lectures. Mr G R Dalvi was staff member in the college. He invited Karnik. That was good opportunity for Radical Humanists at Hyderabad to meet Karnik. I organized some lectures by V B Karnik in Hyderabad and it was very useful program.
Consistently I followed the meetings of V B Karnik. During 1970s I attended the study camp at Dehra Dun. Great experience for persons like me since we could hear the talks of G D Parekh and C R M Rao and others.
V B Karnik wrote voluminous work of M N Roy`s life history. Andhra Radicals liked it. W.S.Kane brought the volume to Andhra and sold it. It was good book though Karnik never touched controversial points nor disputed aspects of Roy`s life.
Whenever I visited Bombay I called V B Karnik at his residence "Sahitya Sahawas". His son who worked in intellegence service became my friend. I met him in Delhi and later in Bombay. V B Karnik was great asset to the movement. I cannot say anything about V B Karnik`s writings in Marathi language.