On the morning of May 8th, at 4 am, Vijay Bhaskar Reddy suffered a heart attack after internal bleeding and passed away in Hyderabad.
For many of us Vijay Bhaskar was both a friend and a comrade. For decades he worked on adivasi issues in undivided Andhra Pradesh, and then in both Telengana and AP after the division of the state. He was in touch with communities in remote areas and closely involved in their struggles, ranging from the movement against the Polavaram dam to the illegal descheduling of Scheduled Areas during the division of the state. He traveled up and down the state for his work and fought tirelessly for the rights of the people he loved and the communities he believed in. He was involved with us in the Campaign from our founding in 2003 and during the most intense years of the struggle for the Forest Rights Act, he was wherever the movement needed him to be, in the forests, on the streets, in Delhi and in the halls of Parliament.
On top of all this he had an enormous amount of information at his fingertips, able to recall details of historical documents and policy issues across the board. His accomplishments were all the more amazing because he did them despite suffering from debilitating problems in his vision, which made it very difficult for him to read or to see clearly. In the face of those difficulties many would have chosen an easier life. But not Vijay Bhaskar.
Over the years many of us got used to the fact that, once every few months, we would get a call from Vijay Bhaskar late at night, in order to discuss some detailed technical point or some new development in the struggle. In the face of everything he never gave up.
Now it is difficult to believe that those calls will never come again. One more extraordinary person has left us. We will miss you, Vijay Bhaskar, and hope that one day we will see the dawn of the just world you fought for.