2014-04-14 / Dr.Cyriac Maprayil-Executive Director: VKKrishna Menon Institute

Tony Ben: A Voice Of the Voiceless

I am sad but also proud that perhaps the last act of Tony Ben was the unveiling of the English Heritage Blue Plaque to V.K.Krishna Menon in July last Year. This event was organised by the V K krishna Menon Institute which I coordinate .I was thrilled when Tony agreed to be the chief guest inspite of his illness.

As usual Tony whom I have known since the 1960s and worked with through his anti-racist campaigns ,made a brilliant speech.Tony who liked and admired Menon described with much wisdom, Menon's fight for the independence of India while at the same time campaigning for the human rights of the British people especially the white working class.

This was the irony of British Imperialism-while it ruthlessly exploited the "lesser breeds of empire", as that Poet of Imperialism, Rudyard Kipling ,put it , it also subjected its own people of the " lower classes" to the most humiliating degradation. Menon saw through the hypocricy and the criminality of this race and class exploitation.

A free India , he ardently believed, would usher in a more socially just Britain in which class and discrimination would no longer be an obstacle to economic , social and political justice.

Tony Ben and Krishna Menon saw eye to eye on the question of the ultimate liberation of all peoples from racism, injustice and exploitation.

Menon was Ben's senior by many years but their message is still as relevant as ever in a world where injustice and exploitation are still the everyday reality.

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