It may seem inconsistent for Kobad Ghandy, jailed Maoist ideologue and self-confessed organiser of the proletariat to seek material comfort, but he does. Ghandy, 63, has requested Tihar prison's authorities to urgently provide him with a desert cooler.
In his cryptic letter, penned in English, Ghandy sought the jail authorities' help in "saving" him from the scorching "summer heat", according to a jail source, who requested anonymity.
Ghandy sought the desert cooler owing to his body's waning immunity against heat due to "old age", his letter said. Ghandy's request, the jail source said, was "unusual" and with "few precedences."
"In the last 25 years, only Pappu Yadav had asked for a desert cooler and got it after he got a court direction owing to his obesity-related health problems," said the source.
Yadav, he added, had got a favourable court direction after the jail's health officer had held he needed a respite from the heat wave due to him being overweight.
For now, though, Ghandy will have to wait. Tihar Jail's Director General BK Gupta, when asked about Ghandy's request, said, "His request has been rejected as per the rules." He refused to comment any more.
Ghandy, who has been in jail since August 2009, barring a brief stay in Delhi police custody, is lodged in a high security cell at Tihar. Ghandy occupies the 12 ft-by-8ft cell alone, though it is meant to accommodate two more inmates.
"Ghandy has all the facilities that one can have in jail under normal circumstances," another jail source said.
His cell has "an electric fan, an exhaust fan and easy availability of potable, cold water contained in a water storage tank inside," the source said.