Monday, July 14, 2008

Subir Roy the Revolutionary

Subir Roy, the Revolutionary

- Fahim Khan, December 2007

They say that each one of us has a story to tell. This is the story of my comrade, the revolutionary.

Subir Roy, now a respected and retired schoolteacher, was born in New Delhi 60 years ago. At the age of five, he moved to Montreal, where he spent an affluent and pampered childhood. In his teens, he started to become politically conscious and, in his twenties, became a firebrand revolutionary.

Mr. Roy returned to the city of his birth under strained circumstances at the age of 25 and led a miserable underground existence for two years. His parents came back to rescue him and Subir Roy gradually regained his health and his sanity. He worked in the corporate sector for nine years, got married and was persuaded by his wife to become a teacher. He now lives in Kolkata and has become a grandfather.

As if this were not enough to be the plot of a Hindi movie, behind all this his Subir Roy’s mental condition: He claims that his brain is being monitored since 1975 by artificial intelligence which may not be earthly in origin. His doctors say that he is suffering from hallucinations. Let us turn the pages…

Born in Free India

Subir Roy was born in 7 York Road, New Delhi, on August 21st, 1947, six days after Independence, to a loving mother and a bureaucrat father, the fifth of five children.

He nearly died of whooping cough at the tender age of one month. Subir vaguely remembers the servants crying when his maternal grandfather, Mohit Kumar Sengupta, passed away; as well as the family’s pet greyhound coming home bloodied after a fight with an Alsatian.

The family moved to Montreal, Canada, in July 1953, when Mr. P.K. Roy got a job as the Legal Director of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. In those days, there were fewer than 100 Indians living in this mainly French-speaking city.

Happy Childhood in Montreal

Subir attended Van Horne School, Sir Arthur Currie School and Monklands High School in Montreal. He loved to play outdoors more than study and spent a happy childhood. He came to India five times as his father, a diplomat, was entitled to a free home leave with his family once every two years. Among all the cities he visited, Subir loved Montreal the most.

Noticeable at an early age were the hand movements that he called nervous mannerisms. At age ten, he started the weekly, Roy Family News, whuich indicated his early desire to become a journalist. Subir stood first at age twelve in the spelling bee organised by the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and won academic scholarships every year from grade seven. In high school, Subir had a massive crush on a ballerina that eventually crashed. Subir was an ardent supporter of the social-democratic New Democratic Party and fought for issues such as Medicare (free medical care for all) and Capital Gains tax for the rich.

At age seventeen, Subir entered McGill University and took Science in his first year, and was normal, except for his obsession with chess. At age 18, his sister noticed a change in his personality. Subir was rebelling against his mother who, he thought, was over-protective. Subir was taken to a psychiatrist who, after numerous tests, concluded that he was “in the early stages of schizophrenia’.

Subir took Honours in Maths-Physics in his second year, but failed miserably as he couldn’t ‘concentrate’, except in chess. He switched to Majors in Psychology, which he passed. At age twenty, Subir moved out and began to live in the ‘ghetto’, an expression for small, rented rooms near McGill. He dropped out and began to experiment with marijuana and hashish, which he took for a year. Although he had many friends of both genders, Subir had no sexual contact, perhaps due to his parents’ upbringing.

Around this time, there was a radical change in Subir’s political views. Disillusioned with liberalism after the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Subir joined the New Left movement. At age nineteen, Subir’s father made him apply for Canadian citizenship. Prior to this, Subir had been considered the minor son of a diplomat and had not thought about citizenship. Subir was told that it would take five years for him to become a landed immigrant, and his father warned him that if he were to be arrested and spent time in jail during this probationary period, he could be deported, under the laws then prevailing in Canada.

Subir rejoined McGill and successfully completed the third year of the four-year course. 1968 was an eventful one for revolutionaries all over the world: The Cultural Revolution in China was at its height, the revolt by the French students that nearly brought down the de Gaulle government, the Naxalites in India, the Black Panthers in the U.S. and the rising Maoist movement in Canada under the leadership of Hardial Singh Bains. Bains was to change Subir Roy’s life forever…

How the Transformation Started

Subir Roy was well known in New Left circles in Montreal from 1966 to 1968. It was an issue-based movement of motley individuals. Apart from free sex and drugs, the main issues then were: opposition to U.S. aggression in Vietnam, racial equality, independence for Quebec (one of the ten provinces of Canada and a mainly French-speaking one), and democratisation of educational institutions.

One evening in May, one Marcus Kunian, who was then considered a paid informer of the CIA, approached Subir in his room in the ghetto and started to talk about the Cultural Revolution in China and Maoism. At first, Subir was very sceptical but encouraged Marcus to have his say. Marcus Kunian came back again and again and, after a month, had succeeded in getting Subir very interested in the subject.

In June 1968, Subir came to Calcutta with his parents (on home leave) and was introduced to a Naxalite at Presidency College by his cousin. Subir then met a top party functionary who succeeded in intellectually convincing him of the scientific correctness of Maoism.

In July, Subir (now back at McGill) attended a series of meetings organised by Hardial Bains and the transformation was complete. For the next thirty years, Subir Roy was to contribute financially and otherwise to Maoist organisations.

Hardial Bains

To the youthful and ingenuous Subir Roy, Hardial Bains was a demi-god. He was a walking encyclopaedia with infallible reasoning. His every utterance was TRUTH. He was to be obeyed without question. He was like a religious leader who mesmerised his flock. At the mere suggestion of Comrade Bains, Subir Roy left the university for good and became a full-time party worker funded, of course and throughout, by his father.

Only when the young party workers had picked up a smattering of Marxism-Leninism and had begun to think for themselves, did Comrade Bains begin to find fault with them and hounded them out of the party for which they had sacrificed so much.

Subir Roy never made it to any top post as he was considered (and rightly so) to be a ‘bourgeois idealist’ and not a ‘thoroughgoing materialist’. For five years, Roy remained a ‘candidate member’. Roy’s departure for India on 24 hours’ notice early in July 1973 was occasioned not by the deportation order (it was to be a long-drawn legal battle) but by an order from Comrade Bains.

Roy now considers that Hardial Bains’ political line on Canadian revolution was totally wrong. At the time, Bains held that Canada was a neo-colony of the U.S. and that there would be an anti-imperialist revolution followed by a proletarian revolution. The revolution was to come about by disseminating Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong.Thought, and defending the right to do so by force of arms. All the fights that Roy got into (with the police, with anti-communists and with racists) were the outcome of such dissemination.

Roy now points out that Canada, far from being a neo-colony, is a capitalist imperialist state in her own right and that what is required is a straightforward socialist revolution, when the time is ripe. Marx never held that a revolution had to be bloody and felt that one social system succeeding another was as natural and as inevitable as one wave following another. A few hundred dedicated persons cannot create a revolution.

The Literature Table

Thousands of young people across the globe were ready to die for their cause in the late ’60s and early ’70s and Subir Roy was one of them. Like many others, he has secrets that he is not willing to reveal; however, the following story will illustrate one of the many adventures that he had:

It was late in July of 1969. Roy and Sheldon Glick (a Canadian worker and the leader of the two) were sent by Hardial Bains to start a party unit in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Glick was to mobilise the workers, and Roy, the students and national minorities (Halifax has a sizeable African-Canadian population).

In September, Roy enrolled himself at Dalhousie University (with his doting father’s money, of course) with the express intention of starting a student movement in the university. He began to sell party literature at the gate of the student union building and soon recruited a few followers. Emboldened, they set up a literature table inside the building. They were promptly thrown out by the security guards under the orders of the student union president, Bruce Gillis. This was repeated a few times and Roy was told that he had to register his organisation with the student council.

Subir Roy approached the student council and got his organisation, called Dalhousie Student Movement, registered with the student council. The young comrades set up their literature table and started their own newsletter, called Dalhousie Student, which sold like hotcakes.

Alarmed, Bruce Gillis called in the police on the specious argument that the tax-exempt status of the building would be affected. Roy appealed to the students for support. By the time the police arrived, hundreds of students, almost all of whom disagreed with Roy’s politics but supported freedom of expression, had encircled Subir Roy and the literature table and had locked arms to prevent the police from getting at him.

This sensational event made headlines in the local press, radio and television and even found mention in the distant Peking Review. Yet it found no mention in the Indian media, preoccupied as it was by the Naxalite movement. As a matter of fact, the Indian media has hardly ever reported anything about Hardial Bains and his Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) until Bains’ death in 1998.

The Deportation Order

Roy was arrested about a dozen times and released most of the time. However, he had two ‘criminal’ convictions (Canada denies it has political prisoners) and spent time in jail both the times, leading to his deportation order.

In November 1970, three racists, led by the son of the former Mayor, confronted Roy in front of the party bookshop (located in the heart of the black ghetto) that he was taking care of. They shook their fists at him and shouted, “Go back to Pakistan!” Provoked, Roy shouted back, “Get out of here, you fascists!” and pushed one of them on the chest.

The next morning, Roy was arrested – after it had already been announced on the radio. The judge, E.D. Murray, believed the testimony of the three men that Roy had made an unprovoked assault on them and had beaten all of them up. Subir Roy was sentenced to twenty days in the Halifax Correctional Institute for ‘common assault’ but received no additional sentence for denouncing the court. The message was clear: The Canadian Government wanted Subir Roy out of the country but did not wish to make a martyr of him. Under Canadian law, as Mr. P.K. Roy had warned his son years earlier, immigrants could be deported if they had a criminal conviction and had spent time in jail.

The second ‘criminal’ offence took place on May 20, 1971. About 100 supporters of the CPC(M-L) gathered in downtown Montreal to peacefully protest against U.S. aggression in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The assembly was declared to be an ‘unlawful’ one. Roy and many others were arrested and given the third degree treatment in jail. The police arrested as many ‘foreign agitators’ as they could identify. Subir Roy was sentenced to two months in jail and fined $200.

A couple of months later, Subir Roy was served with a deportation order. In order to buy time, Roy appealed on humanitarian grounds. Meanwhile, unknown to Roy at the time (he found out only years later), wheels within wheels were turning behind the scene. Mr. P.K. Roy had influenced two of the three judges trying Subir to allow him to remain in Canada. However, the Union Cabinet was one up on Subir’s father. On the morning of August 21, 1972, the date of the hearing, Subir Roy was served with an executive order signed by two Cabinet ministers, John Turner and Bryce Mackasey, ordering him out of the country on the ground that he was a ‘national security risk’.

The judge, a motherly sort of lady, asked Roy if he was aware of the implications of the Cabinet order. When Roy replied in the affirmative, she asked him if he was aware of the conditions then prevailing in India. When Subir again replied ‘Yes’, she suggested he get himself a lawyer. Subir replied that he would defend himself. Again, the judge insisted that he needed protection. Subir Roy shot back, “You are not my protector!” The judge then stated, Oh, yes I am!” and adjourned the case for two years. Thus, this kind lady prevented Subir Roy from being handed over to the Indian police that very day and allowed him time to leave after preparation.

The Homecoming

It was early in July of 1973 that Hardial Bains asked Subir Roy to go to India. After 20 years in Canada, he was to start a new life in a strange land not even knowing any local language. For a couple of years now, Bains had been sending his comrades of Indian origin to India in the tradition of the Ghadar Party of a century ago. The motive of the Ghadri Babas had been Indian independence and the motive of the Canadian Naxalites was armed agrarian revolution. Bains continued to send his comrades for about twenty years, but all these revolutionaries made little impact. They were all swallowed up by Mother India. At that time, Charu Mazumdar had been dead for a year and the CPI(M-L) had split up into about 40 factions. The man with whom Bains had links was known as ‘Sharma’.

Subir Roy was told to approach his father for money and to fly to Palam Airport, where he would be met by a comrade who was acting as the linkman between the two parties. In case the comrade did not show up, Roy was to proceed to a secret location. He was given Canadian $1000, which he was to smuggle into New Delhi.

Subir made the necessary inquiries from a phone both and went to his father and asked him for Canadian $500. Without telling anyone else anything, Subir Roy booked an Eastern Airlines flight to New York and a Pan American flight (which he thought the Indian authorities would least expect) to New Delhi via Beirut. The package cost Canadian $475. Meanwhile, Mr. P.K. Roy was shrewd enough to guess (which his mother recounted to Subir years later) the reason why his son was asking for such a large sum of money and alerted his brother-in-law, who was in the Indian Army, to await Subir’s return to Calcutta. Mr. P.K. Roy did not know that his son’s party had links in Delhi and so assumed that Subir would live with his relatives in Calcutta.

In the first week of July 1973, Subir Roy returned to the city of his birth. There was no one to receive him (the comrade had not received the telegram as he was in Punjab) and so Roy, with Canadian $1000 hidden under his left sock, took a yellow cab to Connaught Place and checked into a hotel under his party name. Both the cabbie and the owner of the hotel were happy to be paid in dollars. The next morning, Roy changed some money, made some inquiries regarding landmarks, and paid the driver of an auto rickshaw Rs 3 to take him to Lady Shri Ram College, from where he made his way to his new home.

Underground Life in India

Roy was underground in the Delhi-Faridabad area for two years and two months, but it seemed to him like an eternity. Within a month of his arrival, he developed breathing problems, and he was treated incorrectly with steroids. Within three more months, Roy developed a bad cough, lost twenty pounds and ran a slight temperature. His doctor suspected an initial lesion of pulmonary tuberculosis, and the young revolutionary took 90 streptomycin injections in as many days. He had to take isoniazid for a year and a half. He suffered from chronic giardiasis. Before his parents came to rescue him, Subir Roy suffered from jaundice, recovered and then had a bad relapse. He stayed alive only through sheer will power.

In November 1973, Subir Roy met ‘Sharma’ and repudiated his political line. Through a series of inner-party articles, he won over the majority of the Delhi State Organizing Committee. They then joined the Arrah Committee, which was the forerunner to the CPI(M-L) to be led by Vinod Mishra. Hardial Bains sent one of his men to meet Roy in 1974 with a view to making him the new linkman, but the meeting was inconclusive. Subir Roy lived in a total of six different places during this period.

In February 1975, Roy started to hear voices occasionally. He thought that his room was bugged but was not clear about how he heard the voices. He decided to flee the city and then followed the train incident, which is described in the next section. After returning, Roy moved to Faridabad and lived with two workers who had befriended him. The voices did not go away. Roy then told his comrades that he was a marked man and asked them to sever contacts with him in the interest of party security.

One day, while walking in the open air, Subir Roy began to hear the voices again, now constantly. He thought to himself, “This is uncanny.” While he thought this, he heard these very words and could see them spelt out. Confused, angry and frightened, Roy kept shouting, “Shut up! Shut up!” His worker friends took care of him.

For the next two months, the voices would lecture him all day and all night, explaining that they were monitoring his brain and were on the same wavelength as his brain waves. Years later, they told Roy that this was a shock treatment to make him leave the party. Roy wondered and still wonders why anyone would spend millions of dollars on such an insignificant individual.

In August 1975, Subir Roy’s parents came to Delhi to take their prodigal son to Calcutta. Upon arrival, the voices told him, “It’s easy to see that this is the right place for you.” Diagnosed as an ‘acute schizophrenic’, Roy was given medication which he still takes. He still hears voices, which he still claims are not hallucinations, but rational and intelligent dialogues. They don’t interfere with his work but act as minor irritants. He has worked for a living for the last 31 years and has masked his predicament well, albeit most consider him ‘eccentric’ and, a few, ‘mad’ because of his hand movements.

The Train Incident

In March 1975, Subir Roy realised that the voices he heard were not just sounds coming from two-way micro-phones (if such things existed) but a concerted effort to monitor his brain: he decided to get out of range. He had to protect his comrades at any cost. Bewildered and irrational, he thought of fleeing to Calcutta or Bombay and coming back to Delhi at a later date. He decided to go by train to Jabalpur, which was midway and where an elderly well-wisher lived.

Roy had no time to lose. He took an auto rickshaw to a roadside travel agent near New Delhi station and bought a ticket on a train going to Jabalpur via Allahabad. He returned home as fast as he could, shaved off his beard, packed his suitcase (including his typewriter) and set off for the station.

He boarded the train which had started moving and searched everywhere for his berth. Finally, the TTE told him that there was no such berth or compartment and the ticket sold to him was a fraudulent one! Roy therefore sat on his suitcase near a toilet. After the train had left Kanpur, a young man approached Subir Roy and spoke to him in English: “I am your attendant. Would you like a cup of tea?” Still gullible and naïve, Roy drank the tea and soon blacked out…

What happened in the next couple of hours is a blurred memory. Roy remembers some men asking him political questions in English and in Bengali and he would answer truthfully. All resistance in him had been broken, as if he had been hypnotised. As soon as he had spoken, Roy would forget what he had said. There was a gash in the fleshy part of one of his fingers. (Much later, Subir Roy wondered whether an injection had been administered there.)

Some time later, Subir Roy was led out of the train (sans suitcase) and was told, “This is Allahabad. Where do you want to go now?” “Allahabad? But I want to go to Jabalapur!” One of the men asked him to show him his ticket, which Roy did. The man then told Roy to go “that way” to the station and speak to the station master, which he did. The station master must have thought that Subir Roy was a drugged hippie, and told him to go back to Delhi without a ticket. Roy remembers boarding a train, which turned out to be the wrong one, sitting on his haunches listening to the bombardment of voices, getting off the train at Meerut and boarding another one for Old Delhi station.

When Subir Roy finally reached his home, he found that he had no money, no suitcase and no passport. When he looked in the mirror, he observed that his face had turned black, his hair was on end and the pupils of his eyes dilated. Three days had passed and Subir Roy had not eaten or drunk anything or gone to the toilet. He had been drugged with ‘truth serum’! It took Roy three weeks of bed rest to recover.

Lost and Found

Two months later Roy, now in Faridabad, suffered an acute asthma attack and paid a visit to his doctor in Delhi. The doctor told him that he had received a letter from the head clerk of the Lost and Found section of the railway station in Jabalpur stating that the suitcase of one Arun Sengupta had been found on a train. (Arun Sengupta was the name Roy had assumed since his arrival in India.) Apparently, this honest officer had broken open the lost suitcase, which had been unclaimed, and had found the chest x-ray of ‘Arun”. From this plate, the officer had located the name and address of Roy’s doctor in Delhi; hence, the letter.

The good doctor (who by then had a fairly good idea of what Roy was doing) then took his pad and certified in writing that the suitcase and its contents belonged to ‘Arun Sengupta’. Armed with this document, Roy headed for Jabalpur and claimed the suitcase, after having successfully identified all the contents, including his portable typrewriter. Subir Roy then took his suitcase back to Faridabad, bombarded all the while by ‘voices’.


His months in Faridabad constituted the nadir of Subir Roy’s life. Yet, even in these dark moments, Roy had confidence in his own potential to recover and, one day, to tell his tale when the time was ripe.

In the summer of 1975, Subir received a letter from his mother, who had by this time found out where he was and what he was doing, encouraging him and praising him for ‘fighting against all the evils’. Subir Roy’s parents returned to New Delhi in August of that year and met their son at a relative’s house. Subir was rescued at last! Mr. & Mrs. Roy took a flight to Calcutta and Subir went there by 3rd class sleeper.

Subir Roy’s life had been marked by high drama in his twenties. He would now very, very gradually return to ‘normalcy’ and a return to reality under the loving care of his mother and father. By April 1976, Roy was ready to work for a living and managed to get a job as an accounts clerk in a multinational company managed by a distant relative.

Corporate Life in Calcutta

Subir Roy worked for three years as an accounts clerk, three as a salesman and three as a manager. This corporate life did not suit his temperament, his personality or his talents but it did serve to bring him into the mainstream. Roy learned to function independently, became more practical and came closer to reality. He learned about the culture and the psychological make-up of the Bengali people. While the voices did not leave him, they allowed him to function.

By this time, Subir Roy had deduced that his voices, whether artificial intelligence or not, whether of earthly origin or not, were not in a position to give him away. He renewed contacts with the CPI(M-L), this time, with the Satyanarain Singh faction. He met Singh himself in 1978 and, at the time of his demise in Madras, Singh had one of Roy’s articles in his pocket. Roy continued to write inner-party articles as well as few for public consumption, under his nom de plume. Hardial Bains twice sent emissaries to meet him, in 1979 and 1980. On the latter occasion, Subir Roy firmly told the comrade that he no longer considered Bains to be his comrade.

Roy continued to suffer from bronchial asthma and was largely steroid-dependent until 1989, when his doctor (whom he still consults) put him on safe steroid inhalers.

Sikha Chatterjee

In 1978, Subir Roy managed to convince an attractive young woman, whom he had met while on voluntary work for an eye doctor, to come to his home daily to teach him Bengali. Sikha Chatterjee took it upon herself as a challenge to wean him away from the party.

After a year the two, now in love, got married with the blessings of both sets of parents. (Subir Roy took the party’s permission to undergo a Hindu ceremony.) Sikha, with her down-to-earth practical nature, complemented Roy’s personality very well. The couple eventually had three children. It was Sikha Roy who, in 1985, convinced Subir Roy to give up working in the corporate sector, for which he was not suited, and to become a teacher.

Meanwhile, in the early and middle eighties, Subir Roy had approached the then editors of the Indian Express, The Statesman and The Telegraph for a job as a reporter but was put off by these worthy gentlemen under various excuses. Roy had not tried to hide his political views!

Prompted by his wife’s desire that he get paper qualifications for the French that he already knew, Roy got himself enrolled at the Alliance Française de Calcutta in 1983 as a private candidate and got Mention Tres Honorable. A year later, he received a diploma in Commercial French (after taking the course) and got Mention Bien.

St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling

Much to the chagrin of his parents, Subir Roy – with his wife and baby boy – was separated from his parents once again in 1985, when he got a job at St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling, courtesy a Naxalite friend. As another comrade had remarked earlier, his parents had been kinder to Subir Roy than he had been to them. Mr. P.K. Roy expired in 1988 and Mrs. Maya Roy, in 1996, fiercely guarding her youngest child until her last breath.

At the beginning, Subir Roy was completely raw, not even aware that the children had to go to the dining hall before the teachers. Slowly and slowly, he learned public school etiquette. Roy was at SPS, on and off, until 1995 teaching French, English and Mathematics. Towards the end of his tenure, he was appointed the editor of The Paulite, the monthly newsletter of the school. At last, Subir Roy was in his own element, doing what he enjoyed the most – writing and editing and teaching. Yet, he had not gone all out since leaving Delhi. It was as if he were saving himself…

The Assam Valley School, Balipara

It was at The Assam Valley School, Balipara, Assam, which he joined in April 1995 (bringing his wife, son and twin daughters) that Subir Roy went flat out again. It was here that he was the happiest and got the most satisfaction from his job. Roy’s duties were much the same as before, but it was as the editor of AVE, the weekly newsletter of AVS, that he is most remembered.

Roy’s son, Amit, graduated from AVS and now resides with his family in Edinburgh. Roy’s twin daughters, Shibani and Malini, are about to take their twelfth standard exams. Sikha is a respected teacher of the Bengali language in her own right. It would astonish many of Roy’s old students to read about his life story.

The man whom Subir Roy now admires the most is young enough, at age 36, to be his son: Derek Mountford, the sitting headmaster of AVS. Roy called him “the only boss with whom [he] has never had a quarrel”. Mountford returned the compliment by presenting Roy with a silver salver upon the latter’s retirement in November 2007.

Subir Roy and Maoism

Subir Roy severed his contacts with the Maoists in July 1998 after an association of 30 years. Roy believes that Maoism has been proven to be incorrect in both theory and in practice: A peasant revolution led by intellectuals cannot but lead to capitalism. This has been shown in the case of China. It is Utopian to believe that an entire people can move from semi-feudalism to socialism in one step, bypassing capitalism. The people must have the practical experience of capitalism for an entire epoch. Full-blooded capitalism is inevitable in both China and in India – it is necessary and desirable. Only when capitalism has become moribund and decadent, as in the West, is the time ripe for a socialist revolution, not necessarily violent.

The difference between the two countries is that in China, capitalism is being controlled and led by the Communist Party whereas in India, the cities are prospering while the countryside is stagnating. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Thus, the battle of the ballot is between the haves and have-nots, with the latter being misled by unscrupulous politicians.

Roy believes that with the poor, being in the majority, becoming ever more politically conscious, polarisation is taking place and a long-drawn battle between Left and Right is inevitable; military rule cannot be ruled out.

Subir Roy believes that the majority of the world’s countries will be led by communist parties by the end of the century.

Subir Roy and Voices

Subir Roy says that understanding how his voices work can be done only by those who experience them – it is impossible to explain. He has been experiencing them every minute, every second, every moment since February 1975. They have been trying to control his thoughts in his waking moments and making him dream in his sleep. There has not been a single moment when they have not been with him in over 32 years. The voices are highly intelligent, rational and scientific. Roy hopes to be rich enough to one day visit the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal where there are facilities for monitoring brainwaves, even in the patient’s sleep.

Roy has been to four doctors and has tried many medicines: the only one that suits him is the drug haloperidol, which he has been taking since 1975. Roy claims that this medicine counteracts his schizophrenia but has no effect on his voices, which he says are two different things. Over the decades, haloperidol has had the side-effect of causing involuntary movements of his extremities and changing the complexion of his skin.

An interesting footnote: when the ‘voices’ first started ‘monitoring’ his brain, they warned him, “If anyone believes your story, you will be shot dead!” Hello?