COM.M.KRISHNAN PASSED AWAY

Com.M.Krishnan (66), former Secretary General, NFPE and Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers has passed away.He was admitted in the PRS Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram on 22-02-2021, having tested positive for Covid-19 . His condition became critical on 28-02-2021 and was shifted to the Medical College hospital very late in the night; could not be saved. He breathed his last at early morning on 01-03-2021.Com. M.Krishnan was a great leader, orator and held several positions in the trade union movement. He belonged to Kasaragode in Kerala and started his union activities as Divisional Secretary, P 3 union of NFPTE and became the Convener, Local Co-Ordination Committee of P& T Unions. He rose to lime light very soon with his capabilities in leading the organisation in many struggles and oratory skills.Then he was elected as Circle Secretary of P3 and Convenor, Kerala Circle Co ordination Committee. Finally elevated to the post of General Secretary, P3 and Secretary General NFPE. He also took up the responsibility of Secretary General of Confederation and led several struggles during this period. His contributions to the Pensioners movement are also noteworthy.The unexpected and shocking passing away of Com.M.Krishnan is a great loss to the entire Trade Union and progressive movement in the country. AIBDPA dips it’s banner in respect of the departed beloved leader, Com.Krishnan and conveys heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and Comrades.

Red Salute Comrade M.Krishnan.!

Interest must be paid for the belated payment of salary – Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has ruled that, payment of salary and pension are the right of the government employees and the government which has delayed the payment of salary and pension should pay interest at an appropriate rate. The Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court had given a judgement stating that, 12% interest per annum should be paid for the delayed pension. An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on this matter.  Hearing case, justices Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah, ruled that salaries constitute the rightful entitlement of the employees and are payable in accordance with law. Likewise, payment of pension is also a rightful entitlement. However, the Supreme Court reduced the rate of interest from 12% to 6%. (BSNLEU Website)

OUR RELENTLESS EFFORTS HAVE IT’S EFFECT. AIBDPA

DENIAL OF IDA INSTALLMENTS TO BSNL PENSIONERS-

KERALA HIGH COURT ISSUES INTERIM ORDER ON WRIT PETITION FILED BY AIBDPA .

Dear Comrades,

As you are aware, AIBDPA is the only organization intervened on the DPE OM dated 19-11-2020 freezing three installments of IDA due from 01-10-2020-01-01-2021 and 01-04-2021 to the employees of CPSEs. We took up the issue with the hon’ble Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, writing a detailed letter on 22-11-2020 stating that the DPE OM is not applicable to BSNL pensioners as it is specifically mentioned in the OM that the freezing is applicable to Executives and Non-Unionised Supervisors. We again wrote to the Minister when the Assistant Solicitor General deposed before the High Court of Kerala  in a case filed by FACT Employees Association, that the OM is applicable only to the Executives and Non-Unionised Supervisors.  DPE itself issued a clarificatory order dated 08-01-2021 based on the Kerala High Court order, stating that the freezing of IDA is applicable only to the Executives and Non-Unionised Supervisors of the CPSEs and it is not applicable to other employees including workmen.

AIBDPA wrote another letter on 09-01-2021 to the Minister quoting the DPE OM dated 08-01-2021 and demanding to cause necessary action for issuing formal orders for the payment of two installments of IDA due from 01-10-2020(5.5%) and 0-1-01-2021 (6.1%) to BSNL pensioners. DPE responded to this letter and forwarded our letter to DoT, being the administrative Department,for necessary action on 04-02-2021 with copy to AIBDPA. CHQ , then wrote to Secretary, DoT attaching the letter of DPE and demanded early action to issue necessary directives to the banks and post offices for disbursement of the two IDA installments to BSNL pensioners.

But having no positive response or action either from DPE or DoT, CHQ filed a writ petition in the High Court of Kerala on 26-02 2021 through Advocate V V Suresh. The Hon’ble High Court accepted the case and issued an interim order directing the respondents not to deny the IDA installments to BSNL pensioners. The counsel appearing for the government asked time for the counter affidavit/ reply and our advocate argued strongly that the stand of the government has already been stated by the Assistant Solicitor General in similar cases of this court to the effect that freezing is applicable only to Executives and Non-Unionised Supervisors and no time is necessary. However, the High Court allowed time and also issued an interim order in our favour on today itself. Details will be intimated after receipt of the certified copy of the judgment.  It is significant to get an interim Order on the same date of admission of the case.

YES, COMRADES; WE ARE ALMOST TO THE ACHEIVEMENT.

With warm greetings,

K G Jayaraj General Secretary AIBDPA

MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 80 STRUGGLE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW

80. STRUGGLE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
 
I have completed 82 years on 24th July 2020. It is now that I got the opportunity to look back in to past life and write something about it. I cannot say that I have recorded all important matters. I might have mentioned unimportant things also. I have tried to present a small picture of my life and experiences in the 80 installments that have been posted continuously for about three months in the Face Book.
 
Though past eighty, I am not in favour of complete rest and no work. Whatever is possible has got to be done. When my career as a teacher started, was thinking that I will pass higher examinations like my eldest brother and be a Lecturer in College with a bit of poetry and cultural activities. Wrote few poems and short stories, some of which were published in Malayalam weeklies. I have mentioned earlier about the prize received for poem writing in training school. But never had the feeling that they were good. Probably I started writing poetry, because my two elder brothers were poets. Once joined in P and T Department, all these discontinued.
 
I was interested in reading. Read all kinds of books, which were available. From High School onwards took good number of books from libraries and read. Later, reading was mainly limited in journeys – trains and flights. Used to buy books from the Railway / Airport Book Stall and complete it before end of the journey. Three volumes of III Central Pay Commission Report, purchased from Delhi, were read fully in train by the time reached Calicut. The VI CPC report was finished in two or three flight journeys. But most of the books read on these journeys were novels and short stories. Western cowboy novels interested me, of which I had a good collection. While working at Calicut, used to see lot of cinemas along with colleagues.
 
After appointment in P and T Department, planned to pass departmental examinations like other employees and become an officer. But the 1960 historic strike, the brutal victimization of employees by government and increasing union activities changed my mind. I still feel that the decision to be active in union and to serve the interests of the workers was correct. A major portion of my life, about 60 years, is connected with union activities and struggles. The experiences gained during these years are most valuable to me.
 
Sometimes during discussions with departmental authorities and management, even with the Communication Ministers, it became inevitable to take a very firm stand in order to settle the issue. It had paid dividends. But these hard bargains never spoiled the good relations with them. I know that they also understood this point. Many officers at higher levels were persons whom I knew when they were in lower positions which helped in settlement of issues. At the same time, never tolerated anti-worker and corrupt persons and exposed them mercilessly.
 
I am fully satisfied with my humble trade union activities. Sincerely worked for six decades with whatever limited ability and capacity I have. Have met and worked with thousands of comrades and colleagues. Had opportunity to meet and get guidance from several political and trade union leaders. Had to fight continuously with certain senior leaders for implementation of correct policies. The most severe fight was with Com.O.P.Gupta, veteran leader of NFPTE, and his staunch followers against the wrong policies being implemented as also undemocratic functioning. Severe discussions took place in committees and conferences. Court cases continued for years. Even while all these differences were going on, healthy personal relations with these comrades were maintained. Com.Gupta used to come to my quarters to discuss many issues over a cup of tea even before a few months before his death.
 
Before and after recognition to the E.III / E.III N and BSNLEU, my efforts to co-ordinate joint struggles and approach received good response from all unions in BSNL. It was not easy to co-ordinate more than fifteen unions/associations which have different background, ideologies and approaches. Sometimes, there were frictions and differences. Even after vacating post of General Secretary of BSNLEU, it was only because of the insistence of all the unions / associations that I continued as the Convener of the Forum of unions/associations till 2015. Thousands of workers and leaders gave full support and solidarity, without which it would not have been possible to march ahead.
 
I was fortunate in getting advice and guidance from many great and veteran leaders including Comrades E.M.S.Namboodiripad, A.K.Gopalan – Suseela Gopalan, B.T.Ranadive, E.Balanandan, K.G.Bose and M.K.Kelu. Their advice helped in calmly facing adversities. Red Salutes to them.
 
It was only with much pain that I can remember the passing away of my close relatives, friends and class mates, K.N.Narayanan Namboodiri and K.Vasudevan Namboodiri at a young age.
 
Comrades P.V.Nambissan, G.Soman, M.V.Sadanandan, E.Richards, V.K.Divakaran, A.P.Haridas, K.Prabhakaran, M.P.Kunhnandan, K.C.Balan Master, A.Majeed and some other comrades who were closely connected with me are no more. Their departure has created a big vacuum.
 
I always remember that how much difficult it was for mother to look after all of us brothers and sisters, after father’s death in 1966. She managed everything somehow. I am very sad that I could not be near her when she passed away.
Pankajam, my wife, who shared all difficulties and happiness with me, was the source of my strength. She gave support to all my union activities, even when it kept me away from home for many years. She looked after the children all those 15 to 20 years, when I was away at Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi.
 
My son, Shaji Narayanan, wife Sunila and children Sauyma and Sneha are staying near London, in UK. Both are working and settled there. Children are studying. Daughter Mini Narayanan and husband P.Dilip Kumar along with daughter Arya Dilip are staying at Bengaluru. Mini is working as Director in Zinga company and Dilip Kumar as Head of Software Engineering in Philips Electronics. Arya is studying.
 
Eldest brother Keavan Namboodiri’s son Ravindran Namboodiri and daughters Indira and Prof. Indrani Devi, Parvathi Sister’s sons Padmanabhan Namboodiri ( expired in 1988), A.Kesavan Namboodiri and daughter Ramani , Sankaran Namboodiri’s sons Sasidharan Namboodiri, Lakshmnan Namboodiri, Kesavan Namboodiri (expired) and daughters Vanaja and Girija, Sreedevi sister’s daughters Prasanna, Vasantha, Kousalya, Indira and son Kesavan Namboodiri and Parameswaran brother’s sons V.P.Suresh, V.P.Dinesh and V.P.Ramesh with their families are staying in different places in Kerala. Pankjam’s sisters’ children and grandchildren are staying mostly in Malappuram district and some are employed in gulf countries. After returning to Kozhikode from Delhi we are trying to get in touch will all these close relatives and others, but the Covid-19 period has limited the visits.
 
Now I am mainly engaged with functioning of AIBDPA, BSNLCCWF and Senior Citizens Friends Welfare Association (SCFWA). I am also trying to fulfill my responsibilities as a humble worker of the Left movement and CPI(M).
 
I am fully confident that my wife, children and relatives and friends and comrades will be with me in future also as in the previous days. I have got great confidence in the younger generation and their success in facing the future.
 
Let me conclude here with happiness and full satisfaction that I have tried to contribute my mite according my ability to the family and society at large. The struggle for a better future has to continue in which I also wish to be a party as before. Thanks to all. (Concluded).
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MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 79 AT HOME, KOZHIKODE

79. AT HOME, KOZHIKIDE

After a long stint of stay at Delhi, now have returned back to Kozhikode, Kerala. In the first few days went to Telephone Exchange, Post Office, Bank, Gas agency,  met old comrades and arranged telephone connections, ration cards, gas connection and bank accounts.

Got sufficient time to read books. While in Delhi, reading was mostly done in trains and flights while travelling. Got more time to attend to AIBDPA, the pensioners’ organization of BSNL and DOT of which I continues as Advisor. Attended to activities of BSNLCCWF, organization of  BSNL Casual and Contract Workers and CGPA, Central Government Pensioners Association. Utilised the time to meet old friends and comrades, as also many new comrades.

I took membership of the Senior Citizens Friends Welfare Association (SCFWA) at the initiative of Comrades P.V.Chandrasekharan, M.Bhaskaran and T.Devi. Attended Corporation and District Conferences of the Association.

4th State Conference of SCFWA was held at Tagore Centenary Hall Kozhikode on 23-24 November 2017, to which I was also a delegate. When the agenda for election came,I was  told that they have decided to elect me as an office-bearer. Thus I was elected as State President along with existing office-bearers Shri Amaravila Ramakrishnan (General Secretary), P.V.Chandrasekharan, T.Devi (Vice-Presidents) and others.

It cannot be said that I had no connection with senior citizen’s organization earlier. I was member of Senior Citizens’ Forum for some time after my retirement, which was formed at the initiative of well-known Advocate M.C.V.Bhattathiripad, Kuthuparamba, who was my cousin brother. But I was not active, since I was at Delhi and all connection was lost after some time.

All the office-bearers are having expert knowledge of the problems of senior citizens as also the social security measures being implemented by the state government and local bodies. They helped me to understand the issues. The experience of working in the Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retirees (TUI P&R) affiliated to WFTU, as a Member of its Technical Committee, helped me in my new responsibility.

Number of Senior Citizens is on the increase. While the number was around 90 crores all over the world a few years back, it is expected to be increased to 200 crores by 2050. In Kerala, there are 60 lakhs elders, more than 15% of the population. Almost the same ratio nationwide also. The longevity has increased. They require social security, health care and protection. The Left Front Government in Kerala is implementing many senior citizen friendly measures. Social security pension has now been increased to Rs. 1600 and will be paid at home. Central government is allotting only Rs. 200 per month. Centre has withdrawn the train ticket concession to senior citizens during the Covid-19 period.  There is scope for better growth of the organization. In the recently held State Conference of SCFWA held at Thrissur on 11th  February 2021, I have been re-elected as President.

After re-settling at Kozhikode, published two books, one on the life of Com.N.P.Padmanabhan, the well-known militant leader of the P & T and central government  employees and former Secretary NFPTE, and the other on the Historic Strike of Central Government Employees on 19th September 1968 jointly with Com. PVC. A book on the ‘Glorious Strike of Central government employees in July 1960’ is under preparation, on this sixtieth year of the 5days strike.

Family matters.

When I shifted to     Delhi in 1991, our son Shaji Narayanan was 19 years and daughter Mini  Narayanan 17 years old. Shaji passed B.A. from Malabar Christian College, passed M.Sc. and got job first in Brooke-Bond Company at Bangalore and later in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Mumbai.  Mini studied in Malabar Christian College and passed B.Tech. from Regional Engineering College and joined an IT company in Bangalore. Both were activists of Students Federation of India (SFI) during their school/college days. Mini was vice-Chairperson of the College Union in REC. Shaji  took active part in SFI and DYFI. He practiced table tennis in YWCA and got prizes several times.

Mini used to travel by bus to REC Chathamangalam along with her college mate and neighbor Miss Suja. In the evening when they get down at the bus stop in the evening, Suja’s father and NGO Union leader Com.Damodaran used to accompany them.

After my shift to Delhi, the entire responsibility of maintaining family fell upon Pankajam. Had to supervise children’s studies, attend office, prepare food etc. Hence she got a transfer from the Trunk Telephone Exchange, Manachira to a nearby office at Vellayil on Gandhi Road, which was very near to our home – five minutes’ walk. Hence can come home to take meals and return. After Shaji went to Bengaluru getting job, she had to do purchasing also. After marriage of Mini, she was alone at home.

My elder brother’s son V.A.Ravindran Namboodiri, who was Engineer in Electricity Department, stayed with family in the upper portion of the house for some years. Afterwards, Com.M.K.Prabhakaran, employed in Telephones stayed with wife Santha and daughters. Later Coms. P.K.Damodaran and V.Bhagyalakshmi, both employed in Telephones, stayed.  This was helpful to Pankajam, who was alone.

As mentioned earlier, after retiring in August 2002, Pankajam shifted to Delhi and stayed with me. It was great relief to both of us.

Marriage of my daughter Mini with Shri P.Dilip Kumar, son of Shri K.M.Chitharanjan, former Additional Secretary in Kerala Government and Smt. Thankam staying at “Krishna Chaitanya” near Bilathikulam Temple, Kozhikode was solemnized on 29th May 2000 at “Surya Kanthi Mandapam”, Kozhikode. The engagement ceremony was held at “Kalpaka Auditorium”. I was very happy that respected elder members of my family, S/Shri M.C.V.Bhattathiripad, Advocate, Prof. V.A.Kesavan Namboodiri, A.P.Namboodiri, K.A.Vasudevan Namboodiri, V.A.P.Namboodiri and others attended the function.

Since I was at Delhi and agitations were going on against privatization of telecom services, I could not come very early to make arrangements for the marriage and  personally  invite all  relatives, friends and colleagues. Even then, they came and blessed the newly married couple. Arrangements for the marriage, reception etc. were all made by our colleagues Comrades M.Balasubramanian, Balan Punnassery, M.P.Kunhanandan, M.K.Prabhakaran and others. After marriage, Dilip and Mini settled at Bengaluru, where both are employed in IT sector. Later purchased own flat. Daughter Arya Dilip has completed Xth standard now.

Marriage of Shaji with Sunila, daughter of Smt.Asha Hedavoo and Shri P.N.Hedavoo, Manager of Bank of India, Khandwa, Maharashtra was solemnized at Swathi Auditorium, Bengaluru on 14th May 2004. Reception was held at “Calicut Towers” in Kozhikode attended by close relatives, friends and colleagues. Later another reception was held at Khandwa, at the bride’s place. Both are employed in U.K. in IT sector and settled there.  Two daughters, Saumya and Sneha, studying there.

After Shaji   settled in London, Pankajam and myself visited them four times, every time staying for one month only, since the union work at Delhi did not allow outstation stay for more than that. Once in two years or so they will come to visit us. But the stay could not be extended due to children’s study and difficulty to get leave. Keeps  in contact over telephone.

Most of the family members and close relatives are staying at Perincherry, near Mattanur in Kannur District.

All my brothers and sisters have expired leaving me alone. Eldest brother Prof. V.A.Kesavan Namboodiri passed away on 20th October 1999. I was in Rajasthan when I got the sad news. Brother Sankaran Namboodiri died on 4th January 1996, while I was in Delhi. Brother Parameswaran Namboodiri on 2nd January 2003 again while I was in Delhi. Eldest sister Parvathi Anterjananm died on 1st November 2005 and elder sister Sreedevi Anterjanam passed away on 28th March 2012. I was away on tour or at Delhi, when all of the passed away. Unfortunately could not see them in their last moment.   

Sisters and brother of Pankajam, Smt. Visalakshy Amma, Kunhilakshmi Amma, Sathyabhama and Kumaran – all of the also expired during this period. We, the youngest of both the families, alone are the survivors.

Since being more than 25 years  away at Delhi and fully engaged in union activities, we could not participate in marriages and other ceremonies in our families. About deaths, I have mentioned earlier – we could reach only for the cremation or afterwards. Trying to make up for those losses now, by contacting friends and relatives. (to be continued)

MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 78 . FAREWEL TO DELHI

78. FAREWEL TO DELHI

I was staying in Delhi since November 1991, after election as President of E.III Union at Bhopal Conference up to Chennai AIC in 2017, wherein I vacated the office-bearer ship of BSNLEU. First stayed at Dada Ghosh Bhawan   and then at BSNL staff quarters No. D-7, Telegraph Place, Gole Market.  Pankajam, my wife, retired from BSNL service in 2002. Son Shaji had shifted to London and daughter Mini to Bangalore on getting employment. Pankajam came to Delhi and we again started living together from 2002.

BSNL staff quarters ( D-7) allotted to BSNLEU, Gole Market, where we  were staying, was  situated in the centre of the city,  close to Connaught Place, Parliament, Central Secretariat, M.P.’s flats, offices of Central Trade Unions, political parties, Service unions like AIRF, NFPE, Hospitals, Railway Station etc. This enabled to meet a lot of leaders and comrades visiting Delhi from other states to attend conferences, conventions, Parliament Marches and so on. Invited many of them to the quarters for a cup of tea and discussion.

R.III Union Head Quarter was also in the same complex (D-2). Com.C.C.Pillai after becoming General Secretary R.III Union was staying there till he vacated the post and shifted to Kerala along with wife and sons Ajoy Chandran and Bijoy Chandran. Com.Bijoy  helped in E.III union office for computer related matters.  Com.Giriraj Singh, next GS R.III, stayed there afterwards. Two quarters in the complex were converted to BSNL Inspector Quarters, where guests could stay. Many committee meetings of BSNLCCWF, AIBDPA, Joint Forum, NFPE etc used to be held either in the quarters or the square ground in front of the quarters.

Residence had to be shifted in 2016, since the place was sold to Jharkhand Government by Centre for constructing a Guest House. The new quarters allotted to BSNLEU were behind the Bharat Sanchar Bhawan – two small quarters, instead of the big quarter at Gole Market. Used one quarter as residence. The upstairs quarter was used as office of BSNLCCWF and AIBDPA and also for stay for guests visiting from outstations. This was very close to Janpath and Connaught Place. Offices of NFTE, FNTO, BSNLMS, BTEF, AIBSNLEA, and MTNL – all very near. Wide and peaceful roads to go for morning walk without any disturbances of traffic.

My daily routine used to be to attend union office until noon, then return home for lunch. Visist Bharat Sanchar Bhawan and Sanchar Bhawan in the afternoon to meet and discuss matters with the officers. Then to Deshabhimani office for reading Deshabhimani daily and sometimes bring a copy to home. During the long years had the opportunity to meet and be friends with Comrades P.P.Aboobacker, Prabha varma, John Brittas, V.B.Parameswaran, N.S.Sajith, K.M.Vasudevan, Sajin Evujin, Prasanth and other comrades of Deshabhimani.

After vacating the post of All India President, my main job was to help the pensioners organization AIBDPA and Casual Contract Workers Federation BSNLCCWF, whose General Secretaries were out of  Delhi.  Also utilized the time to write the book ‘History of P and T Trade Union Movement’, by referring to old records and journals available in  NFPE, RMS, Postal Union offices as also  Income Tax Union Office. In fact, my continued stay after Kolkata AIC was mainly for this purpose. The book which containing the history from early days of Postal services to the bifurcation of NFPTE in to NFPE and NFTE in 1986, was published by Com.R.N.Parashar, General Secretary, P.III Union  and released by Com.Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, in the All India Conference of P.III Union held in 2017 at Bengaluru.

It has been my fortune that in fulfilling the tasks allotted to me as a union office-bearer, guidance and help was received from veteran trade union as also political stalwarts. In addition to Comrades E.M.S.Namboodiripad and A.K.Gopalan, whom I mentioned earlier, Comrades Suseela Gopalan, M.P., E.Balanandan, M.P., Basudeb Acharya M.P., Somanath Chatterjee, M.P., M.K.Pandhe, General Secretary, CITU, O.Bharathan M.P., M.P.Veerendra Kumar, M.P., N.N.Krishna Das, M.P., P.Karunakaran M.P., M.B.Rajesh M.P., P.R.Natarajan M.P.,K.K.Ragesh, M.P.,P.Rajeev M.P., Elamaram Kareem M.P., Dr.A.Sampath M.P., Sitaram Yechury M.P., Tapan Sen M.P., M.K.Pankajam, M.P., P.K.Sreemathy M.P., A.K.Padmanabhan, President, CITU, Mohammed Amin, GS CITU, Chittabrata Majumdar, GS CITU, Hemalatha, President CITU and many other Members of Parliament gave help and advice as also took our issues in the Parliament for settlement. My thanks are due to all of themAfter vacating the post of All India President, my main job was to help the pensioners organization AIBDPA and Casual Contract Workers Federation BSNLCCWF, whose General Secretaries were out of Delhi. Also utilized the time to write the book ‘History of P and T Trade Union Movement’, by referring to old records and journals available in NFPE, RMS, Postal Union offices as also Income Tax Union Office. In fact, my continued stay after Kolkata AIC was mainly for this purpose. The book which containing the history from early days of Postal services to the bifurcation of NFPTE in to NFPE and NFTE in 1986, was published by Com.R.N.Parashar, General Secretary, P.III Union and released by Com.Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, in the All India Conference of P.III Union held in 2017 at Bengaluru

During the period from 1991 to 2017 while functioning at CHQ Delhi and on tour, came in to contact with thousands and thousands of workers and leaders of the Telecom / BSNL movement in all the circles/states. It is these comrades who worked day and night to make the organization strong as also make successful the programmes including Committee meetings, Conferences, conventions, dharnas, demonstrations, strikes and what not. While on tour, though usually stayed in Inspector Quarters, in many places our comrades made a point that I stay at their home, enjoy the home prepared meals and meet their family. Honoured, given presents and gifts everywhere. Some comrades will be with me from the time I got down from the train till I leave the station ensuring comfortable arrangements at each and every stage. The love, affection and camaraderie of these comrades can never be forgotten. Veteran and young leaders who sacrificed much for the workers and the organization were everywhere who built and strengthened the union. I thank them all for their great sacrifice and dedication for the union.

.

.During the period from 1991 to 2017 while functioning at CHQ Delhi and on tour, came in to contact with thousands and thousands of workers and leaders of the Telecom / BSNL movement in all the circles/states. It is these comrades who worked day and night to make the organization strong as also make successful the programmes including Committee meetings, Conferences, conventions, dharnas, demonstrations, strikes and what not. While on tour, though usually stayed in Inspector Quarters, in many places our comrades made a point that I stay at their home, enjoy the home prepared meals and meet their family. Honoured, given presents and gifts everywhere. Some comrades will be with me from the time I got down from the train till I leave the station ensuring comfortable arrangements at each and every stage. The love, affection and camaraderie of these comrades can never be forgotten. Veteran and young leaders who sacrificed much for the workers and the organization were everywhere who built and strengthened the union. I thank them all for their great sacrifice and dedication for the union.

It will be impossible to name even all the leading comrades who were in the forefront and who helped in the functioning of the CHQ. I wish to name at least some of them, whose names come to my mind, as a token of appreciation of their dedicated work. It does not mean that I have forgotten the others or they are of lesser importance. My memory also may be playing tricks. Some of them are no more. Kindly excuse me if names of some important leaders have been left out in the following list. Comrades M.N.Reddy, P.Asokababu, J.Sampath Rao, D.Nagamanyam, Ramachandrudu, V.Sambasiva Rao, K.Ramadevi (A.P.), J.Bhattacharjee, J.N.Mishra, S.N.Sarma, Bijoy Deka (Assam), S.P.Kalairajan, Ratnambal (A & N Islands), B.P.Singh, R.P.Sharma, Sakunthala Gond, Sunithi Choudhary (Bihar), R.S.Sagar (ALTTC), S.C.Bhattacharjee, Ajay Menderkar, Atmapoojya, R.L.Shreevastava, P.N.Parate R.S.Bhatt (Chhattisgarh), A.C.Shah, R.T.Sharma, J.M.Prajapathy, A.K.Hindocha, M.K.Dave, Chaniyara M.B., D.K.Bakutra (Gujarat), J.S.Dahiya, O.P.Khatak, M.S.Kadian, Naresh Kumar, Kuldeep Singh (Haryana), H.L.Syal, Amar Singh Kaundal (H.P.), A.R.Tak, Nizar Ahamed, Bashir Ahmed Khan (J & K), Sudarshan Pande, Naresh Lal ( Jharkhand), M.Sadanand, B.Narayana Rao, Harischandra Rao, R.G.Bhandari, P.Appaji, C.K.Gundanna, G.B.Salakki, H.S.Prakash, Muddiah, M.C.Balakrishna, H.V.Sudharshan, T.S.Krishna moorthy, Irfan Pasha, Keshav (Karnataka), S.R.Nayak, S.C.Shrivastava, G.J.Sheikh, H.S.Thakur, Jagdish Singh, Sriram Tiwari, Prakash Sharma (M.P.), W.L.Tundam, D.K.Nerkar, A.A.Sheikh, B.P.Petkar, D.R.Hiwarkar, T.D.Hari Ramani, G.Matpathi, N.K. Nalawade, John Verghese (Maharashtra) N.Chakraborty, Prabir Dutta, Swapan Chakraborty, M.B.Singh, Mrs T.Walling (North East), R.K.Kohli, H.L.Makkar, Hari Om Sharma, M.L.Tiwari, Chhidu Singh, R.S.Chauhan, (Delhi), P.R.Das, A.Dhupal, Sahdev Biswal, S.C.Mohanty,Sreebhara Mallick, P.K.Jena, B.K.Naik (Odisha), Gurcharan Singh, H.S.Dhillon, R.L.Moudgil, Balbir Singh, Balwinder Singh (Punjab), S.R.Swarankar, A.N.Vajpaye, R.K.Chathurvedi, K.P.Sharma,Vijay Singh, K.M.Ojha, S.L.Ojha, Pyarelal Sharma, Ashok Pareek, S.K.Anand, M.K.Nagpal (Rajasthan), Mohammed Tahir (TF, Jabalpur), R.G.Thamankar, K.S.Yadav, S.L.Tendulkar, S.D.Choudhary (TF Mumbai), J.Renganathan, P.Abhimanyu, S.Mohandoss, A.K.Veera Raghavan, P.Ramasamy, N.Gopalakrishnan, D.Gopalakrishnan, S.Chellappa, R.Rajasekharan, R.Gunasekharan, Babu Radhakrishnan, K.Govindarj, P.Manickamoorthy, C.K.Narasimhan, N.Kuppusamy, M.Murugiah, V.P.Indira, E.Gopal, S.Killivalavan ( T.Nadu and Chennai), Arun Sarkar, Adhir Kumar Sen(TS Kolkata) Sisir Bhattacharjee, Sujit Chatterjee, S.Siddique, Om Praksh Singh (TF Kolkata), R.S.Yadav, K.D.M.Tripathi, O.P.Verma, R.S.Fauzdar, N.K.Rawat, V.K.Sharma, Upender Singh Teotia (U.P), P.B.Dhobal, P.C.Kandpal, K.S.Soun (Uttrakhand), Moni Bose, A.K.Bhattacharjee, B.K.Goswami, Shibdas Banerjee, Anima Banerjee, K.D.Mukherjee, Debashish Dutta Gupta, Gouri Haldar, Supriya Mitra, Mihi Dasgupta, Swastika Dasgupta, Saibal Sen Gupta, Animesh Mitra, Biplab Das (W.Bengal and Kolkata), P.V.Chandrasekharan, K.G.Jayaraj, R.Muralidharan Nair, K.Mohanan, M.P.Kunhanandan, A.V.Kuriakose, M.G.S.Kurup, Pratap Kumar, Santhosh Kumar, M.Vijay Kumar, P.R.Parameswaran (Kerala). After 25 full years, I am leaving Delhi. Delhi comrades, office staff – all mentioned about a send-off, but I discouraged them it as unnecessary. However a very friendly, comradely reception was arranged at the Delhi Circle Union office, which was participated by leaders of all the BSNL unions and close comrades. Some from the nearby circles also. We had tea and snacks and the leaders of BSNLEU and sister unions spoke. I thanked them all. Com.R.S.Chouhan, Circle Secretary BSNLEU and R.Prabhakar, Circle Secretary, AIBDPA made all arrangements. Within one or two days met the workers of CMD office as also officers including CMD BSNL. Went and met leaders and comrades at A.K.G.Bhawan, Deshabhimani, AIDWA, V.P. House, CITU and other union offices. Met leaders of Confederation and also NFPE and took leave. Met neighbours of the staff quarters and informed about shifting to home at Kozhiko

After 25 full years, I am leaving Delhi. Delhi comrades, office staff – all mentioned about a send-off, but I discouraged them it as unnecessary. However a very friendly, comradely reception was arranged at the Delhi Circle Union office, which was participated by leaders of all the BSNL unions and close comrades. Some from the nearby circles also. We had tea and snacks and the leaders of BSNLEU and sister unions spoke.  I thanked them all. Com.R.S.Chouhan, Circle Secretary BSNLEU and R.Prabhakar, Circle Secretary, AIBDPA made all arrangements.

Within one or two days met the workers of CMD office as also officers including CMD  BSNL. Went and met leaders and comrades at A.K.G.Bhawan, Deshabhimani, AIDWA, V.P. House, CITU  and other union offices. Met leaders of Confederation and also NFPE and took leave.  Met neighbours of the staff quarters and informed about shifting to home at Kozhikode. Took farewell from Coms.P.Abhimanyu, GS, BSNLEU, Swapan Chakraborty, Deputy General Secretary,  T.A.Biju, Office Secretary  and office staff Comrades C.Pradeesh, Driver Baiju Raj, Harish,  Raju (K.G.Bose Bhawan) and others.

How to carry all the books purchased, clothes including woolen coats, Union magazines, gifts received from friends and comrades etc  when shifting? It was possible only to take personal things like dresses, important books and a few gifts which have special significance. They were packed in big card board boxes and sent by parcel through lorry service to Kozhikode. All other things arranged and kept in the almirahs in the quarters. Coms. T.A.Biju, Baiju Raju and com. Ramesh Chandra Sharma and his brother helped in packing and dispatching.

On 17th February 2017, started by flight from Delhi to Bengaluru. Stayed a few days at daughter’s place. Left for Kozhikode by bus and reached on 28th. Started staying at Flat No. S -8, Alhind  Elite Apartments, Vandipetta, Nadakkavu, Kozhikode,owned by my son, who  is employed in London and settled there. (to be continued).

MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES -77 JOURNEYS, EXPERIENCES (3)

77. JOURNEYS, EXPERIENCES (3)

It was early 1990s.  Started from Dada Ghosh Bhawan, union HQ,  very early morning to Delhi Railway station to catch the 06.00 hours Jaipur train. December and very cold. Had only returned late last night from another tour.  Got an auto riksha, but there was another passenger. Driver told that he is also to Railway station. After about 10 minutes driver stopped auto and got down. We also got down. Driver told that petrol is almost finished and have to be filled from next petrol pump. He asked me to get in first so that cold will be less. Other passenger sat on the side.

Driver asked me to pay Rs. 200/ as charge stating that he had to fill petrol. I took my purse and told him that the charge is too much and that I have paid only Rs.60- last night when coming from the same railway station. All of a sudden, he snatched my purse and took Rs. 200/ from it.  When I strongly protested, my co-passenger told me to wait till we reach the station, where complaint can be made. I had thought that he will support me. Immediately I understood the situation. I was trapped inside the auto. Auto turned to a side road which was narrow and hardly with any traffic. Got a bit panicky, but I did not show. Driver stopped the auto, probably to pass urine. I used the opportunity, pushed the young man next to me and was on the road. I started running to the opposite side. Fortunately they did not follow. After about 10 minutes, I reached the main road, got another auto. Told the driver what had happened and requested to rush to the station to catch the train. I told him that I have got only Rs. 10 with me. He said no problem. On the way there was a Police Constable on traffic duty. I told him the incident asking to inform 100. (Mobile telephones have not been introduced). He said that he is on traffic duty and kept silent. The auto driver took me to the Railway station. The train was almost to start. He did not accept any money from me. I boarded the moving train and left for Jaipur.

Once got in to a wrong  flight. Had gone to attend TEAN Conference in Nepal. While returning I was late to reach Kathmandu airport from the local town where the conference was held. Somehow managed to get boarding pass and ran to the boarding place where the airhostess was waiting for me. After checking, I boarded the flight to Delhi. No vacant seat in economy class. Put me in a seat in executive class without extra charges. After some time, a Flight Attendant came and asked whether V.A.N.Namboodiri is there. When I stood up, he told me that this is not my flight and that I have to board another flight! I got down, boarded the nearby plane and rested peacefully watching the Himalayan ranges. On enquiry found out that there were two flights to Delhi almost at the same time due to heavy rush of passengers.

While boarding a train in midnight when returning from Lucknow to Delhi, my mobile phone was stolen. Coms. K.R.Yadav, R.K.Mishra and other comrades who accompanied me to station had already left. When I complained to the police constable nearby, he advised me to go to the first platform and complain to the police station there. There was no time, I got in and the train started. I was sleeping when a police constable woke me up and asked to follow him to the ‘Police Station’, in next compartment. Three police constables, including one Head Constable, were there, and it was the ‘Police Station’ in the train. They asked me how and when the mobile phone was lost and I told the details. They wanted me to give it in writing. I came back to my seat, took a paper, wrote the complaint and handed over to the police. They wanted it to be written in Hindi instead of in English. Again, came back, written in Hindi and handed over. They said that they will enquire and inform, if found out. A copy of the FIR was given to me. All these took a few hours and I was awake till reached Delhi. After reaching Delhi, purchased another mobile phone, went to BSNL office, showed the FIR and got a new sim card free. I was advised that it is always necessary to note down the EMI of the mobile instrument so that it also can be blocked so that it could not be used by anybody.

Went to Kashmir many times for attending Conferences and visited the beautiful places including Dal Lake, Gulmarg, Mughal Gardens and many other places of interest. But always stayed at the residence of Com. Nizar Ahmed, Circle Secretary. Though reservation will be made at Inspection Quarters, stay at home due to security concerns. Dinner also there. Com.A.R.Tak, former Circle Secretary, also used to stay there. Though security and Military are deployed at Telephone Exchange, IQ etc. it is really not safe. Anything can happen any time. Home was always safe.

From telephone exchange to Srinagar Airport. There was a bomb blast nearby and CRPF was thoroughly checking all vehicles on the route to airport. About 20 vehicles in front of my taxi and no way that I will reach airport in time. Got down along with Com. A.R.Tak and walked till the police check up and crossed it. Requested driver of the car which was moving after check up to give a lift to the airport. He agreed, I got in and reached airport. Since my ticket was not confirmed, went to the counter where about a dozen people were in queue. Told that my flight was due, was allowed to go to counter and got the ticket confirmed. Just before reaching the entry gate, the young man who gave me the lift, requested me to take one of his suitcase, since he had more luggage than allowed for a passenger. I was worried. Without knowing what is in the suitcase, how can I carry it? I agreed since he helped me earlier. But when reached the entry gate, the security objected stating that it is not my luggage. He had seen the luggage being handed over to me. I gave the bag to its owner with relief and entered airport. When met him in the flight,  asked what happened. He told that he had to pay extra charges for the excess weight. I was sorry that I doubted him.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands are endowed with natural beauty, with the blue sea all around. Many small islands.  Visited four times in connection with conference, tours etc. Once, went along with Pankajam. A  place with people living in extra ordinary harmony and secular concept. People belonging to almost all states, mainly from Bengal and T.Nadu. Extradited from India by British rulers for participation in freedom struggle.

The Cellular Jail, where the freedom fighters were kept.  You can even now see the gallows in which they were hanged. Names of freedom fighters put in marble, who became martyrs. Memorials to Martyrs. Ross Island, the previous capital, which is gradually sinking in to sea. Visited many of the small islands.

Coms. S.P.Kalairajan, Circle Secretary, and Ratnambal, Asst. Circle Secretary, made all arrangements for convenient stay and tours. Though of Tamil  origin, both know Malayalam. Most people of A & N islands know many Indian languages. Ratnambal working in another small island. Half hour journey through sea by boat. At the time of Sunami, the ground floor of the exchange completely went down and was fully covered by earth. Escaped since it was a Sunday and she did not go to office.

There are many beautiful places to visit in all parts of the country. Heritage buildings, historical places, rivers, hills, temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches etc. etc. India, a vast country with different climates, languages and what not. Unity in diversity. Within the 25 years of stay in Delhi, visited almost all districts in the country. The love and affection shown by the leaders and workers in all these places is a cherished memory. They were my inspiration and strength to face all adversities.  

Hundreds and hundreds of difficult, interesting and inspiring journeys. A big volume can be written, when time allows. Not going into more experiences here.

Air travel is different from train journey in many ways. Sometimes, you may not even speak a single word with your next seat passenger. Train journey is different. Passengers interact with each other, talk about a lot of issues, get acquainted and sometimes become lifelong friends.

Situation changed after introduction of A.C.Coaches and high speed trains. Whether night or day, passengers like to sleep or rest in the pleasant coolness. Or completely engaged with mobile and the various services it can provide.  One cannot see outside clearly due to the stained glasses. Train journeys have changed a lot. It does not have the closeness and friendly atmosphere that existed earlier. I may be wrong also. (To be continued).

MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 76 JOURNEYS, EXPERIENCES (2)

  1. JOURNEYS, EXPERIENCES (2)

A train journey in RMS compartment. From Patna, capital of Bihar, with Circle President of BSNLEU. Trains blocked and unduly delayed for many hours due to rail accident. Heavy rush in all compartments. Unable to get in. Went to RMS compartment and got in with permission of our comrades. Two berths in the compartment were given to us. Train started at 19.00 hours or so after much delay. Just before starting  of the train, a policeman came and demanded the staff that two berths be given to a police officer and family. No berth, told the staff. Policeman pointed at us and said that we are not staff. Train moved on. In the next station, the policeman came with TTE and  RPF. We did not want any trouble to the RMS staff and went out through the back door and got in  another compartment. We understood later that the police officer had played the game to travel with family, without purchasing tickets.

1970s. Travelling to Madras from Kozhikode by First Class to attend JCM meeting. First class allowed to attend JCM meetings. A.C.coach not introduced. Five persons in the four berth coupe. I did not have reservation. When time came to sleep, I took a bed sheet, spread it on the floor and was going to lie down. Two of the passengers were British – one man and one woman – may be husband and wife, maybe not. They told me that they will sleep in one berth and gave me one berth. Myself surprised and very happy. Expressed thanks to them.

When returning from Madras next day it seemed that I am alone in the First Class four berth coupe. In the last moment lot of people with bags, suit cases etc. entered, placed them and went away except one exceptionally charming youngster. I recognized Prem Nazir, the famous cinema actor, as my co-passenger. Spoke to him and got acquainted. There were rumours at that time that he was going to enter politics as in the case of Tamil actors.  I enquired to him. He said no proposal to enter politics. He was reading the many magazines he had brought with him till very late in the night. There were lots of people to receive him at Kozhikode Railway station. Left after bidding him  farewell. Very happy for the chance to meet the famous actor.

Another time travelling to Kozhikode from Delhi. No reservation, in waiting list. However, got in the three tier sleeper compartment. When all started to sleep, I spread bed sheet to lie down on the floor. At that time, the 4 – 5 year old girl who was in the middle berth told her mother that she will sleep with her and that her berth be given to me. Got the berth and slept comfortably. Got acquainted with the family, Mr. Cyril Castra, Mrs. Flora Castra and Fiona and became friends. Two years back attended Fiona’s marriage at Mangaluru. Last year Mr and Mrs. Castra visited us at Kozhikode. A life-long family  friendship.

While functioning as Circle Secretary of the union in the last few years of 1970s, used to come almost every week, or second week to Kozhikode to be with family. Since Circle Office will not be functioning on Saturday and Sunday, the journey will be usually in the night train on Friday. MLAs, going to their constituencies after the assembly session will be there. They also used to travel by three tier sleeper. Once I got the berth near where Comrades E.K.Nayanar (later Chief Minister of Kerala) and other MLAs were there. Socialist leaders, Comrades Arangil Sreedharan (former M.P.) and P.I.Ittoop were there. Politics, jokes – everything in discussion. Nayanar’s berth was middle one. When going to sleep, Com.M.V.Raghavan M.L.A., gave warning that Com.Nayanar should not be allowed to sleep in the middle berth. Why? He told that on earlier occasion when going to Calcutta, Nayanar was sleeping in middle berth. In the midnight there was a heavy ‘thud’ sound and when all woke up saw Com. Nayanar on the floor having fallen from the berth. Everybody including Nayanar laughed. May be true, maybe not. However, Nayanar slept on the lower berth that night.

Membership verification tour in Bihar. Com.B.P.Singh, Circle secretary, and a few other comrades. After attending meetings in 2-3 places, travelling in train to Patna, where the meeting was fixed at 17.00 hours. Train late and expected only to reach one hour late. Continuous calls from comrades in Patna, enquiring when we will reach. We were in tension. Many workers may leave in case the meeting starts late. Being winter season, it was dark by 1700 hours itself. Fortunately the train slowed down before reaching Patna Station due to not getting signal. The meeting place was nearby and all started getting down. I was last and by the time I was at the door, the train has started moving. I jumped down with bag etc. though I could not clearly see  outside. It was in fresh cowdung that I fell. Pants, Shirts, bag – all covered by cow dung. After cleaning the shirt etc. attended and addressed the meeting. Had I fell down backwards towards the train? But at that time, attending the meeting was the only thing in mind.

At Delhi Airport, on  way to attend Central Working Committee Meeting, at Pune. Com.Chittabrata Majumdar, General Secretary, CITU, who was to inaugurate the meeting with me. When waiting for arrival of the flight after check-in, all of a sudden he became ill. Even difficult to get up and walk.  Airport staff brought a wheel chair and along with him boarded the flight through the lift system. He was carried in the wheel chair and a seat arranged in the first row itself. I requested the young airhostess to adjust an adjacent seat to me so as to be of assistance to him. But she was in a hurry and moved away. Sometime after the flight started, I went to the airhostess and asked why she did not adjust one seat to me. May be I was a little sharp. What happened next was unexpected. She started crying and told me that she did not hear. ‘This is my first flight. Kindly don’t complain’, she added. I was worried, apologized and went to my seat. 

In the 1960s, there was no direct train to Delhi from Kerala. One has to travel and catch the train, mostly GT Express, from there. Reservation can be done only from Madras by standing in queue before the booking counter. There will be long queues and once while in Bombay, I have seen people in queue for two or three days waiting to book the ticket. Same thing at Madras also. Hence we used to rush in to the ordinary compartment as soon as it arrives in the station. Sometimes you will not get even a seat to sit till you reach Delhi. Once, unable to stand continuously, got down at Jhansi along with Com.K.Bhaskaran Nair, union leader, who was with me. Put luggage in  cloakroom, bathed, visited Jhansi Fort and continued journey to Delhi. On ordinary ticket, one can travel in any train without reservation. (to be continued).

 

 

Once got in to a wrong flight. Had gone to attend TEAN Conference in Nepal. I was late to reach the Kathmandu airport from Sitapur where the conference was held. Somehow managed to get boarding pass, ran to the embarkment breaking the queue, and got to the boarding place where the airhostess was waiting for me. After checking, I boarded the flight to Delhi. No seat for me in the economy class. Got an executive seat without extra charges. After some time a steward came and asked