5th March 2015 is the 21st death anniversary of Com. N.P.Padmanabhan, former Secretary, NFPTE and the Convener of the powerful Co-ordinating Committee of P and Unions, Kerala, for a tumultuous period of more than 10 years. Meetings will be held in all centres in Kerala to pay homage to this great leader.
Com. Padmanabhan was a charismatic and revolutionary leader. Appointed as Postal Clerk in 1945 in Calicut, within no time he became active in the union. He participated in the successful Postal Strike of 1946. After the formation of UPTW, he became an active worker of the same. When NFPTE was formed in 1954, Comrade Padmanabhan along with Coms. T.M.Janardhanan Master, Ananadan Master, K.Bhaskaran Nair and others organised it in the Malabar area. When the Kerala P and T Circle unions were formed at the Trivandrum Conference in 1961, Com.N.P. was elected as the Asst. Circle Secretary of Postal Class III Union and in 1966 Kollam Conference as the Circle Secretary. Next year at the Palakkad Conference, he was elected as the Convener of the P and T Co-ordinating Committee.
THe Historical One Day Strike of 1968 became a battle ground between the Central Government and Communist Government in Kerala.Central Government wanted all state governments to crush the 19th September 1968 strike of the Central Government employees with an iron fist using the drastic Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA). But the Kerala Government led by Com. E.M.S.Namboodiripad bluntly refused to implement the ESMA against the striking employees. Enraged, the Central Government was proposing to dismiss the state government. Anyhow,this did not happen. But the Indira Gandhi Government at Centre saw to that maximum victimisation was imposed on the employees of Kerala. Hundreds of criminal cases were filed, thousands of Rule-14 Charge Sheets issued, 300 workers terminated and hundreds of employees suspended.Even in 1960 strike, such victimisation did not take place.
The situation was tense. All the Circle and district leaders were either under suspension or termination. To face this brutal attack was not easy. The P and T Co-Ordinating Committee under the leadership of Com. N.P.Padmanabhan organised sustained and continuous struggles against the victimisation. It took about three years to take back all the terminated employees and to reinstate the suspended. But Com. Padmanabhan was not re-instated. He was dismissed from service.
The P and T House, the office of P and T Unions at Trivandrum was the centre point of many unions to get advice and support for their struggles. He was elected as the Secretary of the NFPTE in 1978 and shifted to New Delhi. He continued in that position till 1981.
His health started deteriorating due to the hard work and strain and went back home to Kannur in the late 1980s. He continued his activities from there. On 5th March 1994, he left us forever.
Since 1958, when I joined the P and T and got transfer to Kannur from Kottayam, he had been my leader and guide. It was under his indomitable leadership that we all went on in the 1960 five days strike. I had the opportunity to work with him at Trivandrum during my tenure as Circle Secretary and till his death.
Com. Padmanabhan was a real leader in all respects. The entire P and T movement and especially Kerala comrades lost a revolutionary leader in his death. His body was cremated in the Payyambalam Beach, Kannur, where a memorial is constructed for him among the memorials of leaders of the working class like Coms. A.K.Gopalan, E.K.Nayanar and others. When I went to Kannur to attend the AIBDPA All India Conference in February in 2013, I went there and paid my homage along with Com.P.V.Chandrasekharan, Patron of AIBDPA, A.K.Bhattacharjee, President AIBDPA, K.G.Jayaraj, General secretary AIBDPA and Com. Bhaskaran AIBDPA leader at Kannur.
Red Salute to Com. N.P.Padmanabhan, the Revolutionary leader! His memory will always be with us.