It is four decades since Com. P.S.R.Anjaneyulu, former Secretary General of NFPTE, passed away. His death anniversary falls on 16th December. A homage to his memory is given below:
Com.P.S.R.Anjaneyulu, Commander of the 1960 Strike
(03.09.1922 – 16.12.1977)
Com.P.S.R.Anjeneyulu, former Secretary General of NFPTE, is one of the most respected leaders of the P&T Trade Union movement. It was he who led the P&T workers in the historic Strike of the Central Government Employees in July 1960.
Patibandla Seetha Ram Anjaneyulu was born on 03.09.1922 in a well to do orthodox Brahmin family at Vijayawada. Father P.Subba Rao died early leaving his wife and children orphans. After completing graduation from Madras University, he got appointment as a Telegraphist in CTO Madras and joined there on 16.11.1945. Later Anjaneyulu got transfer to Vijayawada, his own place. In between, he worked at Kurnool also. His mother died while he had gone to attend a meeting of the Federal Executive Meeting of NFPTE.
PSR, as his colleagues and friends affectionately called him, was an expert and efficient worker and was much appreciated by his superiors and colleagues. He was very much interested in union activities and became the General Secretary of the then All India Telegraph Union (AITU) in 1953 and shifted to Calcutta, union head quarters. At his initiative, the head quarter was shifted to New Delhi (W.E.A. Karol Bagh) and he started functioning from there. He worked closely in co-ordination with the Union of P&T Workers (UPTW), which was formed by merging most of the unions in P&T. During this period he visited London, Switzerland, France, Italy and Germany and participated in the Third Session of Advisory Committee on “Salaried Employees and professional Workers” of ILO and addressed the same as the General Secretary of AITU.
This was the time when serious discussion was going on for realignment of all the unions in P&T to form a single Federation. In addition to the union leaders, Minister Communications Jagjivan Ram also took keen interest to bring in the Realignment Scheme. Accordingly National Federation of P&T Employees (NFPTE) was formed on 24th November 1954 in the Convention held at Vinay Nagar, New Delhi. Initially PSR was reluctant to merge due to the pressure of Dewan Chaman Lal President of AITU, but he convinced him and AITU was also merged with NFPTE.
Com.PSR was expected to be the first General Secretary of the T.III Union affiliated to the New Federation. In addition to his name, two other names also came, that of S.N.Misra and K.Krishna Murthy. There was no doubt that in the election, PSR would have won. But he did not want an election and withdrew his candidature. S.N.Misra was elected by majority votes as the General Secretary. In the 1957 All India Conference of T.III., PSR was elected as the General Secretary and continued as such till 1960, when he was elected as the Secretary General of NFPTE, after B.N.Ghosh (Dada Ghosh) vacated the post. During the period, PSR gave oral evidence before the Telegraph Enquiry Committee in a very effective way.
It was in the Gauhati Federal Council held on 19-25 April 1960 that PSR was elected as the Secretary General. There was a feeling among the leaders and workers whether this quiet and calm young man of 38 years will be able to take this high responsibility of leading the mighty organization, especially when it was preparing for an Indefinite Strike.
As Secretary General of NFPTE, he co-ordinated with all the General Secretaries in a very cordial way, as one among equals. There were leaders committed to different political ideologies, but PSR ensured that every decision is taken democratically and had the support of all. Immediately after taking over as the SG NFPTE, his responsibility was to lead the historic Indefinite Strike against the retrograde recommendations of the II Central Pay Commission.
In the negotiations with the government before the start of the strike, he took a firm position. Immediately after his return from the talks, within hours, he was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Tihar Jail. He was presented handcuffed before the Magistrate, who ordered the police to remove it immediately. The photo published in the P&T Labour, organ of NFPTE, with PSR handcuffed being taken to the Court, shows a calm and non-agitated person with almost his usual smile on his face. The photo became famous with the caption “Lion in Chains”. Thousands of strikers and non-strikers were arrested, jailed, dismissed, terminated and so on. The strike was withdrawn after five days by the leaders in jail, including PSR.
P.S.R.Anjaneyulu as SG NFPTE, made out all efforts to end the victimization. But it was not an easy task. It took many years to end the victimization at least to a certain extent. After the strike, recognition of NFPTE was withdrawn. PSR was posted back to Vijayawada CTO.
In the Ambala Federal Council held on 21-26 February 1965, PSR on his own stepped down from the top post. D.Gnaniah was elected as Secretary General. PSR was elected as Vice-President and continued till 1970. PSR was the President of T.III Union from 1960 to 1974 and President of T.IV Union from 1968 to 1972.
After he was promoted to TTS-II, a class II Officer, he was posted at Vijayawada CTO. Though he accepted the post, he continued his close connection with T.III Union and NFPTE. He gave guidance and advice to the union leaders and workers.
As an administrator, he was one of the best. He was punctual, disciplined and committed and he wanted other officials also to be in the same way. His subordinates saw him as a model officer.
PSR Anjaneyulu was a man of simple living and high thinking. His dress was always of white cotton shirt. He never smoked or drank. He continued as a strict vegetarian. He was amenable with all whom he contacted. Though mild-spoken he was firm in his principles and an excellent negotiator. All those who were in contact with him were enamored by his sincerity and firm convictions. Shri L.C.Jain, then Chairman P&T Board, said about PSR that he is an “Ocean of Calmness.”
PSR expressed his opinions clearly and argued for its acceptance. Even if the decision was against his opinion, he worked to implement the decision with 100% sincerity. He was a democrat to the core. He participated in the discussion with both II and III Central Pay Commissions.
Since he was an excellent Officer, the administration entrusted with more and more responsibility. On a few occasions, he was at the same time, functioning as STT, as Superintendent of Hyderabad CTO and some other function also. The hard work made him weak and sick, but he did not take much care about his health. He neglected his health and continued to over work.
PSR Anjaneyulu was admitted in the Hyderabad Nursing Home 0n 15th December 1977. His condition became worse and despite best treatment, he passed away at 07.42 AM on 16th.
The news of his sudden illness and death shocked the entire P&T fraternity. The news spread like wild fire. Through telegrams and telephone calls, the sad news reached all over India. Condolence messages reached his bereaved family, wife Kamala Anjaneyulu and daughter Lalita, in hundreds.
All India leaders and many active comrades from many parts of the country reached Vijayawada hearing the news. GMT Hyderabad and other top officers also reached there. All of them paid homage to the departed leader. The body was covered with the Red Flag of NFPTE.
A big funeral procession was taken through the streets of Vijayawada participated by hundreds of P&T workers and other comrades and reached the banks of river Krishna, where the body was put on the funeral pyre after rituals. Com. PSR Anjaneyulu has left us forever.
The following words of Com.N.J.Iyer, then General Secretary of R.III Union gives a befitting picture of Com. PSR:
“Wearing a smiling face, giving patient hearing to all views, firmly holding his own and fearlessly giving expression to it and implementing the policies and programmes decided upon, Com. P.S.R.Anjaneyulu, unified the movement of P&T and through it , the Central Government employees movement. Looking back, he has a right to be satisfied for doing his best to bring credit to this great organization”.