It is folklore that Kerala was recovered from the sea by warrior saint Parasurama by throwing his axe and pushing the sea backwards. Hence Kerala is also called Parasurama Kshetra.
But it is a fact that nobody will question that the architect of the present Kerala is none other than Comrade E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the first Chief Minister of Kerala and one of the greatest Marxist theoretician the world has ever seen. 19th March 2019 is his 21st death anniversary.
Born in an aristocrat and rich land lord family on 13th June 1909, E.M.Sankaran Namboodiripad developed from a Congress follower and leader to Congress Socialist Party and then to the Communist party of India. He participated in the freedom struggle and was arrested and jailed. His close connection with many stalwart Communist leaders in the jail developed him to an ardent Communist. When the Communist Party of India split, he along with many others formed the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is the biggest Communist Party in India. He was an all India leader in Congress, Congress Socialist Party as also CPI and CPI(M). He functioned as the general secretary of CPI and later as General Secretary of CPI(M). He was one of the founder PB members of the CPI(M).
He was one of the founding fathers of the Party in Kerala along with Comrades P.Krishna Pillai, A.K.Gopalan and others. He donated all his land property and assets to the Communist Party and lived on the meagre allowances that the party gave him.
The life of Com. EMS, as he was popularly and affectionately called, was full of struggles and activities for the party and the common people. He was a strong proponent of a united Kerala, Aikya Kerala, by uniting the Travancore, Cochin states also Malabar area of the Madras state. His book on the subject is a master piece. In 1956, this long cherished demand was conceded on the basis of the report of the State Reorganization Committee and Kerala State was formed on 1st November 1956. In the first state election in 1957, the Communist Party won and the Communist Ministry formed with Com. EMS as the first Chief Minister.
The Land Act as also the Education Act adopted by the EMS government changed the entire scenario in the state. Lakhs of landless tenants got right to land. The Congress party and vested interests including the the communal forces organised a ‘Vimochana Samara’ with full backing of the foreign governments including US and the government was arbitrarily dismissed by the Nehru government in 1959. The first EMS Ministry was one of the best ministries Kerala has ever seen.
Com.EMS again became Chief Minister again in 1967, when the CPI(M) won the election with majority. Developmental activities were done in a big way.
He was closely connected with the P&T Trade union movement and attended many conferences of the union, including the All India Conference of the AITEE Union Class III held at Thiruvananthapuram in 1994, where I was elected as the General Secretary of the union.
His strictness for time and timely completion of any work is well known. This I have seen myself. Once I have the opportunity to travel with him from Calicut to Mangalore, where he was to address a meeting of NFPTE. He was continuously writing and by the time we reached Mangalore, he put the same in a cover, wrote the address and told me to post it immediately so that it will reach Chintha weekly next day itself.
An interesting incident also happened. While addressing the meeting at Mangalore Head Post Office on the day, he saw the photo of Babu Tarapada Mukherjee, pioneer of the P and T TU movement, fixed on the wall and asked whose photo it is. When I mentioned that it was the photo of Babu Tarapada, Union leader, he smiled and commented: ‘ so, you have your union leaders’ photo in the Post Office also.’ I mentioned to him also that since there are no place in many Post Offices for holding meetings, we usually hold the same in the office,after office hours.
I had the fortune to meet him several times and interact. Many times when he used to come to Calicut, I met him at the Railway station and sometimes arranged his food also, which was to be prepared strictly according to the diet recommended by his doctor. On the fateful day of 19th March 1998, I was getting down at the Railway Station at Guwahati to attend a Conference, when Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Circle Secretary, NE informed me that Com. E.M.S. has passed away a few hours back. Since I was in the train, I had not heard the sad news. I wanted to go to Thiruvananthapuram to attend his last journey, but there was no immediate conveyance to reach there. I paid my homage there in Guwahati itself.
On this 21st death anniversary, we pay our respectful homage to the great leader! Red Salute to Com. EMS!