58. RETIRMENT FROM SERVICE
Retirement from service due on 30th June 1966. Though correct date of birth is 24th July 1938, as per official record it is 12th June 1938, a mistake committed at time of giving date of birth at school. Retirement age, 58 years. Completed about 38 years of service.
Transfer to Lakshadweep, approaching court against it, cancellation of transfer orders, and no service and salary for 34 months – all mentioned earlier. Some developments took place afterwards. Shri U.V.Nayak, who was General Manager, Telecom, Kerala, during my transfer to Kavarathi joined as Member (Technical) in Telecom Commission. Shri B.R.Nair, who also worked in Kerala Circle joined as Member (Services). While discussing about reinstatement of a union leader dismissed from Jabalpur Telecom Factory, U.V.Nayak enquired about my loss of salary and dies-non during transfer period. When told that there has been no settlement, he asked why not an appeal to Member (Services)?
Prepared an appeal and submitted to Member (Services) through proper channel in which all facts including my functioning as Circle Secretary during the period, application for Foreign Service, its rejection, judgment of the High Court cancelling the transfer etc. were mentioned and requested cancellation of dies-non, regularisation of Service and payment of salary. A very strict officer, B.R.Nair asked for detailed report from Kozhikode Office. Orders were issued granting Foreign Service and regularising service for the period, but no salary. (Foreign Service is a facility given to Union office-bearers to be deputed to the union for its work. Salary, pension contribution, leave salary etc. to be paid by the union for the period. This arrangement was agreed by the government to ensure that outsiders are not made office-bearers of the union).
After a few days when met B.R.Nair, he smiled and told that ‘your Kozhikode DM office is ‘special’. He continued stating that when he wanted documents for proof of my functioning as Circle Secretary, the office had sent bundles of files with details my attending official union meetings, correspondence, agitations etc. When came to Kozhikode, enquired and found what has happened. Shri C.Padmanabhan, Deputy General Manager, who was a union leader earlier, had sent all these documents, in order to ensure that my application is favourably considered. Shri Padmanabhan was Branch President of Union, when I was Branch Secretary. Shri M.P.Rajan Damodaran, another DGM was the Treasurer. Even after promoted to officer posts, both of them maintained good relations with union and were much helpful. Incidently C.Padmanabhan was victimised for participation in 1960 strike.
Joined at Kozhikode Telephone Exchange one month back before retirement date, taking leave from the union. Got the chance to work with colleagues and comrades after a period of five years since my shift to Delhi. Same post of Chief Telephone Supervisor. My colleagues helped much in discharging my duties and I was free to certain extend to attend my union work.
Com.K.Kunhutty Master, a close friend and union activist, was also retiring on the same day. Send off party, taking of group photo etc. as usual. Many comrades spoke mentioning their remembrances etc. We both thanked all for the reception. Many comrades came to residence to bid farewell. I did not feel the pain and anxiety that are usual at time of retiring, probably due to full engagement in union activities.
A Reception was organised on 4th July 1996 at Town Hall, Kozhikode at the initiative of the P and T Co-ordinating Committee. The hall was overflowing with leaders and workers of various service and trade unions. Com. O.Bharathan M.P., Chairman of Kerala Circle P and T Co-ordinating Committee presided. Com.M.Dasan M.L.A., Chairman Reception Committee welcomed. Mayor of Kozhikode Smt. M.K.Premajam, Com. M.P.Veerendra Kumar, M.P., Com.Binoy Viswam (AITUC), Com.M.Vasu(CITU), Shri Sadiri Koya (INTUC), Com.K.Krishnan (FSETO), Com. K.Raman (Confederation), Com.M.Krishnan (Convener, NFPTE), Com. P.V. Chandrasekharan (CS E.III Union) and other leaders spoke. While speaking, Com.Veerendra Kumar mentioned that he had come directly from Kottakkal Ayurveda Hospital, where he was under treatment, as he could not miss the function considering his close association with me. Shri Sadiri Koya, a very senior INTUC leader stated that he learnt many things about how to function in a trade union from VAN. I knew very well that these comments were made due to their great affection for me.
Garlands were given by leaders of various organisations. I replied thanking all for the reception and presents. Com.K.R.Sivadas, Convener, Co-ordinating Committee, proposed vote of thanks. Receptions were held at Ernakulum and a few other places.
Donated Rs. 33,000/- to CHQ E.III Union from the amount received as encashment of leave. I had no leave at credit actually. But the Account Officer in charge, as per existing rules, converted my half-pay leave in to full leave and hence allowed encashment.
Great loss – Mother passed away
Mother was staying with me at Kozhikode up to 1985, which was of great help. Her health was deteriorating and she wanted to go home at Perincherry. Children of Pankajam’s sisters, Rajagopalan, Siva Prasad and Sathyanathan stayed with us now and then for their studies and work. Also helped looking after the family.
Mother went home and stayed with family of my elder brother Sankaran Namboodiri. Due to continued union activities, official duties and tours, I could not go home to meet mother as earlier. Used to go once in two or three months. After shifting to Delhi, visits became very rare.
Pankajam phoned me in the early morning of First November 1996 and informed the sad news that mother has passed away. With support of comrades in Delhi, booked the first flight to Kozhikode. Took loan of Rs. 5000 each from Comrades K.K.N.Kutty and O.P.Gupta. Kutty took me to airport in his car. Reached Mumbai at 11.30 hours, but connection flight to Karippur (Kozhikode) was only at 14.30 hours. Reached Kozhikode airport at 16.30 hours where Comrades K.Rajan and K.R.Sivadas were waiting. First went to Kozhikode residence, then along with Pankajam, daughter Mini and brother’s son Dinesh, to Perincherry. Reached home at about 20.00 hours. All family members reached, waiting for me. Many comrades and colleagues from Kozhikode and Kannur had also come.
Saw mother for the last time. Lying calm and quiet. Difficult to believe that she was dead. Last rites and funeral completed by about 22.00 hours in the same place where father was laid to rest. Dearest mother passed away, leaving all of us in grief and sadness.
Stayed along with brothers, sisters and other family members for about two weeks till all rituals were over. It was mother who looked all of us since father passed away, exactly thirty years back. Father died on 30th October 1966 and mother on 1st November 1996.
I was very sad that I could not be near her when she passed away. A lot of memories. The special love and affection being the youngest child. Hence the chance to drink mother’s milk till 4-5 years. When returning from school, she will be waiting with food. Sometimes even before taking bath, secretly giving tea and snacks. Stay at Calicut looking after our children. When family partition took place, putting her share with mine. The sad feeling was there that I could not do my share of responsibility to her. Of course she never showed it. Mothers are mothers.
After all rituals, returned to Kozhikode and then to Delhi to union activities. (continued).