Com.N.P.Padmanabhan ( 23.3.1926 – 05.03.1994)
March 5th, 2022 is the 28th death anniversary of Com. N.P.Padmanabhan, the legendary leader of of the P&T employees. His life was full of militant struggles for the cause of the central govt and P&T workers.
Started his official life as a Postal Clerk in Tirur in 1947. Worked in many post offices since rotational transfer was the system. Took prominent part in formation of NFPTE in Kerala. Led the 5 day historical 1960 July Strike in Tellicherry and was arrested and jailed. Elected as Circle Secretary, All India Postal Employees Union class III (NFPTE) Kerala in 1966. Elected as Convener, Circle Coordinating Committee of P& T Unions (NFPTE), Kerala in 1977. Also elected as Convener, Confederation of CG Employees and Workers, Kerala.
Com. Pappettan, as he was lovingly and respectfully called, heroically led the 19th September 1968 One Day Token Strike og CG employees in Kerala with almost 100% participation. 200 temporary employees terminated in Kerala alone. Com.N.P. was dismissed. He was reinstated only after Janatha Govt came in to power in 1977 after the withdrawal of the hated Internal Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
N.P.Padmanabhan was elected as Scretary, NFPTE in 1978 and shifted to New Delhi.Returned to Kerala after four years due to ill health. Elected as Circle Secretary P.III and Vice-President of C-o-C.
Retired from service in 1984 and shifted to home at Tellicherry. Passed away on 05.03.1994. Was cremated in Payyambalam Beach, Cannanore. His Memorial stands there nearby that of Com.A.K.Gopalan and other working class leaders.
Com.Padmanabhan was an unparallelled organiser and an inspiring orator. His speech enthused the workers and strengthened activities. He was a hard negotiator, also a good fighter for the cause of workers. Successfully organised many struggles that of not only P&T or CG employees, but that of many other sectors. P&T House, Trivandrum, which was the union office as well as his residence was the centre where leaders of many unions came for support and advice for their respective struggles.
(There used to be a joke saying in Trivandrum at that time that ‘Trivandrum is controlled by three Padmanabhas – Shri Padmanabha, the deity of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, N.P.Padmanabhan and E.Padmanabhan, General Secretary of Kerala NGO Union the militant leader of the state govt employees’. Such was the popularity of Pappettan).
I met him in 1959 after my transfer to Cannanore from Kottayam. I was inspired by his speeches and advices. Got the opportunity to closely work together in P&T House, Trivandrum since 1978, after I was elected as Circle Secretary of E.III Union. The close connection continued till his death.
After my return from Delhi in 2017, I found that no biography of Pappettan has been published so far. With whatever personal information I had, outputs from other leaders and comrades, from available journals and other records as also with information from his family, a short biography in Malayalam titled ‘ Com.N.P.Padmanabhan, the Militant Leader of P & T Employees’ was published in 2018. (Almost all the 2000 copies, except a few were sold within no time. That was the popularity Pappettan had with the workers).
On this 5th March, arrives his 28th death anniversary. P&T and CG employees are observing the day appropriately.
Life and activities of Com. Pappettan will inspire workers for long, especially in the present situation when the workers are continuing their struggles against the anti-people, anti-worker policy and attacks of the Modi Governmet and a 48 eight hours General Strike is being organised on 28-29 March 2022.
Red Salute to Com.N.P.Padmanabhan on his death anniversary!