Remembering Com.E.M.S.Namboodiripad on his 24th Death Anniversary !

Comrade E.M.S.Namboodiripad, internationally known Marxist Philospher,Former General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Former Chief Minister of Kerala, author of many books, passed away on 19th March 1998, after an eventful revolutionary life.  Though born in an aristocratic rich land lord family, he left all these and plunged in to the Independence struggle while he was in college. Jailed mny times. Later became Socialist and then Communist. One of the founders of the CPI(M) in 1964 and PB member till his death. General Secretary of CPI(M) in its crucial times. Lived an austere and simple life. His write ups and articles have been published in 100 big volumes after his death by the Party. Fortunate to have been able to meet him several times and get his guidance and advices. Giving below a few instances of my meeting with him which I always cherish and keep in my memory with reverence. Red Salute to Com.E.M.S.Namboodiripad !

While proceeding to P &T House, Trivandrum  one day in 1978, after taking breakfast from Trivandrum Hotel, a car stopped near me. Com.E.M.S.Namboodiripad, former Kerala Chief Minister and PBM CPI(M), who was in the car asked me: “I am seeing you here for the last few days. What is the matter?” I told him about my shifting to Trivandrum, after being elected as Circle Secretary of the union (NFPTE). “Come to my house next Sunday” he said. Went to his house in Santhi Nagar Colony near exchange next Sunday. EMS was reading, sitting in his easy chair. He smiled asked about my stay at Trivandrum, told me to go inside. Spoke with Com.Aniyan, son of EMS, had tea and returned. I went a few times more and almost the same routine.

When Com.EMS was staying at Delhi as General Secretary of CPI(M), used to meet him at 14, Windsor Place, CC office, whenever I went to Delhi for Committee meetings, Conventions etc. He will ask why I had come to Delhi, enquire about my eldest brother, V.A.KesavanNamboodiri, Professor, Devagiri College Calicut and then return to his work. Not a single moment will be wasted by him. Once he entrusted me with a cassette to be handed over to the party leaders at Trivandrum, which was his speech to be delivered in election meetings, as he was unable to attend personally, as agreed upon earlier.

Once on our request, EMS agreed to address a meeting of NFPTE at Mangalore. He came by train from Trivandrum to Calicut in the early morning. He was accommodated in Railway Rest Room in the upper storey. All available morning papers were purchased and given. While watching him reading all of them quickly, a doubt rose in my mind. How is he managing this? Days later, the idea struck me. It might be that he has trained himself to grasp the important and required portion at a glance, just as we look at a photo and grasp the details. May be right, may be wrong. But there was some extra-ordinary capacity in him that allowed him to read lot of books and materials and remember them all and quote when necessary. It also came to my mind how Adi Shankara is reported to have dictated verses to four disciples at the same time one after another on four different matters. Remembered what Com.M.P.Veerendra Kumar, M.P. jokingly told me once: ‘Com.EMS is a human computer’.

Usually, food was being arranged from Kidson Tourist Home. But when tea was brought, owner of the Non- Vegetarian Restaurant requested that he may be allowed to arrange the breakfast for him. Agreed and reminded that no salt and oil, as advised by doctor. Within no time he came back with ordered items. While taking breakfast EMS told that a little bit of salt and oil are there. With a smile, he said that the restaurant owner might have thought that how a person can take food without salt.

After some time, we started for Mangalore by train. He was in First class. Myself, in ordinary compartment. When getting down at Mangalore, he entrusted me a cover addressed to Chintha Weekly for posting. It was his weekly article for Chintha, written in the train. Large number of P & T workers was present in the meeting held in Post Office, Mangalore. Inaugural speech was very educative as usual. There was a photo of BabuTarapada Mukherjee on the wall. On his asking, we told that it is the photo of the founder leader of Postal Union. ‘Good. You display union leaders’ photo in Post Offices?’

Once Com. EMS was addressing a largely attended public meeting at Mudalakkulam Maidan, Calicut. All of a sudden, large number of lathi – wielding police in mufti from the nearby police colony came rushing and started beating people. There seemed to be some local trouble earlier. A few police men were climbing to the stage also. There was complete pandemonium. I was sitting in the maidan with another comrade. We just ran to road when police came running to beat us. Advocate P.K.Kunhirama Poduval stopped his car near me and said in agitation that EMS is not seen. He had gone to the stage to take him to his room in Rest House, but he was not there. People were fully crowded on the road. Then he told, let us go to the Rest House, W.Hill, where EMS was staying. When we reached there, EMS was sitting alone in the room.For the first time, I saw him much agitated and probably angry. We came to know that one comrade has immediately taken EMS in his car and brought to Rest House and saved him.

All India Conference of E.III Union (NFPTE) was held at Trivandrum from 9th to 13th April 1994. Com.E.M.S.Namboodirpad, while inaugurating the conference made an important point. He stated that both the workers, who do physical work as well as mental work, are workers and joint effort is required to improve the industry as well as to achieve their demands. It can be seen later that E.III union made all out efforts and was successful in bringing executives and non- executives together in the path of struggle.

Another incident comes to my mind. Com.EMS had come to Calicut and was taking rest at Rest House, W.Hill. I went there to meet him. His driver called me aside and confided that EMS’s shirt is torn, but he is managing with the same old one. He asked me to speak to EMS for getting a new shirt. I told him that I am not capable for that task. By the time Com.M.K.Kelu( Keluettan), District Secretary CPI(M) and veteran comrade, reached there. Spoke to him about the torn shirt. He went to the room, took the torn shirt from the hanger and told EMS, as a matter of fact,” Com.EM, I am taking your shirt and going to purchase two shirts”. EMS understood that the driver has told Keluettan. But he was unable to say ‘ no’ to Keluettan, whom he respected much. We went to town, purchased shirts from the Handtex and gave to EMS.

When I got down at Gauhati Railway Station in the early morning of 20th March 1998, comrades who came to receive gave the shocking news that Com. EMS has passed away on the earlier day. I could not get any information while in train. No mobile phone with me.  I wanted to immediately start for Trivandrum to see a last glance of the great leader and my inspiration. But workers were very particular that I attend their conference. Even otherwise, there was no immediate flight. Could do nothing more. His mortal remains were consigned to flames in the electrical crematorium at Trivandrum in the presence of thousands of leaders and people who loved him as one of them.

Com.Harkishan Singh Surjeet, General Secretary CPI(M) stated : “ Com. EMS was to me what he was to millions of others in Kerala and outside, a dear and near one. He was one of my closest friends and colleagues. To millions of ordinary people in Kerala, EMS as he was popularly known was an icon. No other single individual has made as immense a contribution as EMS has in shaping the destiny of both Kerala and the Communist movement in the country. …He was an internationalist in the true sense of the term….”

How true! The international known Communist ideologue and voracious reader, writer and great organiser was no more. Kerala wept for their former Chief Minister, who was an epic himself. It will be difficult to find such an all-round personality easily.

Red Salute to Com. EMS on his 24th Death Anniversary!