People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 30, 2007

A Tribute To Comrade P Ramamurti


Santasri Chatterjee


LAKHS of working people in the country are observing birth centenary of one of the founder members of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and great communist leader, Comrade P Ramamurti. The centenary falls on September 20, 2007. On this day in 1908 a glittering star was born in the horizon. He was born in Tanjavur district in Madras Presidency, (now Tamil Nadu). A pioneer of trade union movements, a great communist leader, he was a brilliant student having command in many languages. He was a good orator and is considered to be one of the greatest parliamentarians in the country. In youth he joined the independence movement and started his political life as a volunteer of Congress Party. He was given responsibility to be with Gandhiji during his tour in Madras Presidency. The withdrawal of Non-cooperation movement in 1920 had created a great resentment among youth in the country who were in search of an alternative path. The socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had a great impact on the people world over and in India too. At the time Indian people were fighting against the British imperialism for independence. Comrade PR dedicated his whole life for the emancipation of the people from exploitation and miseries in India. Before joining Communist Party, he joined Congress Socialist Party under Jayprakash Narayan’s leadership and founded Congress Socialist Party in Madras Presidency. At that time in South India Comrade AK Gopalan, EMS Namboodiripad like many had joined in Congress Socialist Party. After joining the Communist Party, very soon he was elevated to the leadership in the undivided Communist Party. When the split took place in Communist Party, he joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964 and became Polit Bureau Member of the Party. In fulfilling the task on ideological issues and in fighting against revisionism Comrade PR, as other leaders traveled throughout the country. In West Bengal, his revolutionary speech had enthused and infused fighting spirit among the comrades. In 1966 during historical food movement in West Bengal many were put in jails. After getting released from the jail, I remember, Comrade PR in a vast mass meeting in Shahid Minar Maidan describing the gathering as a small one in comparison to CPI(M)’s influence among the people.


Comrade PR immensely contributed to the working class movements in the country. Under his leadership workers in railways, transport, textile, engineering and others were organised in TamilNadu and contributed his experience in building up working class organisations in other states. He fought relentlessly in AITUC along with other leaders against the revisionism and politicised the working class in trade unions. This has culminated in the formation CITU in 1970. He became the general secretary of CITU in 1970. The president of CITU was Comrade BTR and vice president was Comrade Jyoti Basu. Comrade BTR in his memoirs wrote:


“When the CITU was formed in 1970, PR was the obvious choice for the strategic and leading post of the general secretary. ….He was quick to understand the trend of discussions at the foundation conference of the CITU.”


We with great respect recall that the prestige earned by the CITU in the sphere of working class movement throughout the world today is a contribution of Comrade PR and Comrade BTR. They are legendary figures in the history of working class and the communist movement in the country. The great working class leaders like Comrade Md Ismail, Comrade Manaranjan Ray, Comrade Niren Ghosh, Comrade Kamal Sarkar, Comrade VP Chintan, Comrade Ramani, Comrade N Prasada Rao are no more with us. Com. B.T.R, Com. P.R and Com. Jyoti Basu were leaders of leaders of working class. While remembering Comrade PR, the bright chapter of history of working class movement comes to mind. Comrade BTR rightly said, “The great crusader has left. He has left us the memory of his revolutionary work and that is a rich heritage”.