People's Democracy

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


No. 38

September 20, 2009



EMS Centenary Celebrations Begin


W R Varada Rajan

MARKING the centenary of Comrade E M S Namboodripad, the Tamilnadu state committee of the CPI(M) is organising a series of events till June 2010. It has planned to organise seminars and public meetings throughout the state culminating in a huge public meeting in Chennai in June 2010.


Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member, inaugurated the centenary celebrations by addressing a mass meeting in Madurai on September 11, 2009. Speaking at the meeting Brinda said, �the practical politics and ideology of EMS, communist leader and former Kerala chief minister, are beyond his times and continue to be extremely relevant to the present political situation of the country and in a society with huge inequalities�.


As the first ever non-congress and communist chief minister to take office after independence, EMS expounded an alternative vision projecting certain alternatives in all theories and practices that Indian politics required, she said.


Brinda ridiculed the claim of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had claimed, during his recent three day hurricane visit to Tamilnadu, that the Congress party was a bridge between the shining India that the BJP had catered to and the suffering India whose cause was championed by the Left parties, as the metro bridge built of adulterated cement that collapsed in Delhi recently. The Congress party had ruled the country for nearly 50 out of the 62 years of India�s independence and had done nothing to ameliorate the horrifying living conditions of the poor and deprived sections of the country.


She pointed to the shameful conduct of bourgeois politicians throughout the country indulging in amassing huge wealth through corrupt deals and practices, whereas EMS had donated whatever share he got out of his family property to the Party and lived in a rental house till his death.


EMS, when he was a member of the legislature in the erstwhile Madras presidency in 1939 during the colonial India, opposed the move for eviction of tenants and share croppers from the land that they had been cultivating.


When he became the chief minister of Kerala in 1957, his first act was to legislate comprehensive land reforms. But within the first 100 days of the second edition of the UPA regime, prime minister Manmohan Singh had entered into the ASEAN trade pact which will spell ruin for the country�s farmers and agricultural sector as a whole.


Today, Kerala provides an exemplary public distribution system to its people through the chain of maveli shops selling essential commodities at affordable and subsidised prices. It was EMS who during his stints as chief minister laid the foundation for this. In these days of skyrocketing prices, the UPA government is turning a deaf ear to the demand for extending a universal public distribution system throughout the country. This is the difference in the vision and approach to governance between a pro-people Left and anti-people Congress party.


Madurai has earned historic significance because of two things. One is the free flow of money which has been witnessed during elections, to which even the Election Commission had turned a blind eye. The historic and beautiful Meenakshi temple is the other thing which has earned world wide repute for Madurai. While everybody respectfully prays before Goddess Meenakshi,  the other �Meenakshis� who are poor house wives in the poor and middle class families in Madurai and all other places in the country are subjected to indignities and miseries at the hands of drunken husbands. It is this shameful condition of women in India that calls for a strident struggle for women�s rights. EMS started this struggle even during his younger days within his orthodox Namboodri family. EMS was a great supporter of women�s rights and struggle in the Marxist way. The kind of support All India Democratic Women�s Association (AIDWA) enjoyed was due to the legacy of EMS, she said.


EMS also started his fight against the caste oppression which witnessed its worst manifestations in Kerala, when he started his public life as a young boy. If today caste oppression has by and large been eradicated in Kerala, the credit must go to the relentless struggle waged by EMS.


�Today when we in India have to take on the multi dimensional challenges of imperialism, proclaiming that �ideology is dead�, �We should learn from EMS to fight back and to assert Marxism and Leninism for the fundamental social change of the country�, Brinda concluded.


The meeting was also addressed by M M Lawrence, Party senior leader and general secretary of CITU � Kerala, who recalled the contribution of EMS in building the Communist movement in Kerala and the country as whole along with comrades A K Gopalan, P Krishna Pillai and P Sundarayya.


Lawrence recounted the experience of the Party in forming the communist government in the first ever state assembly elections held in Kerala in 1957. He also narrated the pro �people and radical measures initiated by EMS during his tenure as chief minister which lasted just 28 months, as his government was toppled by the Congress party, which resorted to a violent agitation in the state.


N Varadarajan, secretary of the Party in Tamilnadu, while addressing the meeting, described how EMS evolved as a staunch communist even as he was born in a rich and orthodox Brahmin family in Kerala. His contribution as the general secretary of the Party, upholding the revolutionary ideology and guiding the Party, at a time when the communist movement suffered setbacks internationally with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist states in Eastern Europe  is of immense value. �It is the life and struggle of EMS that inspires us in Tamilnadu to take up the social issues of caste oppression and the rightful demands of the dalits in our society�, he said.


N Nanmaran, MLA also recollected the occasions when EMS visited Madurai and participated in Party events. Kalaivanar Kali Kuzhu, a troupe of artists, comprising transport workers staged a brief play depicting a few scenes from EMS� life.