People's Democracy

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


No. 23

June 10, 2012


Party Remembers Comrade Kitty


ON June 1, the CPI(M) paid its heartfelt homage to Comrade Kitty Menon through an emotion-choked condolence meeting organised in the party headquarters at A K Gopalan Bhavan in New Delhi, and gratefully remembered her contribution to the party and the Left and democratic movement in India. A large number of cadres of the CPI(M) and mass organisations, apart from the family members of the deceased, took part in the condolence meeting.


Presiding over the meeting, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat talked of the long political life of the departed comrade, one which spanned over six and a half decades and would be remembered for Comrade Kitty’s extraordinary contribution to the movement. Karat described her as an important Marxist intellectual, adding that she and late Comrade Ramdass, her husband, would always be remembered for their contributions to the party. It may be noted that it was late Comrade Ramdass who bore the main responsibility of bringing out the People’s Democracy after the party was reorganised in 1964 and was elected to the CPI(M)’s Central Committee. Karat said the party would soon decide about what to do to perpetuate the memories of this dedicated couple.   


Recalling the revolutionary life of Comrade Kitty Menon, Sitaram Yechury pointed out that innumerable party comrades, including himself, had got from her their lessons in Marxism-Leninism; in fact many of the comrades benefited from her chapter-wise party classes on Capital, Marx’s magnum opus. Yechury recalled that while Comrade Kitty was born in Bombay on July 22, 1922, her family shifted to London when she was only six years old. Since then, her upbringing took place in the same city and it was here that, while studying at the London School of Economics, she came into contact with the radical youth movement there and rose to the leadership position in the Federation of Indian Students in England (FEDIND). It was in this very capacity, as a representative of the Indian youth movement, that she joined the founding conference of World Federation of Democratic Youth in 1945.   


Yechury also pointed out that Comrade Kitty came to India for only a short while once in the mid-1940s, but then she decided to stay here forever and devoted her whole life to the Communist Party and the movement, without looking back.


Professor Prabhat Patnaik recalled how his long association with Comrade Kitty began through their work for Social Scientist. He underlined the influence which her extraordinarily attractive personality exercised and the great role she played as an extraordinary Leftist intellectual.


Paying home to Comrade Kitty Menon on behalf of Delhi state unit of the CPI(M), Mahendra Singh underscored her role in building the party and the democratic teachers movement in Delhi University from the mid-1960s onward.


Rajendra Sharma spoke on behalf of comrades working in the People’s Democracy and Loklahar, emphasising her role in giving the papers a democratic orientation. 


The meeting observed silence for a minute in memory of the departed comrade.


Kitty, as all comrades called her with respect and love, retired as a reader in Delhi School of Economics in the mid-1980s and since then she got associated with the editorial team of the party’s central organ, People’s Democracy. Earlier, from the last years of the 1960s, she had been playing a leading role in building the democratic teachers movement in Delhi University and in the dissemination of Marxist ideas in the university and outside, while dedicatedly involved in her teaching job.


Comrade Kitty breathed her last on May 28 evening, when she was soon to complete 90 years of age, and her remains were taken to the Lodi Road electric crematorium the same evening. Apart from her son, Raju, her grandchildren and other family members, CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and S Ramachandran Pillai, Central Secretariat members, Hari Singh Kang and V Sriniwas Rao, members of the People’s Democracy and Loklahar editorial staff, and other comrades working at the party centre were present on the occasion.