People's Democracy

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


No. 28

July 14, 2013




Grand Valedictory of Theekkathir Golden Jubilee Celebrations


S P Rajendran


BY releasing the 456-page golden jubilee souvenir, Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), inaugurated the grand valedictory of Tamil daily Theekkathir at Madurai on June 29, 2013.


He said the publication of Theekathir from Madurai was appropriate as it represented the historical origins of the working class movement in Tamilnadu, which was the centre of various struggles of the party. “Theekkathir provides a Marxist perspective of all issues that affect the peasantry and working classes and highlights issues like untouchability and the atrocities committed against dalits and women,” he said in praise of the paper.


The golden jubilee souvenir was received by V Meenakshi Sundaram, former editor.


The CPI(M) general secretary wrote proudly in the souvenir: “Theekkathir is a newspaper which has stood consistently for this alternative vision. It is a paper which has faithfully reflected the aspirations and the voices of the working people and the organisations that represent them. Unlike the corporate media, it has acted as a tribune for the people. The Golden Jubilee of the paper marks a milestone in the history of the progressive and Tamil media.”


Manik Sarkar, the chief minister of Tripura, in his message for the souvenir, said, “I am aware that Theekkathir has been playing a very important role in creating political and social awareness in Tamilnadu and has been taking up various ideological, political and social issues connected with peasants, working class and other weaker sections of the society. I also aware that such newspapers generally do not get much of commercial support from advertisement etc, but despite all the difficulties, you have been able to sustain your noble endeavour for such a long period, which is indeed praiseworthy.”


Tamilnadu chief minister Ms Jayalalithaa, Kerala chief minister Ommen Chandy, Pudhucherry chief minister N Rangasamy, DMK president Kalaignar M Karunanidhi and other political leaders also sent greetings for the valedictory.


Cultural teams like Pudhucherry Safdar Hasmi Kalaikuzhu, Sudar Kalaikuzhu and children of Maniyammai school performed impressive events at the platform decked up with the image of sparks of fire coming out of a pen to commemorate the golden jubilee of Theekkathir, organ of the Tamilnadu state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).




Born as a weapon of ideological fight against right revisionism in the united Communist Party, on June 29, 1963, Theekkathir started as a weekly organ from Chennai, with the fund collected by Coimbatore mill workers. Its first editor was Comrade Arputhasamy, fondly called Appu.


When the CPI(M) was formed in 1964, Theekkathir became the official organ of the party's Tamilnadu state committee and its regular edition was launched in 1969 at Madurai, a stronghold of the party. Theekkathir became a daily newspaper in 1971 with its headquarters at Madurai.


The paper's second edition started from Chennai in 1993; it was inaugurated by Comrade E M S Namboodiripad. Its third edition, in a multicolour form, was launched from the industrial city of Coimbatore on May 23, 2007. It was inaugurated by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. The fourth edition from Tiruchirapalli was inaugurated by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on September 5, 2010.


From the very first day, in a militant and vibrant journey, Theekkathir established itself as an organiser of the party and as a spokesperson in the political-social history of modern Tamilnadu. It played a crucial role in the history of class struggles of the working class in Tamilnadu over the past 50 years.


The tireless journey of Theekkathir recently completed its historic fifty years on June 29, 2013. A big and massive function to commemorate the beginning of the golden jubilee year was held at Madurai on June 29 last year, and the celebrations concluded on June 29, 2013 with another meeting at Thiruvarur, a stronghold of the party, which drew more than 5000 people, mostly agricultural workers. On behalf of the Tamilnadu state committee of the CPI(M), the Thiruvarur district committee of the party had held a colourful public meeting last year also. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K Varadharajan had inaugurated the golden jubilee celebrations last year.


V Parameswaran, editor of the paper, presided over the valedictory function. Addressing the meeting, Prakash Karat said the AIADMK’s support to the Left in the Rajya Sabha polls showed its support to the Left in its fight against the anti-people policies of the UPA government at the centre. The Left was formulating alternative politics focusing on the right to food, education and employment for all. To project these important issues in economic policies, a national convention was to be held in New Delhi on July 1, Karat said. “A nationwide campaign would also be organised to build a new political alternative,” he added.


“Many political parties earlier allied with Congress or the BJP are coming out of those alliances. It is evident that alliances led by these two national parties are weakening,” he said. He then added, “We would appeal to all the secular and democratic forces to join us in our struggles and movements to bring a serious political alternative. Already some major issues like opposition to the FDI in retail and banking and insurance sector saw democratic forces join hands with the Left.”


Karat said Narendra Modi, who the BJP was projecting as its prime ministerial candidate, was no alternative to the Congress. Big corporate houses were supporting him, because making him the PM would mean they would have greater access to natural resources and more profits. The BJP’s economic policies were regressive and the people should not forget that Modi provided a rabid communal platform which led to a pogrom in Gujarat where 2,000 Muslims were killed in violence, he noted.


Taking a dig at the Congress, he said the economic policies of the Congress government were designed to allow the domestic and transnational corporates to make super profits. While the UPA government said it had no funds for social welfare policies, it has foregone Rs five lakh crore of tax arrears owed by corporate companies in the last budget, he added.


CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan and Central Committee member T K Rangarajan also spoke. U Vasuki, Central Committee member, translated the speech of the general secretary into Tamil.


Veterans related to the daily like N Ramakrishnan, I Mayandi Bharathi and A Abdul Wahab, long serving staff, contributors and long-term agents were felicitated by Prakash Karat.


Earlier in the day, at the head office of the daily, chief general manager and CPI(M) state secretariat member N Srinivasan of raised the red flag. G Ramakrishnan opened an exhibition on the history of Theekkathir.


State secretariat members M N S Venkattaraman, A Lazar, S Noor Mohemmed and Semmalar, Theekkathir editor S A Perumal, the paper’s staff members and party leaders of the Madurai urban, rural and southern districts and nearly 5000 people had gathered for the historic moment.