The rebel within: Fears that CPM has become an electoral machine not focussed on workers

Written by Vishnu Varma | Updated: June 19, 2018 4:54:13 pm

For long, the Communist parties in Kerala have seldom seen a leader tower above the party structure. But times are changing. (Illustration by Vishnu PP)

For the Communist movement in Kerala, Vayalar holds a hallowed position. Nearly seven decades ago, here in this tiny village and in Punnapra, 30 kilometres away, in October, 1946 workers of mainly coir factories, emboldened by Communist dogma, turned against then-prime minister of Travancore Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer over their rights and the region’s autonomy. While Iyer advocated an independent Travancore, the Communists saw this as a move to align with American and British interests. As peace talks failed, clashes erupted between workers armed with ‘varikuntham’ (spears fashioned out of stems of areca nut trees) and the army of Iyer, consisting of British and Travancore troops. Official figures are not available but rough estimates suggest a few hundred workers were mercilessly gunned down by Iyer’s troops, turning the paddy fields red. The violence dealt a blow to the workers’ strike, but also turned the public against his administration. A year later, Travancore ceded with the rest of India with Sir Iyer fleeing Kerala after an…

Continue Reading This Article At The Indian Express


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here