THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM is busy dealing with crisis after crisis, be it the gruesome murder of a ‘renegade’ or the letter of its veteran leader. And for the comrades, the 75th anniversary of hoisting the party flag in the state seems to have failed to bring any cheers.
But V V Giri, former Information Commissioner of the state, though not a party worker, has every reason to be elated as the diamond jubilee of hoisting the hammer and sickle star flag falls on Wednesday.
It was his father, the legendary social activist V K Velayudhan, who hoisted the flag for the first time in erstwhile Travancore which comprised most of the southern parts of modern Kerala.
‘’My father was not a communist. But he was a leader of the workers and was associated with the day-to-day life of the common people’’ says Giri.
It was on May 22, 1937 that the red flag with star, sickle and hammer was hoisted at Vaneevilasom Hall (now Radha Theatre), in Alappuzha as part of the 15th annual conference of the Thiruvithamcore Labour Association. Labour Union, the first trade union in the state, was formed on March 31, 1922. It was later rechristened as Thiruvithamcore Labour Association.
Velayudhan, one of the pioneering leaders of the union, later went on to become the secretary and president of the association. In 1936, the first faction of the Socialist Party was organised in Alappuzha under the leadership of comrade P Krishna Pillai.
‘’By 1937 Socialist Party gained large support among the workers in Alappuzha and hence the flag was first hoisted in Alappuzha,’’ says M K Sanu in his book ‘V K Velayudhan, Saamuhyaneethiyude Kavalbhatan’.
‘’Velayudhan was truly a mass leader,’’ Sanu says. V V Giri recalls that his father was just 34 years of age when he hoisted the flag and was also the general secretary of SNDP Union, another workers’ outfit then. However, the Left parties seem not to be very keen to celebrate the historic occasion. ‘’It was hoisted in the Travancore principality and not in Kerala.
Anyway the party didn’t give a thought for celebrating it as we are fully engaged in the campaigning for Neyyatinkara bypoll’’ said M A Baby, CPM politburo member.