13 June, 2021

Memories Of The Radical

EMS gave Marxists the first lesson in governance—and changed the face of Kerala

Memories Of The Radical

IN Elamkulam Manakkal Shankaran Namboodiripad's passing, the Left movement has lost one of its primary propagandists and interpreters of Marxism. To the Marxist faithful, Namboodiripad was a symbol of political constancy. Even when the ideology seemed to falter in Eastern Europe, he remained firm in his belief. To the last, he kept his faith in the certitudes of Marxism.

EMS turned the CPI(M) into a player in bourgeois parliamentary democracy. That is his abiding political legacy. He changed the popular perception of communism as a movement working outside the democratic process, a party intolerant of dissent and prone to dictatorship. Namboodiripad pioneered the transformation of the communists into a force capable of participation in the democratic system—and coming out on top. This was the thundering message conveyed through the ballot in 1957. The first elected Communist ministry died young, no thanks to Nehru and Indira Gandhi, but it lives on in the memory of the world.

During his brief flirtations with power,...

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