Born on: February 7, 1948
Born in: Letpadan, Burma
For a man who decided not to have children in the wider interests of the party which he worked for, and the theories which he believed in, Prakash Karat was bound to make his mark in Indian politics. For a student who was a part of the anti-apartheid movements in his university, it was the community that mattered most. It's no wonder then that the communist party in India is centered on Karta's ideologies. As the General Secretary of his party, power politics never really lured him. Karat has not been seen sacrificing the ideologies of the communist party for power. He never hesitated to stand against the government in policies and reforms, which he found was against national interests. He has also often been seen rocking the parliament with his fiery speeches. As a sincere party worker, he never deviated from the doctrines his party stood for, and took strong actions against any who deviated from party disciplines and norms.
Prakash Karat was born in Ledpadan in Burma in February 7, 1948. His father was an employee of the Burma Railways. Prakash Karat hailed from Elappully in Palakkad in Kerala, the place which he left at the age of five along with his family to Burma. In 1957, when he was nine, the family returned to India. When he was thirteen, Karat lost his father and his mother and took up the job of an LIC agent and settled in Chennai. Karat received his school education from Madras Christian College School in Chennai, on the completion of which, he won the first prize in an All India Essay Competition. As a result, in 1964, Karat was sent on a ten day visit to Tokyo. He joined the Madras Christian College as an undergraduate student in economics. On the completion of the course, he was honored with a gold medal for the best student in the college. Awarded with a scholarship, Karat reached the University of Edinburg in Britain to finish off a Masters in Political Science. In 1970, he was awarded an M.Sc degree from the Edinburg University for his thesis' Language and Politics in Modern India'. At the Edinburg University, Prakash Karat made his first entry into student politics and he met the famous Marxist historian Professor Victor Kiernan who had a great influence on the young Karat. He was expelled from the University for his participation in anti-apartheid protests. However, later, the expulsion was suspended on the grounds of good behavior. In 1970, Karat returned to India where he joined the reputed Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. While doing his PhD at the Jawaharlal Nehru University from 1971-1973, Prakash Karat assisted A.K. Gopalan who was the leader of the CPI (M). Karat was one of the founders of Students Federation of India (SFI) which is the student political wing of CPI (M). He was actively involved in student's politics and was elected as the third President of the Students Federation of India in the union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University. During the course of the emergency period in India in 1975- 1976, he worked underground for about one and a half years and was poisoned for eight days. In 1975, Prakash Karat married Brinda, a party colleague who hailed from West Bengal.
In 1985, Prakash Karat's career underwent a drastic change when he was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI (M). In 1992, he was made a member of 'Politburo' which is the central decision making body of the CPI (M). In 2005, he became the General Secretary of CPI (M) which was a major swing for a party that had witnessed only veterans at its helm. At this crucial juncture, CPM, along with other three left parties was given an important say in the UPA government in New Delhi. This provided vital support to the government.
Prakash Karat is also the Managing Director of Left Word Books which is a left-wing publishing house. He is also a part of the editorial board that publishes a Marxist theoretical journal.
Contributions To Politics
Prakash Karat authored four books. In 1972, he wrote 'Language, Nationality and Politics in India'. In 1999, he wrote 'A World to Win - Essays on the Communist Manifesto'. In 2003, he wrote, 'Across Time and Continents: A Tribute to Victor Kiernan' and in 2008 he wrote 'The Sub-Ordinate Ally: The Nuclear Deal and India- US Strategic Relations'.
1948: Born in Letpadan in Burma.
1957: Moved from Burma to Chennai along with family.
1970: Was awarded an M.Sc degree from the Edinburg University for his thesis 'Language and Politics in Modern India'.
1970: Left Edinburg to India.
1972: Wrote 'Language, Nationality and Politics in India'.
1974-1979: Served as the third President of the Students Federation of India.
1975-1976: Worked underground during the emergency.
1975: Married his colleague Brinda.
1985: Elected to the central committee of CPI (M).
1992: Became a member of politburo.
1999: Wrote 'A World to Win - Essays on the Communist Manifesto'.
2003: Wrote 'Across Time and Continents: A Tribute to Victor Kiernan'.
2005: Became the General Secretary of CPI (M).
2008: Wrote 'The Sub-ordinate Ally: The Nuclear Deal and India- US Strategic Relations'.