Born On: June 13, 1909
Born In: Perinthalmanna, Kerala, India
Died On: March 19, 1998
Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad, better known as E M S Namboodiripad was the first non Congress chief minister of independent India. He was one of the most important leaders of the Communist party of India and was well known for his love of socialist and Marxist theories. He is also remembered as the first Chief Minister of the state of Kerala after India's independence. E M S Namboodiripad assumed office as Kerala CM in the year 1957 and again in the year 1967. Apart from a successful career in politics, E M S Namboodiripad was also known for his contribution as a writer of non fiction work. E M S Namboodiripad's book on the history of Kerala is widely referred to till today.
Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad was born on June 13, 1909 in Perinthalmanna city located in the Malappuram district of Kerala. His forefathers were members of the Namboothiri community of Kerala. In pre-independent India, division of castes was a potent aspect of Kerala society and it was from a very young age that E M S Namboodiripad got involved with different groups that fought against casteism and conservatism in the Kerala society, especially in the community of the Namboothiris. E M S Namboodiripad joined hands with socialists and freedom fighters like V T Bhattathiripad and M R Bhattathiripad to protest against the division and discrimination in his community. He became an important member of the Valluvanadu Yogaskshema Sabha, an organization comprising of several Namboothiri youth, working towards removing the concept of caste division in society. E M S Namboodiripad later joined the Indian National Congress while he was still studying in college to contribute in India's struggle for independence.
Socialist and Communist Political Inclination
E M S Namboodiripad was one of the founders of the Congress Socialist Party, a wing of the Indian National Congress, in the year 1934. After the political party was set up, E M S Namboodiripad was elected the All India Joint Secretary from 1934 to 1940. He also became a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly in the year 1939. By this time E M S Namboodiripad had gained a strong foothold in the Indian National Congress and it was socialism that the politician worked towards establishing and believed in during his initial years in politics. It was the love that he felt for the working class of the society that inspired E M S Namboodiripad to adopt communism in his political ideologies.
E M S Namboodiripad gradually established the Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala. He was criticized so much for this that he had to go in hiding to remain out of prison. In the year 1964 a split occurred among the ranks of the Communist Party of India. The division which followed saw E M S Namboodiripad take sides with the Community Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M). E M S Namboodiripad became a member of the Central Committee and the Politburo of the CPI (M). From the years 1977 to 1992, E M S Namboodiripad served as the General Secretary of the CPI (M) in Kerala.
In the year 1957 E M S Namboodiripad created history by leading his Communist party to victory in the Kerala state elections. He was the first non Congress leader to achieve this victory and therefore the first communist leader to organize an elected state government. E M S Namboodiripad was sworn in as the chief minister of Kerala on April 5, 1957. The land reform ordinance and the education bill were the most popular policies introduced by the E M S Namboodiripad government in Kerala.
However, Namboodiripad had to vacate office in the year 1959 after the central government invoked Article 356 of the Indian constitution, dissolving the Kerala state legislature and imposing the federal rule in Kerala. E M S Namboodiripad became the chief minister of Kerala for the second time in the year 1967 after a coalition of seven political parties, including the Communist party and the Muslim League, won by a majority in the state elections. E M S Namboodiripad remained in office for the next two and a half years.
E M S Namboodiripad was the leader of the opposition party in the Kerala Legislative Assembly for two terms. The first term extended from 1960 to 1964 and the second term was from the years 1970 to 1977. The decentralization of power and resources in the state and the spread of literacy all over Kerala was the chief aim of E M S Namboodiripad throughout his stint as a politician in the Kerala state government. E M S Namboodiripad was a popular literary figure who penned books in Malayalam and English, so quite understandably education was at the top of his priority list. All his books were published under the title 'E M S Sanchika'.
E M S Namboodiripad tasted defeat in only a single election in his entire career. His loss was to K P Kuttikrishnan (known widely as the founder of the Trade Union Movement in India) from the Kozhikode constituency. The 1962 Sino - Indian War saw E M S Namboodiripad come to the forefront in favor of the left wing political parties which had come under attack for adopting a pro-China stance. While the entire nation was in a state of confusion, it was only E M S Namboodiripad who stressed that talks with the Chinese authorities could solve the India - China border disputes.
Progressive Association for Arts and Letters
E M S Namboodiripad, along with Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, M P Paul, Joseph Mundassery and K Damodaran, was the founder of 'Jeevat Sahitya Prastanam'. The organization later came to be known as the Progressive Association for Arts and Letters. However the key figures of this organization were not all Communists, which led to serious clashes of opinion, and thus, a fallout between members. The debate between the Communists and the non-Communists is known as the Rupa Bhadrata Vivadam. This debate led to the emergence of a new form of language in Kerala. It was during this time that the seeds of modern Malayalam literature were sowed. Thus, the Rupa Bhadrata Vivadam was a milestone in the history of modern Malayalam literature.
E M S Namboodiripad died on March 19, 1998 leaving behind a rich collection of literary works and a new beginning of the Communist government in Kerala. He was survived by his wife Arya Antharjanam and four children at the time of death.
1909: E M S Namboodiripad was born on March 19.
1934: Played an important role in founding the Congress Socialist Party; Elected the All India Joint Secretary of the Indian National Congress.
1939: Elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly.
1957: Sworn in as Kerala Chief Minister on April 5.
1959: His government was dismissed by central government.
1960: Became leader of opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly.
1962: Spoke on behalf of the left wing parties during the Sino - Indian War.
1964: Took sides with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) after division in the CPI.
1967: Elected Kerala's Chief Minister for the second time.
1970: Became leader of opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly for the second time.
1998: Died on March 19.