At long last, those who have only heard about the Marxist ideologue and pioneering Malayalam journalist C. Unniraja will get to know more about the man who, while playing a major role in introducing Marxism in the State and even to many leading the Left parties now, remained an enigma himself.
And bringing out facts such as Unniraja’s original name, which was not known even to his closest relatives, is a biography penned by his son U. Vikraman, published and sold by the Sahithya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society (SPCS) at Rs.100 a copy.
Releasing the book by handing over a copy to Bulu Roy Chowdhary, wife of the late Communist Party of India stalwart C.K. Chandrappan, here on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, one of the few remaining contemporaries of Unniraja in the party, said it was a big loss that Unniraja had not written down all that he knew about the party’s formative days here.
Remarking that the biography should have ideally been attempted at a few years ago, Mr. Achuthanandan expressed hope that the future editions of the book would be more comprehensive, bringing in more facts about Unniraja and the party itself, which still remained unknown to a majority inside and outside it.
The book stood out for the information it gave on Unniraja, Mr. Achuthanandan said., pointing out that even Mr. Vikraman was late in realising that his father’s original name was Shiva Sharma Raja and that he belonged to the Chittoor Kovilakam before renouncing everything he had to join the Communist movement.
Ms. Chowdhary, who described Mr. Unniraja as not just a Communist but a nationalist and patriot as well, said he had the courage to state openly what many in the party feared to. Citing instances of his statements, including that it was wrong for the Russian party to march to Czechoslovakia and also later, when he took a stance against development projects in the Silent Valley when many in the party kept mum, Ms. Chowdhary said Mr. Unniraja fought for the unity of the Communist party.
SPCS president Ezhacheri Ramachandran, the State Planning Board member C.P. John and Mr. Vikraman spoke.