S. Savaridas (93), freedom fighter and trade union leader, passed away at his residence in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) on Sunday.
He was suffering from age-related illness for some time. He is survived by wife, Arogyamary, three sons and four daughters.
Hailing from Thiruvalam in Vellore in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Savaridas joined Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML) Hospital as an employee in 1940s and rose to become a prominent leader of gold mine workers. He was imprisoned on several occasions and went underground during struggles against the British as well as agitations for the welfare of the toiling masses of the undivided Kolar district.
In an interview with this correspondent (published on August 15, 2008), Mr. Savaridas had explained in length about the revolt by mine workers which sent shivers down the spine of the British rulers.
Referring to one of the strikes by workers under deep mines during the freedom struggle, Mr. Savaridas said, “It was not an underground activity in the political sense, but was literally an under-the-ground battle of the working class.”
K.C. Reddy, who became the first Chief Minister of the then Mysore State, and K.S. Vasan were prominent among those who were arrested by the British along with Mr. Savaridas for leading the revolt by mine workers.
Besides actively participating in organising BGML workers and leading several agitations against their exploitation by the management and the government, Mr. Savaridas was also instrumental in uniting contract labourers of Bharat Earth Movers' Ltd.
Mr. Savaridas had held aloft the banner of the Communist movement and trade union movement in the region for more than half a century, G. Arjunan, his long-time associate and senior CPI(M) leader, said. His role in building the Centre of Indian Trade Unions in the region was memorable, he said.
Mr. Savaridas, in spite of his advancing age and deteriorating health, was closely following struggles to revive BGML, Mr. Arjunan recalled.
At the age of 92, he attended a public meeting organised as part of the CPI(M) district conference on December 18, 2011 at KGF, which happened to be his last public appearance.
Last rites today
The last rites will be performed at the burial ground at Raja's Camp in KGF on Monday evening. Apart from senior trade union leaders and Leftist leaders from Karnataka, a number of their counterparts from Tamil Nadu are likely to attend.
District committees of the CPI(M), CITU, DYFI, AIDWA, KPRS and SFI have condoled the death of Mr. Savaridas.
“Carrying forward the struggles that were dearest to his heart will be the befitting tribute to the departed leader,” CPI(M) State committee member Gandhinagar Narayanaswamy said.