Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said that the freedom fighter Kumbalathu Sanku Pillai was one of the most prominent leaders of the erstwhile Travancore to oppose the American model government mooted by Diwan C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. Mr. Achuthanandan was inaugurating a meeting at Chavara near here on Monday to commemorate the 112th birth anniversary of Sanku Pillai.
While a section of leaders in the Congress were not opposed to the American model of the Diwan, prominent leaders of that party like Sanku Pillai, C. Keshavan and T.M. Varghese strongly opposed it. The Communists were also strongly opposed to the American model, he said.
Meetings called by the Congress and the Communists to oppose the American model were constantly attacked by musclemen allegedly engaged by the Diwan. Many leaders, including Sanku Pillai, were even arrested and thrown into jail. Yet the fight against the American model was strongly carried forward by leaders like Sanku Pillai.
Mr. Achuthanandan recalled one instance when Sanku Pilla personally invited him to attend such a meeting called by the Congress at the residence of Congress leader A.J. John at Vaikom. To go for the meeting Sanku Pilla reached Alapuzha by boat. There he met Mr. Achutanandan and said that even the Communists are being hounded.
Sanku Pillai suggested to Mr. Achuthanandan that if both the Congress and the Communist party could launch a joint fight against the American model it could become a stronger fight. “Do not consider it to be a Congress meeting at Vaikom. It is a meeting against the American model of the Diwan so attend it” Sanku Pillai told Mr. Achuthanandan.
The Chief Minister said that he quickly obliged and sailed to Vaikom in the same boat along with Sanku Pillai and attended the meeting at A.J. John’s house. Later he also attended meeting called by Sanku Pillai at Panmana Ashramam for the same purpose, Mr. Achuthanandan said.
He said that Sanku Pillai had always remained with the progressive forces. He still remains a great model for public figures. Though Sanku Pillai was deeply involved and led the freedom struggle, he never went after power. But like the common man he looked forward to a good democratic rule.
At the function, organised by the Sree Kumbalathu Sanku Pillai Memorial Foundation, Mr. Achuthanandan released a souvenir in memory of Sanku Pillai by handing over a copy to the Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran. The souvenir has been christened “Oru Thekkan Veera Gatha”.
In his address, Mr. Sudheeran said that Sanku Pillai had made valuable contributions to enable the posterity of Travancore to enjoy democracy. He said that Kerala is today badly in need of leaders of the stature of Sanku Pillai. Chairman of the foundation, V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai presided over the function. Director of the foundation, C. Sasidhara Kurup welcomed the gathering.