She was freedom fighter and wife of late CPI (M) leader P. Ramamurti
Ambal Ramamurti, freedom fighter and wife of late CPI (M) leader P. Ramamurti, passed away here on Tuesday.
She was 87 and is survived by daughters Dr. Ponni Ramamurti and senior advocate R. Vaigai.
True to their revolutionary beliefs, P. Ramamurti and Ambal had an inter-caste marriage in 1952. Ramamurti was then leader of the opposition in the Madras Legislative Assembly. Their marriage was presided over by EVR Periyar, rationalist and social reformer, and it was a ritual-free wedding referred to as a ‘self-respect’ (suyamariyadai) marriage.
Ambal and her siblings were drawn to the freedom struggle and the Communist movement at a very young age, as their home in Tiruchi was the centre for secret meetings of the Communist Party.
Her mother Jagathamabal was actively involved in the party’s underground activities. Ambal and all her four siblings – brother Mani, sisters Gnanam, Rajam and Yamuna – became party members and married party comrades outside their caste.
Ambal travelled to Bombay along with Gnanam a year later to work in the Communist Party headquarters there, putting together an archive on Communism and Marxism.
She was the first librarian of the undivided Communist Party in Bombay in the 1940s. She was a voracious reader and a scholar in Tamil and English and translated several political documents and books.
When the Communist Party was banned by the British, she became an active member of the underground movement. Disguised as vendors of flowers and vegetables, she and her sisters would hide hand-written pamphlets in baskets and distribute them.
She was imprisoned in the 1940s along with her mother and three sisters at Villupuram.
She worked in the State Electricity Department and was closely associated with the ASK Iyengar in the Harbour Workers’ Union and with Anandan Nambiar and M. Kalyanasundaram of the Southern Railways Labour Union, which was later renamed as Dakshin Railways Employees Union.