Chandrappan's life was marked by simplicity of a rare kind, with a firm political mind
: Why would the death of a political leader like C.K. Chandrappan who has never occupied any major position of power in Kerala or outside create a deep sense of vacuum? The answer to that question must lie in the deeply humane and political personality of Mr. Chandrappan. For him, there was nothing to separate the personal from the political.
Mr. Chandrappan's life has been marked by simplicity of a rare kind. But behind that simple exterior was a firm political mind that would not sway in the face of even the worst provocation. He was a silent rebel within his party, having all along adopted a position that was at variance with his party's political stance towards the Congress. But he was also a stickler to party discipline and a firm believer in the need for Left unity in the country, but without compromising his core beliefs.
Mr. Chandrappan could be scathing in his criticism, but he did so in a language that was dignified. He was a hard working parliamentarian to whom perhaps goes the credit of having moved the highest number of private members' bills. Every speech of his, be it in the Kerala Assembly of which he was a member only once, or in Parliament, were studies in erudition.
The rebel streak was part and parcel of his lineage. Born to Ammukkutty and C.K. Kumara Panicker, who used to be known as ‘Vayalar Stalin,' hero of the legendary Punnapra-Vayalar uprising, on November 11, 1936, Mr. Chandrappan became active in politics even while a school student and was elected State president of the All India Students Federation (AISF) in 1956.
He later became the national president of the AISF and also served as general secretary and president of the All India Youth Federation (AIYF). For long, he was national president of the All India Kisan Sabha. He had actively participated in the Goa liberation movement and had led several student and youth agitations.
Mr. Chandrappan was arrested several times and was also put behind bars in the Tihar jail in Delhi and the Residency jail in Kolkata. He did not use either his lineage or his own contributions to the Left movement to stake claim to power or position because for him life, in its entirety, was nothing but a long political struggle.