Savithri Antharjanam, Communist leader and activist who campaigned for bettering the lot of Namboodiri women, died at a private hospital here on Sunday. She was 83.
She was the first district secretary of the women’s wing of the CPI(M). Wife of A.V. Aryan, former CPI(M) leader and MLA, she had witnessed the growth of the Communist movement in the State. She had campaigned against untouchability.
In 1954, Aryan and other Communist leaders were arrested by the police after the Pullazhi agitation. She took the lead in securing bail for the arrested. Along with her husband, she moved to the CPI(M) after the split in the Communist party.
The first plenum of the CPI(M) in the State was held in 1964 on the premises of Aryan’s residence at Olarikkara and was hosted by Savithri Antharjanam. E.M.S. Namboodiripad, P. Sundarayya, and Harkishan Singh Surjeet were among the leaders who arrived at Aikattu Mana in Olarikkara to attend the meeting. The leaders, including Aryan, were arrested by the police.
In her book, ‘Sahanathinte Vazhiyil,’ she recalled Surjeet having complained of losing his hair after taking bath in the jail. She wrote of having prepared a special herbal hair oil for him.
She ran up huge debts on hosting the party plenum and sold two acres of land to repay them. Aryan was elected to the Assembly from Ollur in 1965 and 1967. After leaving the CPI(M) in the 1970s, he was an activist of the Communist Unity Centre and Bolshevik Party. She is survived by two sons and a daughter. — Special Correspondent