Tiruchirapalli

Umanath led the 1946 strike at Goldenrock Railway Workshop

The strike by the Railway Workers at Goldenrock Workshop in 1946 was a cradle for many communist leaders including R. Umanath and Pappa Umanath.

Undeterred by the repressive measures of the British Raj, M. Kalyanasundaram, K. Anandan Nambiar, Umanath and Pappa Umanath fought to the core to restore the rights of railway employees, the main demand of the strike.

The historic saga of the Goldenrock workers commenced with this terrific fight in the cause of the working class and thereby promoted Communist movement across the nation. The Goldenrock Railway Workshop workers movement is a heroic chapter in the struggle for workers rights.

On September 5, the police led by an officer, Harrison, attacked the workers and five railway workers were shot dead by the police in the ground next to the union office. A memorial for the martyrs stands in the ground next to the union office.

For the followers of the Left parties, Umanath and Pappa Umanath were trend setters. They not only preached, but practised every spirit of Communism. The inter-caste marriage of Umanath and Pappa, daughter of Lakshmi, who died in jail after 24 days of protest fast, was solemnised at a simple function at the Goldenrock Railway Labour Union ground on October 9, 1952. The function was presided over by none other than Dravidar Kazhagam founder E.V.R. Periyar. Doyen of trade union movement in India Sakkarai Chettiar, and veteran Communists including M. Kalyanasundaram and K. Anandan Nambiar were among the few who attended the function. Umanath and Pappa worked together in the Communist movement till their last days.

Both Umanath and Pappa Umanath were held in high esteem by the leaders of both Left and other parties alike. The visit of the national leaders of the Left parties to the central districts of the State will not be complete without calling on Umanath. Prakash Karat, the general secretary of the CPI (M) and the party’s senior leader Brinda Karat visited the ailing Umanath in the last one month.

Leaders and cadre of various political parties paid their last respects to the departed leader at Venmani Illam, the CPI (M) district headquarters, where his mortal remains is kept.

K. Varadharajan, CPI (M) Poliburo member, G. Ramakrishnan, state secretary of the party, T. K. Rangarajan, MP, former DMK Minister K.N. Nehru, and M. Arumugam, MLA, floor leader of the CPI in the State Assembly, were paid their last respects to the departed leader on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:57:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/umanath-led-the-1946-strike-at-goldenrock-railway-workshop/article6036419.ece

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