‘Kesava Menon never compromised on Gandhian non-violence’

November 09, 2022 09:06 pm | Updated November 10, 2022 05:50 pm IST - Kozhikode

Ramesh Chennithala, Congress leader and former Leader of the Opposition, paying tributes to K.P. Kesava Menon, freedom fighter and founder-editor, Mathrubhumi, at an event in Kozhikode on Wednesday.

Ramesh Chennithala, Congress leader and former Leader of the Opposition, paying tributes to K.P. Kesava Menon, freedom fighter and founder-editor, Mathrubhumi, at an event in Kozhikode on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: K Ragesh

While he was in Singapore in the 1940s, K.P. Kesava Menon was part of the Indian Independence League, which championed the cause of Indian freedom outside the country.

But, when Subhas Chandra Bose urged him to be part of the Indian National Army, Menon refused to oblige, as he was opposed to its militant approach. “Menon turned down the demand from Bose, declaring that he was a staunch follower of Gandhian non-violence,” said Ramesh Chennithala, Congress leader and former Leader of the Opposition, as he opened an event to mark the death anniversary of the freedom fighter and founder-editor of Mathrubhumi newspaper, here on Wednesday.

Mr. Chennithala pointed out that Mathrubhumi has had an inextricable link with the Congress since its inception. He helmed the affairs of the paper for around five decades. “Menon had a personal friendship with leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi too. He used to refer to Mrs. Gandhi as ‘kutti’,” the Congress leader said. He was also one of the earlier proponents of a homeland for people speaking Malayalam language.

“He was very concerned about Malayalam. In 1916, an event was held at the Kozhikode Town Hall to collect funds for World War 1. When Menon started speaking in Malayalam, the then Malabar district collector asked him why can’t he talk in English as he had studied law in England. Menon took this as an insult to Malayalam and walked out,” Mr. Chennithala said.

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