Kerala

Communist ideologue Berlin Kunhananthan Nair dead

Senior journalist and Communist activist Berlin Kunhanandanan Nair

Senior journalist and Communist activist Berlin Kunhanandanan Nair | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Veteran Communist and journalist Berlin Kunhananthan Nair, 96, who was a repository of knowledge about Marxist history of Kerala, died at his ancestral house at Narath here on Monday evening.

Mr. Nair, who held the rare distinction of having attended the first Communist Party of India (CPI) party congress, was also political secretary to former Chief Minister E.M.S Namboodiripad. He was a correspondent of Indian Communist newspapers as well as the European correspondent of Blitz in Berlin from 1965 to 1982, hence his pen name.

A staunch supporter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan once, Mr. Nair, however, stood with veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader V.S. Achuthanandan during the factional tussle between the leaders. He had critiqued Mr. Vijayan after the killing of Revolutionary Marxist Party founder leader T.P. Chandrasekharan.

In 2005, Mr. Nair was ousted from the CPI(M) for his public utterances against the party.

The eclipse of Mr. Achuthanandan in the CPI(M) State unit saw Mr. Nair once again becoming a party member in 2015 and later hailing Mr. Vijayan as the best Chief Minister. He had also gifted four cents of prime land at Mayyil in Kannur and his personal library to the party-controlled Patyam Gopalan Study and Research Centre.

Born to K. Ananthan Nair and Sridevi Amma on November 26, 1926 Mr. Nair, at the age of 12, became the secretary of Bala Bharat Sangam, which was the first form of the Balasangam, formed in 1938 in Kalyasseri.

While studying at Chirakkal Rajas School, he became active in the national movement and the CPI through the Balasangam. He joined the Communist Party in 1939 and was imprisoned in connection with the Morazha incident in September 1940.

In 1943, he became a delegate to the first State conference of the CPI. He was the youngest representative at the first party congress held at Bombay. During 1945-46, he clandestinely worked for the party there. He was assigned for party activities in Calcutta in 1948 and the assigned to the Delhi central committee office from 1953 to 1958.

He had also worked with one of the founding members of the CPI(M) A.K. Gopalan and former Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar

When the Communist Party split, he stood with the CPI(M). Mr. Nair, in 1958, went to the USSR and graduated from the Party School in Marxism-Leninism and Political Philosophy. In 1959, he attended the congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

He also wrote in New Age, Desabhimani, Nava Yugam, Nava Jeevan and Jana Yugam newspapers. His work dealt with many international subversions attempts by the CIA, the American spy agency.

He has received many honours and awards, including the Star of International Friendship from the then East German government. He is survived by his wife, Saraswathi Amma, and daughter Usha.


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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 11:57:01 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/communist-ideologueberlin-kunhananthan-nair-dead/article65746851.ece