100-year-old Gandhian and freedom fighter V.P. Appukuttan Poduval from Payyannur who actively participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942 and worked tirelessly to uplift the lives of the weaker sections for the past eight decades was conferred with Padma Shri by the Union government on Wednesday.
Mr. Poduval said he never expected that the prestigious civilian award would be conferred on him at this age.
January 12, 1934 became a turning point in the life of Mr. Poduval when he happened to meet Mahatma Gandhi at Payyanur. He was only 11 years old then.
V.P. Sreekandan Poduval, who was his uncle and a freedom fighter, made Mr. Poduval a part of the national movement. When his uncle was arrested by the British police in 1942, he became active in the Freedom Struggle. He worked behind the scenes as per the instructions of the strike committee and took over the leadership of the student wing. Following his activities, he was arrested in 1943 and remanded in the Kannur sub-jail. But the Thalassery court released him citing lack of evidence.
In 1944, he joined the Kerala branch of the Akhil Bharatiya Charka Sangh. From 1947 he worked as in-charge of the Urjith Khadi Centre at Payyanur under the Madras government and from 1962 as senior auditor in the Akhil Bharatiya Khadi Gramodyoga Commission.
Mr. Pouduval was in charge of the office of the Sarvodaya conference held at Kalady. He then participated in the Bhoodhan Padayatra along with Vinobha Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayanan. He also served as executive officer of the Gandhi Memorial Fund Programme, president of Bharatiya Sanskrit Prachar Sabha and principal of Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya.