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SE. GANESALINGAN

E.M.S.: Adanoor Chozhan; Nakkheeran Publications, 105 Jani Jhan Khan Road, Royapettah, Chennai-600014. Rs. 175.

THE TRUE story of Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad, better known as EMS, has been told by the author in a novel form, a combination of dialogue and narration. Born in an orthodox Brahmin family of landowners, he studied Sanskrit and the Vedas at home. Later, influenced by Gandhiji, he joined the Congress and participated in the non-cooperation movement and went to prison.

Soon EMS became acquainted with other political leaders and got fully involved in politics. He was one of the founder-leaders of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934 — he also edited its weekly journal — and of the Communist Party in Kerala in 1936. Imprisoned during the Second World War, he was released only in 1947. He went underground when the Communist Party was proscribed and, after the lifting of the ban, he led the party to a handsome victory in the 1957 State Assembly elections and became the first Chief Minister and, in the process, earned the distinction of being the first elected leader of a Communist government in the world. His government initiated path-breaking land reforms and other progressive measures for peasants and the poor. However, in 1959, the powers that be at the Centre infamously dismissed it by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution.

There is a detailed narration of the EMS story, with photographs, up to 1959. His last days find a brief mention in the last chapter of the book.