Mythili who co-founded the AIDWA along with Pappa Umanath, was also a prominent trade union activist with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Mythili Sivaraman in an interviewFile Image/ohpakkangal_Youtube_Screengrab
news Obituary Sunday, May 30, 2021 - 16:57

Veteran CPI (M) leader and an important woman revolutionary from Tamil Nadu, Mythili Sivaraman passed away in Chennai. The former All India Democratic Women’s Association’s (AIDWA) Vice President was undergoing treatment for COVID-19, and succumbed to the disease early on May 30, Sunday. She was 81 years old and is survived by her husband Karunakaran and daughter Kalpana Karunakaran.

Born in 1937, Mythili co-founded the AIDWA along with Pappa Umanath, and was also a prominent trade union activist with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). Her writings on the brutal Keezhvenmani massacre of 1968 are part of a book titled Haunted by Fire: Essays on Caste, Class, Exploitation and Emancipation, compiled by writer V Geetha, and her daughter and professor, Kalpana Karunakaran.

Fourty-four women and children from Dalit families died in their homes due to arson committed by upper caste groups leading to the Keezhvenmani massacre and Mythili was among the first to visit and document the brutality. Mythili also played a significant role in bringing the Vachathi mass rapes of 1992, to justice.

Her death was mourned by many on social media who recalled her significant contributions to the Communist movement in the country.

Kavita Krishnan, a CPI (M) leader and Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Assoctaion (AIPWA), wrote, “Mythili remained a fiery trade union organiser in Tamil Nadu, an AIDWA office bearer, and also a Marxist writer of rare insight and rigour. A rare and most precious quality of hers was her total lack of any left sectarianism.”

Poet and writer Meena Kandasamy too remembered Mythili’s fiery personality and wrote, “Red salutes comrade... Rest in power. Spunky, spirited, articulate, kind, humble... I can go on giving adjectives. She'll always be remembered for her work, and her approach of tackling caste, class and gender. Her writings on Keezhvenmani have a special place.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed his condolences and wrote that with Mythili’s death, Tamil Nadu and CPI (M) has lost a fierce woman’s rights revolutionary. Many other expressed their condolences on social media.

Watch: Chief Minister MK Stalin delivers his condolence message:

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