Three prominent politicians in Kerala tell TNM about the key moments in the vibrant socio-political climate of their youth that brought them to where they are today.

Turning Points Pinarayi Kodiyeri and Vellappally on the one incident that changed their lives
news Kerala2016 Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 16:47

They occupy centre stage in the public eye, and each of their decisions swing lives in different directions. It seems that their everyday lives are packed to the full with momentous occasions. But have you ever wondered what events in their lives politicians consider a ‘turning point’? What turned them towards politics, towards their current ideological positions?

Three prominent politicians in Kerala tell TNM about the key moments in the vibrant socio-political climate of their youth that brought them to where they are today. 

Pinarayi Vijayan (CPI (M))

I cannot pinpoint any particular incident because right from the time I can remember, I seemed to have been in the midst of politics. But, perhaps the turning point was on hearing about the 1948 police hunt in Kerala* as a four-year-old. Or it could be seeing my elder brother thrashed by goons. There always seemed to be some sort of political activity around me. I just naturally grew into it.

Called the Onchiyam Firing, the incident took place on April 30, 1948, when the Malabar Special Police fired on and killed eight Communist protestors, while two others died in police custody. There is a famous Martyrs’ Square in Onchiyam, and the event is still commemorated as one of the landmarks of communist history in Kerala.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (CPI (M))

My turn to politics could be traced to me reading about Sree Narayana Guru when I was in class eight. I was completely taken in by his ‘Oru Jaathi-Oru Matham-Oru Daivam’ (One Caste-One Religion-One God) concept. My involvement with the Kerala Students Federation which later grew into the Students Federation of India (SFI) can be cited as another instance. Then there was the social environment I grew up in.

Vellappally Natesan (BDJS) 

When I was young I was a hard-core Leftist. After the CPI-CPI(M) split, I became a part of the CPI(M). Almost everyone used to approach me for help, especially since the top brass was missing in action. I helped them all.

Later when the EMS (Namboodiripad) ministry came to power, I naturally had a prominent place which led to jealousy among local leaders. They tried to accuse me of murdering Karupally Divakaran** who had gone missing. There was a lot of hue and cry over the issue which died down when Divakaran resurfaced.

This incident depressed me and made me keep away from politics. I did not hold any grudge even though they had betrayed me despite me being such a loyal party-worker.

In 1967, when Karupally Divakaran, a CPI (M) worker went missing for a short period of time, suspicion fell on Natesan for having murdered him. However, Divakaran reappeared a few days later, claiming to have been in Kottayam. 

 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.